The car’s electric drivetrain negates the necessity for a conventional front grille through which air can flow, but Audi has applied its familiar design language to the front end of the car. However, there is a new ‘bridge’, formed by one vent at the top of the grille and another at the front of the bonnet, through which air can be channeled.
The car uses what Audi describes as “next-generation digital lighting technology” to enable the use of matrix LED full-beam head lights. It also introduces new daytime running lights that project their light onto reflective sections of bodywork, instead of directly outwards, and also double up as scrolling indicators. They’re accompanied by matrix laser lights located under the front and rear bumpers that project turn signals onto the road.
The E-tron Sportback has two motors that power the rear wheels and one that powers the fronts, with the drivetrain producing maximum combined outputs of 496bhp and 590lb ft. This enables a 0-62mph time of 4.5sec and a restricted top speed of 131mph.
In most driving conditions, just the front motor is used, with the two rear units adding torque in high-load or low-grip conditions. The drivetrain can be switched to permanent all-wheel drive should the driver need it, and the rear axle shuffles power between the wheels via torque vectoring.
All three motors can recover energy during braking and coasting, and the intensity of energy recovery is adjustable through four levels.
The concept car uses 95kWh batteries that can be charged wirelessly using an AC home charger or a DC fast charger. The fast-charging method currently peaks at 50kWh, but by the time the E-tron Sportback reaches production, 150kWh will be possible. That will allow the car to charge its batteries to 80% of capacity in just 30min. The driving range from fully charged batteries is expected to exceed 311 miles.
The battery pack is located low in the car’s structure and the overall weight distribution is 52/48 front/rear. The car weighs just over 2000kg and makes use of carbonfibre and aluminium in its structure (which is based around the MLB platform) to keep the weight as low as possible. The e-tron Sportback’s length and wheelbase are almost identical to an A7’s, but it’s wider and stands 1.53m tall — which is 110mm taller than the A7 — to offer more cabin space.