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Shanghai show: Audi lights up with E-tron Sportback

Light fantastic: Audi has used about 250 tiny LED lights for its E-Tron Sportback concept, ensuring unique lighting signatures.

Production version of Audi’s E-tron Sportback concept confirmed for 2019


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19 Apr 2017

AUDI’S push into electrified vehicles has been a given a boost with the reveal of the zero emissions e-tron Sportback that will become the premium brand’s second all-electric production model when it goes on sale globally in 2019.

Revealed last night ahead of the Shanghai motor show, the swoopy crossover-coupe concept follows the E-tron Quattro SUV concept that was uncovered in 2015 at the Frankfurt show.

Audi Australia general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf told GoAuto that the company was “keen to gauge customer interest” in a production version of the E-tron Sportback, adding that it could get the green light for the Australian market.

“If there is demand for this concept once it reaches production, then it’s certainly likely we would bring this car to the Australian market,” she said.

“The technology concept and the innovation displayed … are a great demonstration of our core brand philosophy, Vorsprung durch Technik, and therefore we’d be keen to see this car introduced here. Provided the production version meets ADR (Australian Design Rules) and customers are keen to buy and drive the vehicle, then we’d be keen to offer it to our customer base.”

Ms Burgdorf also refused to rule out the inclusion of the production version of the E-tron Quattro EV SUV for the Australian market.

“As long as there’s demand in the market, and the package we can offer is the right one for Australian luxury car buyers, we certainly support alternative drivetrain technologies and innovative new models.”

That high-riding EV wagon has already been confirmed for production in 2018, and Audi AG chairman Rupert Stadler has announced that the Sportback will not be far behind.

“Our Audi E-tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use,” he said. “With a range of over 500 kilometres and the special electric driving experience, we will make this sporty SUV the must-have product of the next decade.

“Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi E-tron Sportback – an emotional coupe version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance.” The dimensions of the E-tron Sportback – 4900mm long, 1980mm wide and 2930mm wheelbase – put it right in the cross hairs of BMW’s large X6 coupe-SUV and Mercedes-Benz’s GLE Coupe and not far off its own Q7 seven-seater.

However its 1530mm height means it sits much lower than its rivals from Munich and Stuttgart, suggesting Audi is going for a more dynamic and sporty design – more coupe than SUV.

Audi has described the striking low-slung four-door concept as a “design study and technology demonstrator,” and while it is set to morph into a production model, it has a number of features that highlight its concept status.

Along with its LED head and tail-lights, the E-tron Sportback concept features new lighting technology made up of about 250 LEDs surrounding the Singleframe grille and below the daytime running lights that “literally make their mark on the road ahead”, according to Audi.

The company says the lights, combined with a micro-mirror-studded surface and complex control technology makes for several light signatures and options for creating graphics or communicative signs when stationary or moving.

Bulging wheel arches house massive 23-inch wheels and highlight the Quattro all-wheel-drive architecture, while tiny cameras replace the exterior mirrors on the concept.

Inside, Audi has used large touch-sensitive screens below the huge central display, as well as in the door trims and the front passenger side of the dash, reducing the number of buttons.

The drivetrain mimics that of the E-tron Quattro concept, and it uses the same configuration that will be adopted on future production electric Audis – it includes one electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear powering all four wheels.

Overall power for the system is 320kW – lifting to 370kW in boost mode – ensuring a 0-100km/h dash time of a sportscar-like 4.5 seconds, which is 0.1s quicker than the E-Tron Quattro concept.

The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery battery is located under the passenger compartment between the axles, which Audi says ensures a lower centre of gravity and a balanced axle load distribution of 52:48 front/rear.

The 95kWh battery ensures a driving range in excess of 500km, according to Audi, and it can be recharged by the Combined Charging System with dual connections for AC and DC.

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