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04 Apr 2022

What We Dislike
It's gonna set you back half a million dollars
Range isn't the best in its class

If saving trees is your thing but you still yearn for a car with ample space and pace, then the Audi e-tron S Sportback all-electric coupe SUV will be perfect for you.


If you're someone like me, which is to say you travel short distances most of the time and are ready to embrace the future of electric mobility, then the handsome-looking Audi e-tron S Sportback that you see on this very page could be right up your alley.

And that's really because a maximum range of 370km on a single charge falls short of other electric cars you can get for $496,290 (as of 24 March 2022). The Jaguar I-PACE, for instance, is capable of 470km on a full charge and it'll cost some $85,000 lesser than the Audi.

The Audi e-tron S Sportback remains to be a very handsome-looking electric SUV
However, that's all on paper. We've tried and tested Jaguar's full electric SUV and it managed to realistically achieve about 360km on a single charge then. The Audi e-tron S Sportback, on the other hand, was able to travel about 368km over the course of four days.

So there's really nothing to complain apart from the price then. But for half a million dollars, what exactly are you getting?

'Audi-ness' aplenty

Firstly, you'll be getting a lot of car for the money. Inside, you enjoy three high-res screens (the two on the centre console are touch-sensitive and give you haptic feedback), as well as an abundance of high-quality leather and brushed aluminium that give the cabin a premium contrast from the sea of dark colours.

Oh, the cabin is indeed a work of art for the Audi
Then again, this shouldn't come as a surprise, considering how Audi has long been known for its top-notch interiors. Hence, you still get tip-top fit and finish and excellent touches on the buttons and knobs.

Secondly, there's ample space to be had for all five occupants on board. Granted that two of the five passengers that I had been ferrying around were toddlers (and downright rascals by my standards) most of the time, the Audi managed to swallow a total of five adults and two kids once without any problems during my time with the car.

Even the 615-litre boot space is more than enough to swallow my stroller and bags. Hell, at one time I was even tempted to put my kids in the boot just for kicks and giggles.

Putting the 'S' into play

This is 615 litres worth of hauling capacity for you
But considering how I do not want to enrage the missus, I decide to do what's right and throw them in the back seat, which will be like a Rolls-Royce Cullinan for them.

Of course, I do the next best thing and that is to buckle them up tight, because knowing how the Audi e-tron S Sportback has 429bhp and 808Nm of twisting force readily available (496bhp and 973Nm in boost S mode that can last up to eight seconds) from three electric motors - two at the rear axle and one at the front - I know I am going gun this SUV to the horizon at every chance that I get.

Third, when driven like 'Julian Kho: mindless maniac', the Audi is relentlessly quick when you put your foot down. It swallows tarmac with such conviction, certainty and confidence that it'll put some other high-performance SUVs to shame. Yes, a century sprint timing of 5.1 seconds isn't something to shout about, but because the electric SUV dances so seamlessly and decorously to the tune all the time, every time, you're hard pressed not to be constantly impressed by the car.

The Audi holds its own really well on the move
What's more impressive is how the car manages to hold its own around twisty bits without shouting out loud for help. Yes, the car may be a tad heavy at over 2.6 tonnes, but I reckon it's precisely because of the weight that makes the SUV so planted and confident around bends.

That said, you'll want to put on the 'Julian Kho: responsible family man' hat and take it down a couple of notches every once in a while. Not just to keep the family safe but also to enjoy the supreme serenity and rare refinement the car has to offer. While there may not be any engine noise, intrusion from external noises are still kept well at bay. And that is nothing short of commendable for a test car with huge wing mirrors and riding on 22-inch wheels. During my time with the car, I managed 3.6km/kWh, which isn't far off from the stated 3.8km/kWh.

Keeping it sharp

Although it's still a full-electric car, air intakes can still be spotted
Fourth, what's also commendable is the fact that Audi doesn't need to shout out loud for people to know that it can manufacture electric cars just as or better than, say, Tesla. Yes, Audi doesn't have the hype like Tesla does but, again, it doesn't need hype for people to know how well-built its cars are, just like how a Seiko 5 Sports Street Fighter doesn't need hype to let people know it can have watches made better than Omega Moonswatches.

For instance, up front, this car and the regular internal combustion engined variant are pretty much similar. The four rings are still surrounded by the huge grille, there are still two large air intakes (even though there isn't an engine to cool) and the signature Audi head lights are still in place to let people know it's not just any regular hyped up electric car you're piloting.

Speaking of head lights, nothing beats the fact that the Audi e-tron S Sportback makes itself known by shining alphabetic lights from the front. Like a proud advertisement, the Audi logo and e-tron text appear against a wall every time you shut off the car after a drive.

I love it, I like it

Parking the sizeable electric SUV isn't tough, thanks to the 360 camera
For me, owning the Audi e-tron S Sportback isn't exactly the point. It's more like having it as an appeal of a product, one that is capable of something rather than actually doing it.

Don't get me wrong, this car here is fast but it's also flawed, especially when it comes to its range when compared to others in its price range.

Which is precisely why I mentioned that if you're someone like me, which is to say you travel short distances most of the time and are ready to embrace the future of electric mobility, then the Audi e-tron S Sportback that you see on this very page could be right up your alley.
 
 
Prefer your electric ride to be in a four-door saloon form? Here are some other options to consider: 

The Tesla Model 3 Performance is uniquely different, with power aplenty and a clever autopilot system

The Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor makes a strong impression with its capable drivetrain, premium cabin and keen attention to detail

The entry level Porsche Taycan proves that less can be more

The Audi e-tron GT is a beautifully-styled, mindbendingly fast and generously comfortable grand tourer

The BMW i4 is capable of a broad appeal
Car Information
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Audi e-tron S Sportback Electric quattro 95 kWh (A)
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Promotion
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Price

: $526,290

Engine Type

:

Electric Motor

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

320kW (429 bhp)

Torque

:

808 Nm

Transmission

:

Two-stage planetary gearbox with single gear (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.1sec

Top Speed

:

210km/h

Energy consumption

:

3.8km/kWh

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