Audi has revealed the new e-tron Sportback concept ahead of its debut on Wednesday at the 2017 Shanghai auto show.
The concept previews an electric car to join the Audi lineup in 2019, one year after the automaker introduces its e-tron electric SUV. You can think of the car as being a more coupe-like alternative to the e-tron.
The e-tron Sportback concept is distinguished by its sloping roof and liftback rear. The roof also sits lower than on the related e-tron Quattro concept from 2015, which previews the upcoming e-tron.
Audi e-tron Quattro concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show
Mechanically, the two vehicles are very similar. They both use the Volkswagen Group’s C-BEV electric car platform with one motor mounted to the front axle and two at the rear, creating an all-wheel-drive system. Peak output is 430 horsepower, though this can be momentarily boosted to 496 hp to provide a fitting level of propulsion, with the sprint from 0-62 mph a done deal in just 4.5 seconds. The top speed is limited to 130 mph.
A 95-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery from Korean firms LG Chem and Samsung SDI is positioned between the axles and below the passenger compartment, helping to lower the center of gravity and provide better balance. Audi promises a range of 310 miles for the European cycle which produces longer range ratings than our own EPA tests. A reasonable rating for the United States might be closer to 240 miles.
The e-tron Sportback has a length of 193.2 inches, making it similar in size to the A7, the next generation of which is expected to share some design treatments with the concept. These are thought to be the roofline and taillight arrangement.
Audi e-tron Sportback concept, 2017 Shanghai auto show
And for the interior, the designers have used horizontal themes to increase the impression of spaciousness. The large black-panel display surfaces behind the steering wheel and on the center console appear black when inactive, and turn live together with their display elements as soon as the car is started. One new feature is the design of the vertical surface ahead of the front passenger. This incorporates a wide display that can present the navigation data, weather information and the outside temperature.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has promised three electric cars by the end of 2020. The third is expected to be a compact using the VW Group’s MEB platform for compact electric cars. VW is also showing an electric car concept based on the MEB platform in Shanghai.
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