Remember that feeling when you first started driving and getting behind a wheel was really, really fun? Well after a week of driving the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro 300kW S line, I had that feeling again. The full name of Audi’s latest iteration of the e-tron is a bit of a mouthful so it’ best summarised as this; it’s like driving a very fast, and very luxurious go-kart. It will immediately put a smile on your face when you put your foot on the pedal and is a pleasure to be in. I am a firm believer that electric cars are the future but you still want to enjoy driving without those signature exhaust sounds and mechanical feedback. Thankfully, the Sportback is a very well equipped with all of the thrust you’d now expect from a high performance electric vehicle.
Let’s start on this inside, which is where some EV fall short. Build quality is probably one of the major gripes when it comes to buying electric over petrol or diesel but, as it comes with an Audi badge, the e-tron Sportback has a seriously well finished interior. It’s almost crossover-eque rather than pure SUV, putting the interior finish on par with any of the Audi sedans released in the past few years. Everything has a weight and quality to it and I particularly liked the gear select system which discreetly sits in the middle of the console. Ride height is fairly tall so you get really good visibility, although the very good 360-degree camera does a solid job of showing you what is around the vehicle. They do come in handy as the camera-feed “wing mirrors” do taking a bit of getting used to. They are surprisingly good in low-light and very useful in heavy rain, but they do lack the familiar depth perception you would get on traditional mirrors.. I can see how Audi were trying to flex their technological know-how with the wing mirrors, although I think I would still prefer traditional ones.
On the outside, the e-tron Sportback is unmistakably Audi. Styling is fairly aggressive but not in-your-face; the slightly tapered rear end looks more like a coupe and discards some boot space in favour of keeping that slim profile. At night, the headlights use Audi’s new digital matrix LED technology and look very smart and the general lighting both inside and outside the car is beautiful to look at once the sun goes down. The two charging points (located on both sides of the bonnet) are extremely satisfying to access; the front plate elegantly sliding down at the touch of a button. It’s such a small detail but it again reinforces how much less messy it is to fill your car with electricity rather than fuel.
Speaking of electricity, convenience is probably the final (and arguably one of the most important) factors that I wanted to touch on. During the loan I made use of free charging points within car parks so I didn’t quite get the maximum level of charging you could achieve on dedicated public or private charges. That being said, I did manage to top up 75 miles in four hours on a free-to-use charge point, paying only for the parking which I had accounted for anyway. The key takeaway point really being that it does require slightly more planning in terms of when and where you can charge the car if you’re not planning on doing it at home. Range is a decent 241 miles and so this wasn’t really a worry on short term trips. That being said, that should be enough to get you from Exeter to London which definitely ticks off one of my main requirements.
You can check out more on the e-tron Sportback from Audi on their website here. Prices start from £89,450 and the original e-tron starts at £61,350.