Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Just 55 Quattro at first
  • Joined by the 50 Quattro
  • Top model is plenty fast

The E-Tron Sportback uses the same 50 and 55 Quattro drivetrains as the SUV, although initially only the more powerful version was available for early adopters, reflecting the more performance-focussed nature of the Sportback.

This most powerful version (for now) features 408hp and 664Nm of torque under normal running conditions, good for a 0-62mph sprint of 6.6 seconds.

It’s powered by a 95kWh battery, which is good for 240 miles of range and can be charged to 80% in as little as half an hour at a 150kW DC fast charger.

A motor on each axle means it’s fast enough in most driving conditions and the immediacy of the power delivery means you very rarely have to push the throttle pedal to the floor. Do so and you’ll find the E-Tron Sportback will very quickly sheds its size and weight, reeling in the horizon with disorientating speed.

Audi e-Tron Sportback driving front

In the unlikely event you find yourself needing more acceleration in your 2.5 tonne, five metre SUV, the 55 Quattro has a trick up its sleeve. Shift the drive mode selector into S (or choose the Dynamic drive mode) and you’ll unlock an even spicier Boost setting.

Push the accelerator pedal past the stop and you’ll get eight seconds of full power – 408hp and 664Nm – shaving nearly a full second off the 0-62mph time, which comes down to 5.7 seconds. Still not as fast as a top spec Tesla Model X, but even on the move it has a habit of snapping your passenger’s heads back. Use with caution.

Handling

  • Quattro all-wheel drive as standard
  • Very planted and grippy handling
  • Stiff body with low centre of gravity

Although both 50 and 55 models feature Quattro all-wheel drive, for the most part the E-Tron Sportback runs with just the rear wheels driven to maximise efficiency.

In the same way that Audi’s petrol and diesel cars operate, the power can then be shifted to the front wheels when traction is in short supply, to improve grip during spirited driving or on loose surfaces.

It’s a much simpler set up than a mechanical all-wheel drive system, which relies on differentials or clutch packs linked by driveshafts, and there’s another benefit to handling that electric cars have over more conventional counterparts too.

The heaviest components are positioned low and centrally between the axles (instead of a heavy engine hanging over the front wheels) which makes cars like the E-Tron Sportback feel very planted on the road and balanced when cornering quickly.

Audi e-Tron Sportback driving rear

It’s also 45% stiffer than a conventional car, and in combination with a sportier tune for the air suspension, it does a great job of negating bodyroll too, without adversely affecting the way the car rides. You can fine tune this balance with Audi’s drive select system, a choice of seven modes from Comfort to Sport and Offroad, to set the car up just the way you want.

There’s also a more dynamic setting for the traction control called ESC Sport (plus you can turn it off altogether) if you want to add a bit more involvement into what is otherwise a very tied down driving experience.

It’s still no match for the livelier Jaguar I-Pace in this department though so we think you’re better off leaving everything on and enjoying the E-tron’s natural state of being stuck so hard to the tarmac it feels like the tyres will pull the top inch off the tarmac before they let go.