AUDI UNVEIL THEIR NEW LUXURY ELECTRIC MODEL THE E-TRON SPORTBACK 55 QUATTRO.
Over the years, the OHLALA team have test driven a vast array of quality vehicles created by a wide range of car manufacturers. From hatchbacks to saloons, from SUVs to sports cars, from diesel and petrol engines to hybrid vehicles, we have tried them all. This month, thanks to Audi Centre Bahrain, we got to experience the future in the form of the new Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro. This fully-electric vehicle is a taste of things to come in the auto world and we couldn’t have been happier to get behind the wheel.
A MODERN AND STYLISH EXTERIOR
As soon as we laid eyes on the Sportback, we were instantly taken by its bold design. This stylish vehicle combines the refinement of a four-door coupé, the capacity of an SUV and the forwardthinking nature of an electric car.
At the front end, the contoured bumper sits between two large and modish looking air curtains, greatly enhancing the aerodynamic efficiency of this e-tron. Adding to its exclusive look are the LED headlights positioned just below the car’s contoured bonnet.
At the flanks sit illuminated aluminium door sill trims, whilst 20-inch wheels come with an option for newly available yellow brake callipers. A novel feature of this vehicle and indeed a new experience for us, were the two cameras replacing the classic side mirrors, an element we will cover in more detail later on.
This vehicle, with its largely enclosed single frame, has a flowing roofline that leads the eye to both the rear spoiler and the prominent diffuser that extends across the width of the vehicle. Available in 12 exterior colours, this fabulous five-seater exudes both power and prestige, with its appearance alone evoking a strong desire within us to get out onto the road.
“Available in five colour schemes, the interior of the Sportback is reminiscent of a five-star lounge, with an abundance of room and premium materials used throughout.”
A FIVE-STAR INTERIOR
Once inside the vehicle, we were greeted by electronically adjustable seats with four-way lumbar support. From this ultracomfortable and supportive viewpoint, we could take in the meticulously laid out cabin. Available in five colour schemes, the interior of the Sportback is reminiscent of a five-star lounge, with an abundance of room and premium materials used throughout.
The generously-sized dashboard spans from door to door, gracefully incorporating the modern-look instrument panel, whilst the door trims harmoniously integrate the screens for the virtual exterior mirrors. Audi have achieved a world-first in using these virtual mirrors to replace classic side mirrors. This novel concept took a little getting used to, however, after a few hours, it began to feel like an improvement. Looking at the door mounted screens proved to be far less distracting than glancing out the window, with the screens flashing yellow whenever a car appeared in our blind spot.
We found both front and rear seating to offer sufficient head, shoulder and leg room, with two adults and a child fitting comfortably in the back. The roominess of the vehicle extends to the luggage compartment, providing a capacity of 615 litres, plenty of space for a family airport run. This capacity can be increased to 1,665 litres with the rear seats folded flat. With fourzone climate control, ample storage space and several charging points located throughout the SUV, we found the interior of this Sportback to be a convenient and comfortable environment.
INFOTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY
The cutting-edge cabin of the 2022 Sportback features numerous highresolution screens including two central, flush-mounted touchscreens (10.1-inch and 8.8-inch), along with a digital gauge cluster known as the Virtual Cockpit. We found the infotainment system with its clear graphics to be responsive and easy to navigate. This system is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. An assortment of deluxe optional extras is available, including a head-up display and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
AN ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE
When engaging the ignition of an Audi one expects to hear the roar of the engine but, with the e-tron, it’s a much quieter affair. Being a battery powered vehicle, the start-up is silent, reminding us of the environmentally-friendly nature of this modern SUV.
Powering this vehicle are two electric motors, the first is located at the front axle and the second at the back. Combined, these motors deliver electronic all-wheel drive, although it is the rear motor that performs the bulk of the work. This dual motor setup, energised by a 432-celled lithium-Ion battery, generates 664Nm of torque and a maximum power output of 265kW. This enables the e-tron to accelerate from 0-100km/h in a respectable 6.6 seconds and to produce an electronically capped top speed of 200km/h.
Performance wise, we found the 55 Sportback to be both spirited and well-balanced. As people have come to expect from electric vehicles, the acceleration is responsive, whilst the traditional and regenerative braking systems work together efficiently.
We experienced a deep sense of calmness as the kilometres rolled silently by, with the suspension of the vehicle adding greatly to the luxurious feel of the car. The e-tron also boasts impressive cornering abilities, with plenty of traction provided by the quattro drive. With a multitude of safety and driver assistance features included as standard, we could not have felt more at ease in this exceptional SUV.
BATTERY LIFE & CHARGING
The e-tron Sportback 55 quattro has an EPA estimated range of up to 446km. It can recharge 80% of its capacity in just under 30 minutes at fast-charging stations, with direct current (DC) at up to 150kW. However, recharging can take up to nine hours using more conventional 240-volt outlets.
We found the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro to be an exceptional vehicle, one that is designed for comfort and convenience. It boasts a range of novel features and provided us with a good sense of what to expect from premium car manufacturers in the future.