It’s a preview of a production model that will come shortly after the e-tron Quattro

Audi takes every chance it gets to remind us of its intentions to bring a whole range of electric vehicles that will, given enough time, eventually replace its entire lineup of gasoline and diesel-drinking models. The most recent model includes the Audi e-tron Quattro concept, an SUV slated for production in 2018. But, Audi is also one of those brands that likes to blur the line between car and SUV, so it has come up with another concept called the e-tron Sportback Concept – basically another interpretation of the Quattro concept with a lower roof, slanted rear, and a few other unique styling cues. It even uses the same electric drivetrain as it’s taller-sitting brethren, which means it gets a 96-kWh battery pack, three electric motors, and an estimated range of about 310 miles. A fast-charging system could offer up as much as 248 miles with as little as 30 minutes of DC charging. And, you’ll probably be able to buy one by the turn of the decade, as Audi as said it will be introduced in production form shortly after the e-tron Quattro for the 2019 model year.

So, if you haven’t come to terms with the fact that electric cars are on their way up, you better get used to it. With more than 300 miles to a charge, up to 496 horsepower on demand, and the ability to charge extremely quickly, Tesla isn’t the only heavy-hitter on the block anymore. The technology is finally there to ease range anxiety, and Audi is planning to capitalize on this early in the game. But, for now, this little “coupish-SUV” is just a concept. It’s a strong preview of a production model, so let’s take a good look at it and see what the future holds in store for us.

  • 2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    496
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714018
2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714016
2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714007
2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714008
The e-tron Quattro concept looked a little more production ready than the e-tron Sportback.

The e-tron Quattro concept looked a little more production ready than the e-tron Sportback, but that doesn’t mean the production model will look quite similar to what you see here. Audi has managed to preserve its signature nose despite the lack of a radiator grille, while the running light trips have been integrated into that large insert on the fascia. The e-tron Quattro had production-looking headlights, but this Sportback has these long LED strips for running lights with a large column of LED lights recessed into the body just above them. A small lip down below offers up a bit of aggressiveness while preserving the look we’re fairly used to among a lot of futuristic design. The concept doesn’t have a tradition hood as we know it, but this area of the body offers up some sharp design cues that five the front end a bit of extra height.

Moving over to the sides, you’ll notice a lot of the same cues that you saw on the e-tron Quattro Concept, but more refined. The Sportback Concept has beefy front fenders and rear haunches. Where things differ here, however, is that the sharp body lines of the rear quarters and fenders are now separated with a crease in the body just below them for a unique look. Down below, the Sportback gets the same styling we say on the Quattro, but the side skirts are toned down a bit while the area just above gets a long LED strip that helps to define the side profile. Of particular note here is the fact that the roof slopes down rather violently beyond the front doors, leaving little room for rear quarter glass. This model is also void of any door handles but does have the side view cameras mounted to the beltline.

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714017
2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714020
The Sportback Concept has beefy front fenders and rear haunches. Where things differ here, however, is that the sharp body lines of the rear quarters and fenders are now separated with a crease in the body just below them for a unique look.

Around back, the first thought that comes to mind here is “bubble butt.” It’s a rash generalization as there’s really not anything that bubbly going on back here, but the sloop of the rear hatch and the rounded appearance above the beltline area gives the concept an interesting look, to say the least. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of the rear of the Porsche Panamera, but that’s no surprise, really. After all, we’re talking about Audi here, and no brand under the VAG umbrella has had a unique idea in quite some time. The taillights on this concept feature a matrix layout similar to that of the Quattro Concept but have been fashioned so that together they look like a two-sided arrow. The rear fascia is quite obsolete as far as style goes, but down below there is a bit of cladding to add some character.

If you want to envision what the production version of this model will look like, cut down the size of the wheels, add door handles and side view mirrors, and replace those front lights with Audi’s current headlight design. That should be a fair expectation for the production model to live up to, but then again, Audi has been known to tone things down considerably, so the production model might not be as good looking. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Interior

2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept High Resolution Interior
- image 646023

Note: e-tron Quattro concept interior pictured here.

Audi didn’t release any official shots of the Sportback Concept’s interior, but it did release a pair of renderings that points to the interior looking quite similar to that of the e-tron Quattro concept with a few differences.

Audi didn’t release any official shots of the Sportback Concept’s interior, but it did release a pair of renderings that points to the interior looking quite similar to that of the e-tron Quattro concept with a few differences. The instrument cluster features a unique design and is all digital. Meanwhile, the center stack features a design that’s quite similar to that of the Quattro concept but a little more angular. It’s also flanked by a smaller display that sits ahead of the passenger and displays the current time, temperature, etc. The steering wheel shown off in the rendering is nearly identical to that of the Quattro Concept, but it is more angular on top. This may not carry over to the production model, but we really hope it does – it’s quite sporty, to say the least.

The side view cameras of the Quattro Concept display on smaller, triangular screens on the door trim panels, but on the Sportback, the view is displayed in the outer corners of the dash. Another interesting thing about these interior renderings is the design of the center console. Now, I wouldn’t expect to see something like this in a production model, but the design shown here would help to create a large feeling of space for front-seat passengers. It features an open design in the middle with the ends curled over to provide a base for the digital HVAC controls up front and an armrest to the rear.

This is a very futuristic design, and I suspect the interior of the production model will be toned down significantly.

Of course, this is a very futuristic design, and I suspect the interior of the production model will be toned down significantly. It will likely resemble something similar to that of the Quattro Concept with a mix of Audi’s latest interior design cues. Expect to see a more modern center console and a more toned down dash. Mirrors will replace the side view cameras, so the interior will be void of any displays for an external mirror system. A digital rear view mirror isn’t exactly out of the question, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens when Audi decides to spill the beans about the upcoming production model. However, we’ll be seeing the Quattro Concept much sooner, so we’ll be able to look to that for some hints toward the interior of the Sportback production model.

Drivetrain

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Computer Renderings and Photoshop Drivetrain
- image 714011
It has three electric motors – one to drive the front wheels and two to drive the rear wheels. A 95-kWh battery sits in the floor between the two axles and provides up to 310 miles of range on a single charge.

This concept makes use of the same driveline found in the Quattro Concept. That means that it has three electric motors – one to drive the front wheels and two to drive the rear wheels. A 95-kWh battery sits in the floor between the two axles and provides up to 310 miles of range on a single charge. Furthermore, it is liquid cooled and, because of its position, allows for a low center of gravity and a 52:48 weight distribution between the two axles. Audi claims that this offers “outstanding driving dynamics and safety”, but we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a real production model to verify that bit of PR juice. All told, the driveline delivers a total of 320 kW or 429 horsepower, but can be boosted to as much as 370 kW or 496 horsepower in “boost mode.” Audi claims the concept can hit 62 mph in 4.5 seconds but has remained silent about top speed.

As of now, that’s all we know about the electric drive of this concept, and it’s probably all we’ll hear about it until we see the production version in the next year or too.

Conclusion

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714019

I have to say that I’m impressed with Audi’s desire to bring a bunch of all-electric models to the market, but the fact that it always previews them as over-the-top, futuristic models is really quite annoying. Instead of showing us interior and exterior design that we might actually see in 20 years, make these preview models production ready so that we really have an idea of what to expect in the next couple of years. Not that I don’t like the idea of side view cameras, all-digital controls, and outrageous design, but it isn’t really feasible, and outside of the electronics a lot of what we see here will never see the light of day outside of a production model – at least not for some time anyway. Surely, we’ll end up with digital displays for side view and rear view mirrors, but things like the futuristic headlights and funky space-ship-looking design is quite the reach. Then again, maybe I’m wrong, and the production model of the Sportback will look just like this. One can hope, anyway, right? What do you think about the concept? Would you like to see it enter production exactly as it is, or would you prefer it to be toned down? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • Rear is too similar to Panamera
    • Production model won’t be as futuristic

Press Release

Design study and technology demonstrator, electric car and power pack in the guise of a coupé: Audi presents a versatile concept car at the Auto Shanghai this spring. The four-door Gran Turismo Audi e-tron Sportback concept comes with a 320 kW electric drive. The formal idiom combines classic Audi elements with an array of trendsetting details: an electrifying architecture, tailored consistently to the technology and the package of the electric drive.

The Audi e-tron Sportback represents an important milepost for Audi along the road to electric mobility. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, confirmed: “Our Audi e-tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use. With a range of over 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) and the special electric driving experience, we will make this sporty SUV the must-have product of the next decade. Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback – an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance.”

In its consciously light-colored interior the Audi e-tron Sportback concept offers a blend of functional clarity and reductive controls as a formal principle. Expansive touch-sensitive screens below the central display, on the center console and in the door trims supply information and interact with the on-board systems. Horizontal surfaces on the dashboard and the seemingly floating center console convey a sense of open perspectives for the occupants of the four individual seats.

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714015

The concept car’s lighting technology is an innovation that is visible by both day and night. Digitally controlled Matrix LED units at the front and rear produce an excellent light yield. Minuscule Digital Matrix projectors literally make their mark on the road ahead, turning light into a versatile, dynamic channel of communication with the surroundings. The brand with the four rings was the first in the world to adopt full LED headlights, and gave Matrix LED technology, laser lighting and OLED technology a significant push towards their breakthrough. The technology study for Shanghai now premieres a whole host of complex functions that steer vision and interaction with the surroundings in a new direction.

Narrow light strips on both sides below the front lid – the daytime running lights – become the eyes on the face of the study. Thanks to a combination of LEDs and a micromirror-studded surface plus complex control technology, a large number of animated movements and signatures are possible. When the e-tron Sportback starts and also when the doors are opened, the system uses switchable segments to generate dynamic visual welcome signals.

Below the daytime running lights, to the left and right of the Singleframe, there are two large-area light fields each comprising an arrangement of around 250 LEDs. They offer a vast array of possibilities for creating engaging graphics or specific communicative signs, even while on the move.

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714018

For its drive, the e-tron Sportback uses a configuration that will also be adopted in future production Audi models with all-electric drive: One electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear power all four wheels, transforming the high-performance coupé into a quattro in typical Audi style. 320 kW of power – which can even reach 370 kW in the boost mode – provide a fitting level of propulsion, with the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) a done deal in just 4.5 seconds. With the battery’s energy content of 95 kilowatt-hours, its range is in excess of 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) (NEDC).

As previously on the e-tron quattro concept, the technology study’s liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles below the passenger compartment. This installation position provides for a low center of gravity and a balanced axle load distribution of 52:48 (front/rear). And that gives the sporty SUV outstanding driving dynamics and driving safety compared with other vehicles in the segment. The battery can be charged by the Combined Charging System with dual connections for alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).

Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG, understands the special significance of electric mobility for the market in China: “We have made a conscious decision to give the Audi e-tron Sportback its first showing here in Shanghai, because China is the world’s leading market for electric automobiles. That applies as much to the infrastructure and financial support as it does to sales. There are already about 150,000 charging stations in the country, with another 100,000 due to come on stream by the end of 2017. We are well equipped for this rapid growth. In the next five years we will be offering five e-tron models in China, including purely battery-powered vehicles with ranges well in excess of 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) such as the Audi e-tron Sportback.”

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 714016

The study vehicle’s front end displays the familiar octagonal Singleframe with an overtly wide, horizontal cut – the greatly reduced amount of air required by the electric motor means the large opening can be omitted here. The sculptural surface painted in the body color has a structured pattern emblazoned with the four-rings logo – just like the grille of the classic Singleframe.

The edges of the central surface are drawn back, allowing air to flow through at the top. The air inlet is bracketed again by an octagonal, black-painted frame that structures almost the entire width of the front end.

Between the front lid extending low down, the front apron and the wheel arches, it combines with the light units to give this Audi an unmistakable face.

The Audi designers also adopt a new tack for the air flow through the front lid. Above its front section, which dips deeply at the front, a bridge running parallel with the nose connects the two wheel arches and also doubles up as an air deflector. This gives the front end a much more dynamic character than the hefty forward structure of a car with a combustion engine installed at the front.

2017 Audi e-tron Sportback Concept Computer Renderings and Photoshop Drivetrain
- image 714012

At the sides of the concept car, the wheel arches extending well out from the cabin with pointedly horizontal top edges define the conspicuous quattro architecture. As well as providing visual evidence of a wide track and dynamic potential, they also bind the e-tron Sportback into the brand’s DNA. Large 23-inch wheels in a technical 6-spoke design highlight the confident presence of the imposingly dimensioned coupé. An exterior length of 4.90 meters (16.1 ft), a width of 1.98 meters (6.5 ft) and a height of 1.53 meters (5.0 ft) with a wheelbase of 2.93 meters (9.6 ft) position the e-tron Sportback in the C segment, close to the Audi A7.

Small cameras replace the exterior mirrors. This technology offers other advantages besides improved air flow and reduced wind noise. The blind spot of the physical exterior mirror is virtually eliminated, as is the obstruction to the diagonal forward view. The camera images are shown on separate displays in the doors. Audi is showing this technology as a concrete foretaste of the production version.

At the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show Audi unveiled the Audi e-tron quattro concept – the forerunner of the brand’s first all-electric-drive production automobile. As a radically reconfigured SUV it offers a range of up to 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) with the spaciousness and comfort of a typical full-size automobile from Audi. It has the road performance of a high-performance sports car – the Audi e-tron quattro sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in only 4.6 seconds. The production version of this pioneering electric SUV will appear on the market in 2018. The Audi e-tron Sportback concept car will be followed by its production version in 2019.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: