WHAT you lose out on, you will regain elsewhere.
At least, that’s what it feels like with electric vehicles.
While you may not have an engine to give you the rumble and sounds that you associate with the automobile, you do get instant torque from a powerful motor.
The result is a journey devoid of some of the charm of the internal combustion engine. But you get a charge out of a new era of automobiles packed to the gills with technology that simulates your interaction with your mobile devices and turns out, actually, to be an extension of it.
Where car companies can still make a branding statement is in the outward appearance of the vehicle.
Audi, while a latecomer to the EV space, has hurdled past the early-mover obstacles and challenges by going around them, and comes charging in with some impressive and electrifying vehicles. The sports models of the four-rings brand have been particularly attractive and have tried to bridge looks and performance to good effect.
On a more practical level, the SUVs and crossovers will form a large chunk of the business. And even within these segments, a sportier variant can help elevate the pulse a bit more.
The Audi e-tron S Sportback takes a stab at this with a model that is shaped to appeal while equipped to deliver a speedy drive for passengers and cargo, with many of the bells and whistles currently available and expected in a premium segment vehicle.
The aesthetically pleasing car has a glossy grille flanked by large air intakes and pretty headlamps. The little touches, like the aluminium wing mirror, hints at its pedigree, but does it justify a price tag that is more than *$500K?
There are other reasons to justify the price tag, for sure.
3 Electric Motors
This S model is the first mass-produced electric car in the world to use 3 electric motors; two of them operating on the rear axle.
In S gear it is able to whack out 370kW of power and 973Nm of torque for 8 seconds. That’ll rocket you to 100kmh in 4.5 seconds and keep on going to a top speed of 210kmh.
While a range of 370km is not great, it’s probably got more than enough in one charge to keep you running for a week in average driving conditions.
The electric all-wheel drive is now equipped with electric torque vectoring, which helps manage each wheel independently. This provides the SUV with good handling characteristics on winding roads. The e-tron S Sportback does negotiate the bends without any incident, probably assisted by the low position of the large battery which, in turn, helps lower the car’s centre of gravity.
While the test drive model was equipped with regular wing mirrors, there is an option for virtual exterior mirrors, which would improve the car’s drag coefficient.
The dark interior is punctuated with decorative trims in brushed aluminium. It’s also possible to have it in carbon. But the central focus will be the display and the touchscreen.
As you sit back in the accommodating Valcona leather seats with the embossed S, you have a commanding view of the centre console with the two screens where most of the settings for the driver’s preferences are established.
Pros And Cons
Many onboard navigation systems are peculiar to each brand, and have their own annoying characteristics and quirks. In this case, the test drive model didn’t offer the voice command facility to input your navigation options for the Singapore market. That’s just going to push people to Waze or Google since the cars are equipped with smartphone interfaces.
Interestingly (frustratingly) there isn’t a wireless charger for your mobile phone on board. It’s the old-fashioned USB connection, which is faster for charging, but way less cool in terms of look.
If you’ve got the cash to splash, this could be a good car to quietly zip about in. But, chances are, you’ll have your eye on other makes and models if you’re trying to get more bang for your buck.
AUDI E-TRON S SPORTBACK RATING
*Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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