Review: Seductive Audi e-tron S Sportback brings out the devil inside you - all without a hint of CO2

Audi's new e-tron S Sportback.
Audi's new e-tron S Sportback. Photo credit: Tarmac Life

By Dave McLeod of Tarmac Life

By definition, seduction is something that attracts or charms - it can be subtle or direct, visually stimulating, or simply a feeling. And the art of seduction is expressed in the shape of the new Audi e-tron S Sportback - safe to say, I fell under its spell.

E-tron is the moniker that premium car brand Audi has placed on their fully electric offerings, a range consisting of the e-tron, e-tron Sportback, the e-tron GT quattro, the RS e-tron GT and now, the e-tron S Sportback. It's an area that's not only increasingly popular, but also a strong stake in the ground as to where the brand is headed - luxury and performance vehicles with an environmental conscience.

This brings me back to the all-new e-tron S Sportback. The model sits perfectly between the large Sportback SUV and the high-performance GT or RS. It's sleek, fast and proudly sports the Audi S badge, yet also comes with a big dollop of everyday user SUV practicality.

Up front is the e-tron singleframe grille, smoother than that on its fossil-fueled siblings, but the Audi family tree is instantly apparent - especially as it comes with the four rings. There are numerous vents and gills to ensure airflow, particularly down the side. When combined with a smooth underbelly, the e-tron S Sportback boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.26cd, which is near golf ball territory (0.24).

At 4.9m long, the new e-tron is no shrinking violet, and yet with a height of 1.61m (even when riding on my optioned 22-inch alloys) and that all important sloping 'sportback' roofline, the silhouette is very, very easy on the eye. Meanwhile, the rear highlights include a wafer-thin spoiler and a full width LED light bar that looks great at night (although I prefer to be in the driver's seat, so I never get to see it).

The e-tron S Sportback's cabin is all Audi, with the scent of fine leather and 'S' embossed seats. The fit and finish is way past excellent and the use of brushed aluminium and gloss blacks is spot on. Yes, there are some rougher plastics down low, but only if you go hunting.

Audi's new e-tron S Sportback.
Photo credit: Tarmac Life

The MMI system is of course the latest version, equipped with the likes of Google Maps for up-to-the-minute traffic. The sporty SUV has all the driver and safety features that Audi can offer (all bar the mirror cams - but I assume these can be added).

Behind the scenes is a 95kWh battery network that powers three electric motors. Together they produce, under boost, 370kW and 973Nm, which means this 2.6-tonne luxury SUV will get you from zero to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds - eat your heart out hot hatches. It can be AC charged at 11kW and DC charged upto 150kW, so it sure doesn't take long to get your EV tank filled to its 378km range.

I only had the e-tron for four days, but I did take it on every trip, both necessary and unnecessary - and if I'm honest, the Sportback confirms it's 'S' credentials at virtually every opportunity. First and foremost, it's quick, surprisingly so, and it really doesn't take much to get into licence-losing territory, so I urge you to beware. And while on the subject of beware, it blasts away at the lights - so for all you boy racers out there, check to see what you're siding up next to if you don't want to be left red-faced.

Audi's new e-tron S Sportback.
Photo credit: Tarmac Life

Audi has set the drivetrain up for more of a playful rear power bias which feels more natural when pushing up in revs. They have also provided worry-free cornering as the quattro system comes with 'wheel selective' torque, so virtually all power can be express-delivered to any one wheel at any time when required - it's a big confidence builder.

On the flip side, my 'plasma blue' review model attracted a lot of gazes on the street and was easy to spot in the mall car park. What's more, although 45L down in luggage space over the regular e-tron, 615L is plenty of space for all manner of shopping.

Overall, the Audi e-tron S Sportback makes you feel special. It's comfortable to drive around the town with lots of room for four to five people, which is what you'd expect in an SUV of this size and calibre. But when it's just you and the road ahead, this sporty SUV is an agile drive that seriously brings out the devil inside you - and all without a hint of CO2! Now that's what I call seduction.

Audi's new e-tron S Sportback.
Photo credit: Tarmac Life

Why you should:

  • It's a feisty Audi SUV that is quick off the mark, practical and emits zero gasses.

Why you shouldn't:

  • If you're an S or RS purist, it has a smaller boot space than its regular SUV sibling.

What else to consider: Take a look at the likes of the Jaguar i-Pace, Polestar and Tesla X - and I'm sure Mercedes and BMW will be joining this party soon.