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Audi e-tron Sportback 2020: Germany's Tesla Model X rival arrives

Whereas the e-tron has a more conventional SUV bodystyle, the e-tron Sportback gets a sloping roofline similar to the A7.

It uses no fuel, looks like a coupe SUV and can do your shopping - meet the all-new Audi e-tron Sportback. 

It’s been a good week for electric car fans, first the arrival of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and now the four-ring brand has added its second model, alongside the more practical Audi e-tron quattro SUV.

The e-tron Sportback uses an updated version of the platform that underpins the e-tron, which means the differences between the two electric Audi models is the styling. Whereas the e-tron has a more conventional SUV bodystyle, the e-tron Sportback gets a sloping roofline similar to the A7 and the Q8 SUV.

At 4901mm long, 1935mm wide and 1616mm high the e-tron Sportback is similar in size to the A7 Sportback (4969mm/1908mm/1422mm), albeit sitting higher off the ground. But given the success of SUV coupes in recent years it’s a sensible choice to expand the brand’s EV portfolio.

Audi has already planned out its next few moves in the EV game, with the e-tron GT (based on the same underpinnings as the Porsche Taycan) and a Tesla Model 3-rivaling small electric Sportback also in the works. Add plans for the compact Q4 e-tron SUV and it seems Audi is well placed to make the leap to battery power.

While Australian specifications aren’t clear yet - as we’re still awaiting the local arrival of the e-tron quattro- the German brand has revealed key details of the car.

In Europe at least, Audi will launch with two electric motor options. The Sportback 50 quattro has a 230kW of power and 540Nm of torque from its electric motor, which draws energy from a 71kWh battery pack. The more potent Sportback 55 quattro boasts 265kW/561Nm with a 95kWh battery, that provides a maximum claimed range of 447km; compared to 348km for the less powerful model.

Inside, the cabin looks up to the brand’s typical standards, with a 12.3-inch digital dashboard and high-resolution centre screen set to be fitted to all models. But there are some cool technical features included into this cutting-edge offering.

Amazon’s Alexa voice service has been fully integrated into the car’s multimedia system, at least in the overseas versions. It means the occupants can ask Alexa a variety of tasks, such as weather and traffic information or even placing shopping orders on the move. Unfortunately, Audi Australia says that Alexa isn’t planned to be offered locally at this stage.

But that’s not the only clever party trick for the Sportback. The myAudi app will allow owners to pair their smartphone to the car, which means they can remotely start charging, check its range and plan a road trip route. The app also includes a virtual key to unlock and start the Sportback via your smartphone, at least in selected markets.

Another hi-tech new addition are the headlights. Audi has taken its digital matrix LED lights a step further for the e-tron Sportback, breaking down the lights into minute pixels that it claims is good enough to illuminate a night-time road in high resolution. It says the technology - known as digital micromirror device (or DMD) - is the same used in good quality video projectors, using a small chip that contains one million micromirrors that can be adjusted 5000 times per second.

The good news for Australian fans is they’ll be able to check out some of this tech first hand when the e-tron Sportback arrives in the second half of 2020; alongside the e-tron quattro.