Volkswagen’s sprightly ID Buggy concept hogged the spotlight during the Group Night event the firm organizes annually before the Geneva Auto Show, but it wasn’t the only electric prototype there. Digital Trends noticed an unfamiliar Audi-badged SUV in a corner of the room, so we launched an investigation and learned it’s a preview of the E-Tron Sportback, the firm’s second mass-produced electric car.
The fully camouflaged test mule pictured above is a preproduction prototype. The psychedelic wrap hides its overall design, but we can nonetheless draw two conclusions about it. First, it’s about the same length and width as the standard E-Tron but it’s lower because it receives a fastback-like roof line reminiscent of the BMW X6. Second, some components come straight from the E-Tron parts bin, including the lights on both ends, and Audi’s trick rearview camera technology. Intrigued, we contacted an Audi representative to confirm our suspicions.
“It is the E-Tron Sportback,” the spokesperson told Digital Trends, before adding that its “technical basis is the E-Tron.”
While this confirms the Sportback shares its basic platform with the E-Tron, we don’t know exactly what the swoopy sheet metal hides. The model will be positioned as a sportier alternative to its family-hauling sibling, so it may receive a power hike. To add context, the E-Tron we drove last year rides on a skateboard-like platform built around a 95-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It channels its electricity to two electric motors (one over each axle). The system delivers 360 horsepower, 413 pound-feet of torque, and about 250 miles of range.
While the blacked-out windows hide the interior, we’re expecting the Sportback offers the same high-tech cabin as the E-Tron with Audi’s intuitive MMI Touch Response infotainment system, and a driver-configurable digital instrument cluster.
The last morsel of information we uncovered is that the E-Tron Sportback will make its official debut before the end of 2019. Audi may reveal it at a major auto show, like the ones that will take place in Frankfurt and in Los Angeles in the fall of 2019, or it could choose to unveil the car at a stand-alone event like the one it organized in San Francisco for the E-Tron’s debut. Either way, the Audi E-Tron Sportback will begin reaching showrooms in 2020.
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