In an initial encounter with new forms, the eye seeks out familiar elements. The design of the Audi e-tron Sportback offers these from every perspective – yet it also springs surprises with radically new lines and solutions. One example is the front end of the electric automobile. It still sports the Singleframe, which has been the distinguishing feature of every Audi since 2003.
Now, however, its design acknowledges that the function of a classic radiator grille has become obsolete: The electric motor at the front needs nothing like the amount of air that a combustion engine does – so the large opening at the front of the car is no longer required.
Behind the familiar octagon of the Singleframe, with its overtly wide, horizontal cut, there is a large-area panel painted in the body color. Its sculptural surface has a structured pattern emblazoned with the four rings logo – just like the grille of the classic Audi 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.
A glance at the flank of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept immediately reveals its common ground with two of the brand’s other four-door coupés. The roof line drops down steeply to the rear. The lower edge of the rear side window curves up gently, terminating in an acute angle at the flat C-post – both elements reference the Audi A5 and Audi A7 Sportback. The stretched cabin blends with the car’s SUV-pedigree lower section and the large wheels to create an unmistakable presence. Rising to the rear like a wing, the sill features a sharp hem that helps to contour the lower edges of the large doors.
The low-level shoulder line runs around the car into the rear lights, accentuating the body’s horizontal emphasis.
The four wheel arches with pointedly horizontal top edges extend well out from the cabin. They shape the conspicuous quattro architecture – not just by providing visual evidence of a wide track and dynamic potential, but also by binding 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.
The rear section is kept very neat, with a wide light strip and a prominent separating edge. Here again, the determined horizontality of the quattro wheel arches dominates the proportions. The rear diffuser is visible below the bumper.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.