Every year, the Los Angeles Convention Centre hosts one of the largest automotive shows in the world – the LA Auto Show. Promoted by the city’s new-car dealers association, the event is held for ten days and has podiums that form a stretch of almost seventeen and a half acres.
Audi E-Tron Sportback SUV
This year, some of the most futuristic cars have been brought to the show, and most of them are being launched either during the event or shortly after. Among the many launches that can be discussed, the first one to be talked about is Audi’s much-awaited fully electric Sport SUV – the E-Tron Sportback.
Built at the company’s most environment-friendly assembly plant in Brussels, the E-Tron is set to arrive in Europe the next year and will make its way to India the year after.
Designed and built to be an SUV Coupe, the Sportback follows its family DNA. It is built on the octagonal monocoque and features matrix LED headlights with the E-Tron specific daytime running lights.
The slanting stripes are also visible on the steps, at either side of the car and at the diffuser where the tailpipes should be. The LED lights are bridged by a luminous strip and both front and rear lights are a cluster of tiny LED pixels which can be further collectively controlled.
The car will be offered in thirteen colour options including Audi’s latest addition to their palette – the Plasma blue metallic.
Power and Transmission
The digital age SUV is powered by a motor capable of producing outputs equivalent to over four hundred horses. On a full charge, the car is expected to cover a range of four hundred and forty kilometres, a number achieved by the help of aerodynamics. Though its top speed is electronically limited to two hundred km per hour, the car still manages to produce enough power to go from zero-to-hundred in just 6.6 seconds. Asynchronous electric motors are fitted in each axle and are powered by a three-phase current distribution system which is electronically controlled.
To completely harness its power, one needs to shift the automatic lever to S and pump down on the accelerator pedal. This is answered by a monstrous surge that pours all the car’s four hundred brake-horsepower and six hundred and sixty Newton meters of torque out onto the road for a short period of eight seconds. Under the boost mode, the car races from zero to a hundred in just a little over five seconds.
Torque transmission to the axles is handled by a two-stage planetary gearbox, with gear controlling to be done by a push-button-switch system. All of this is controlled by a premium looking lever which is set low in the central console. Axle load distribution is well balanced, and their self-steering feature is a blessing for driving thrills.
The Sportback-SUV is 4,901 mm long, 1,935 mm wide, and stands 1,616 mm tall. The roof travels in a contour that reflects the car’s build, before dropping down exactly in the fashion of a coupe. The whole greenhouse quietly disappears into the slanting D pillars. The car is completely reliant on its aerodynamics through the visible styling and body cues, and the invisible – the functional ones.
Front brakes get an electronically controlled air intake unit with cooling channels that also funnel air to the wheels, the entire under-body, and the aluminium under-plating of the battery pack, built to keep the Li-ion power source safe from damage.
Interiors are lounge-like with plush trim material and upholstery that reflects perfect harmony between aesthetics and futurism. An arc connects both the front doors, via the instrument panel in the centre, and forms the base of the Audi virtual cockpit. The arc also accommodates the displays that are spread across the dashboard, including the ones for the door mirror-mounted cameras. The instrument cluster gets a dual touch screen interface, which is placed in such a way that enables ergonomic advantage for the driver.
Customers will also get to choose between sport seats, S-sport seats, and seats with the option of customizable contours and electronically controlled ventilation options with a massage feature.
Sportback flaunts the Nineteen-inch wheels, with the option of twenty-two-inch ones and are clad in a standard size of 255/55 R19 tyres with extremely low rolling resistance.
Cost and functionality
Drive quality and experience can only be described once the car is tested and its reports are shared. One can expect the Audi E-Tron Sportback Coupe SUV to be priced well above 2 crores, amongst the likes of the Lamborghini Urus. This is not because it holds any performance advantage over the supercar-SUV, but because of the exclusivity it enjoys being an electric powered performance SUV capable of delivering supercar territory numbers. Also, the government has levied duties on import vehicles, and this might push its cost even higher than anticipated.