The Audi E‑Tron Sport­back tweaks more than just the sheet­met­al. It’s also slight­ly more effi­cient.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

We all knew the 2020 Audi E‑Tron Sport­back was com­ing. The coupe-ified crossover is a bit of an estab­lished for­mu­la now, tak­ing the design of the Audi E‑Tron SUV, which hit the road ear­li­er this year, and giv­ing the roof a sporty chop. How­ev­er, with the pro­duc­tion mod­el that debuted tonight, Audi has also tak­en this oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther refine the E‑Tron’s elec­tric pow­er­train with tweaks beneath the new sheet met­al that improve bat­tery man­age­ment and range.

Start­ing with the famil­iar, the E‑Tron Sport­back large­ly uses iden­ti­cal hard­ware to the E‑Tron SUV with a 184-horse­pow­er, 228-pound-foot elec­tric motor at the front axle and a 224-horse­pow­er, 262-lb.-ft. unit at the rear. Togeth­er, they form a sort of ful­ly elec­tric ver­sion of Audi’s trade­mark Quat­tro all-wheel dri­ve sys­tem, com­bin­ing for a peak 355 horse­pow­er (or 402 ponies for short 8 sec­ond bursts of speed).

2020 Audi E‑Tron Sport­back: More range, more coupe-ish 22 Pho­tos

Here is where the Sport­back­’s refine­ments begin. The new mod­el gains the abil­i­ty to com­plete­ly decou­ple the front motor when not in use — for exam­ple, dur­ing light load cruis­ing — result­ing in less drag. Tweaks to the hydraulic brakes also help it roll more freely. And, of course, the sleek roofline low­ers the crossover’s aero­dy­nam­ic drag con­tribut­ing, accord­ing to Audi’s reck­on­ing, to a 10 km increase in range on the WLTP test­ing cycle.

Mean­while, Audi is more aggres­sive­ly using the E‑Tron’s 95 kWh bat­tery pack — unlock­ing 91-per­cent net (usable) capac­i­ty, up from around eighty-ish before. That gives the Sport­back about 86.4 kWh of juice to use between charg­ing. Pre­vi­ous­ly, the automak­er cit­ed longevi­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty as rea­sons for the con­ser­v­a­tive net capac­i­ty of the E‑Tron’s pack. Audi now says that ther­mal man­age­ment improve­ments for the Sport­back allow more of the pack to be charged and dis­charged with­out com­pro­mis­ing long-term reli­a­bil­i­ty.

Audi esti­mates the bat­tery and effi­cien­cy improve­ments should net the E‑Tron Sport­back more range than the stan­dard pro­file, about 446 km of range on the WLTP stan­dard. EPA esti­mates haven’t been announced yet. Expect mod­est gains; my back-of-the-enve­lope guess based on the cur­rent E‑Tron’s 204 miles of range lands at about 220 to 225 miles when the Sport­back gets here. We’ll keep you updat­ed with actu­al num­bers when they’re announced.

The Sport­back­’s coupe-ish roof costs the E‑Tron a few mil­lime­ters of rear head­room and a few cubic feet of car­go, but it also con­tributes less to aero­dy­nam­ic drag.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

In Europe, the E‑Tron Sport­back also debuts a new gen­er­a­tion of Audi light­ing tech­nol­o­gy. The Dig­i­tal Matrix Light fea­tures a 1.3 mil­lion pix­el LED pro­jec­tor (in addi­tion to stan­dard high and low beam) to cast fine and com­plex illu­mi­na­tion onto the road ahead. The automak­er demon­strat­ed using the DML to project vehi­cle width guides onto a lane, high­light­ing pedes­tri­ans in the road with­out daz­zling them and con­tour­ing the light’s throw around a bend in the road. The light­ing tech­nol­o­gy can also be used to project sweet, cus­tomiz­able wel­come and good­bye ani­ma­tions onto a garage wall or park­ing lot when enter­ing or leav­ing the vehi­cle. Of course, the last two gen­er­a­tions of Audi’s matrix illu­mi­na­tion are still ille­gal here in the U.S., so this tech­nol­o­gy almost cer­tain­ly won’t be arriv­ing in Amer­i­ca with the new E‑Tron. It will, how­ev­er, hit the road on glob­al mar­ket mod­els.

Speak­ing of hit­ting the road, Audi will begin tak­ing pre­orders for the sex­i­er, more effi­cient E‑Tron Sport­back start­ing at the end of this month, Novem­ber 2019. The first deliv­er­ies are expect­ed in Europe begin­ning in March 2020, with the Sport­back reach­ing North Amer­i­can shores near the end of sum­mer 2020. The Euro­pean E‑Tron Sport­back will start at 71,350 euros and top out around 83,150 euros. North Amer­i­can pric­ing has­n’t been announced, but expect about a $2,500 pre­mi­um over the stan­dard E‑Tron’s $74,800 start­ing stick­er.

LA Auto Show 2019 read­ing • 2020 Audi E‑Tron Sport­back debuts slick new roofline, a bit more range Nov 20 • Lexus unveils the gor­geous 2021 LC 500 con­vert­ible in Los Ange­les Nov 20 • The 2021 Lexus LC 500 drops its top and peo­ple’s jaws at the LA Auto Show Nov 19 • Kar­ma SC2 con­cept backs sharp design with bold 1,100 horse­pow­er claim • See All More From Road­show 2020 Lexus LC 500 review: Beau­ty and bewil­der­ment Tes­la Mod­el 3: The one you’ve been wait­ing for 2019 Jeep Wran­gler eTorque review: More torque, more effi­cien­cy, almost no com­pro­mis­es LA Auto Show 2019 SUVs Elec­tric Cars Noti­fi­ca­tion on Noti­fi­ca­tion off Audi

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