The first thing you notice about the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro S line is the rear-view mirrors. Or lack thereof.
Instead, there are streamlined cameras and 7-inch OLED screens in the door. They are roughly on the same eye line but it does take some getting used to. The added advantage is that the Sportback warns you if there are cars in that lane (with an orange warning). If it’s clear, you see the green indicator light. It’s a small thing, but it’s useful.

Make yourself at home
Once you’re inside, it’s what we’ve come to expect from this luxury car brand. The plush interior is all leather (including the seats) and chrome and has some clever usability features.
There are two touchscreens, which display either Apple’s CarPlay, Android Auto, or Audi’s own MMI interface. The bottom one often had the climate control interface as its default, which is very handy, especially during the mini hot patch we drove it. But it also cleverly works as an input screen – with either a keyboard or writing input – which I used to navigate and find 702’s FM frequency.
Dual touch screens
There is a slot in the reworked centre console that holds your phone vertically, but also a clever leather mount that lets your phone rest on it without sliding off.
There are also two of the newer USB-C charging ports, which give your devices juice at about three times the speed of the old square-shaped USB. I was rushing the first time I used it and my phone battery was a little flat, so I just plugged it in. This allowed me to simply use Bluetooth the next time (after the usual permissions prompts) and was an unexpected little useability bonus.
The Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound was excellent, even if I mostly listen to Audible and news articles, but tested its mettle with amapiano. (For which I am grateful to Scrolla.Africa’s late Sizwe Sibiya for introducing me to).
Eyes on the road

I’m a big fan of a heads-up display which lets you see your speed while looking directly ahead. The main display, where the gauges and dials used to be, is also digital and thankfully has a prominent clock – another thing I am fond of always being able to see. The parking aids, including a 360-degree camera, are useful.
It took a while to work out where the charging ports were because Audi dispenses with the convention of putting them where the petrol cap used to be. Instead, they are cleverly positioned just in front of the front doors, one on each side for home AC charging or fast charging. Given the lack of an engine, the cables are stored in a case under the bonnet, or frunk as the front trunk is called in the US.
The drivey bits
This brings me to the actual car technology. The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro S line model Stuff reviewed — starting at R2,115,000 — has a 95kW battery and a 300kW maximum output. It has a range of up to 380km, a top speed of 200 km/h and gets to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. I tried, but I didn’t time myself.
The drive itself was a pleasure. The car handles well, has tight control with the steering wheel and gusty power when you need it – which in South Africa often means overtaking a slower-driving taxi.

Read More: You can now charge your Audi e-tron at home for free (kinda)

I liked that the automatic gearchange only has reserve and drive – via a newly designed control in the centre console that you either push backwards or forwards. Audi could make the indication of this brighter, or another colour because it was hard to read in daylight, so I had to check on the driver’s dashboard to confirm I was in gear. The chrome strips on the console also reflect just badly into the drivers’ eyes if you have the sunroof’s darkened inner cover pulled back. Not hard to fix, but avoid that chrome finish if you can.
Charging port and home charger
The energy use seemed fair and I only had to charge the car once or twice while I had it for five days – from a newly installed plug in my garage that connects to the Eskom grid and bypassed our home solar system. It wasn’t particularly fast, as an AC plug, and makes the installation of a home charging system a must. Because my wife and I have been on a solar system for over a year, this is the first EV I have tried to charge at home. I have always popped into shopping centres and dealerships to use their superchargers. It’s no longer viable to buy an electric car without a fast charging station. Stuff is busy researching these, but most carmakers will sell you something that works with their vehicles.
Being so familiar with Audi helps. I drove an A3 Sportback for six or seven years and my wife drives a Q3. The e-tron EV is a great upgrade to this premium brand of car.

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