It hasn’t been long since I was behind the wheel of the mighty Audi RS e-Tron GT. An impressive car from a technological standpoint, with an impressive price tag too. However, I found that it was not an everyday practical car. This time I am in the new 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback, and I have a good feeling that it may tick off more boxes than the GT.

When I started my review I wanted to see what a similar internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle would cost. Looking at the body shape and specs of the e-Tron S Sportback, the closest was the Audi SQ8. Both are about the same size and spec level, interestingly the cost of the SQ8 is around $10k more than the e-Tron Sportback. This means that anyone looking at a vehicle of this size has a fully electric option without having to spend any more money. 

What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback

What we like

  • Sharp modern design
  • Luxury build quality
  • Performance car acceleration
  • Great ride quality
  • Leading-edge technology
  • Sleek stylish interior
  • So quiet on the open road
  • Well designed charge plug coverFeels like good value for its price

What we don’t like

  • Battery size, needs fast charger
  • Shiny black-plastic console
  • Upright wireless phone charger

What’s In The 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback Range?

The range available in New Zealand includes 4 variants of e-tron Sportback. Starting with the e-tron 55 ($151,500) e-tron 55 Advanced ($159,900) e-tron Sportback 55 S line ($170,500) and the e-tron S Sportback ($189,900), which we are testing. 

Unlike the typical petrol models where there is a variety of engines for the different models, all of the e-tron Sportback variants have a very similar powertrain. They all have the same 95kWh battery, and all have the same charging capacity of up to 11kW AC and up to 150kW DC. The e-tron 55, e-tron 55 advanced and e-tron Sportback 55 S line all have the same peak output boost of 300kW and torque output boost of 664Nm. This gives all of these models a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds and an electrical power consumption combined of 26.2 – 22.5 kWh/100 km. They all even have a similar range of up to 441kms except for the S line which is up to 452kms. 

The e-tron S Sportback is set up to be the high-performance model within the group, with a peak output boost of 370kW and torque output boost of 973Nm. This extra power gives it the ability to do 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. The downside of this extra power and torque is that the e-tron S Sportback has less range than the other variants, up to 378kms. This means that its electrical power consumption combined is 28.2 – 25.5 kWh/100 km.

Overall if you break up the variants, there is not a huge difference between the whole range, with the S Sportback being the obvious performance model. Unless the high performance is something you can’t live without, you still get a very similar vehicle and could save up to $38,4000.

2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback Standard Equipment Highlights

  • Electronic stabilisation control (ESC)
  • Anti-theft alarm with interior surveillance and vehicle immobiliser
  • Driver and passenger airbags, side airbags in front, and curtain airbag system
  • Driver and passenger airbags, side airbags in front and rear, and curtain airbag system
  • Adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, incl. efficiency assist
  • Audi Active Lane Assist with emergency assist (semi-automatic vehicle control in a medical emergency)
  • Audi Pre Sense Front – with Collision-Avoidance Assist and Turn Assist
  • Audi Pre Sense Rear 
  • Audi lane change assist incl. exit warning system and rear traffic alert
  • High Beam Assist
  • Park distance control, front and rear with 360 display
  • 360 camera
  • Front cross-traffic assist 
  • Progressive steering
  • Exterior mirrors – electrically adjustable, folding, heated, memory function and automatically dimming
  • LED daytime running lights 
  • Light and rain sensor
  • LED headlights and LED rear lamps
  • Luggage compartment lid, electrically opening and closing
  • Air Conditioning – two-zone deluxe
  • Audi Smartphone Interface (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto)
  • Audi Virtual Cockpit – Fully digital instrument cluster, with 12.3″ high resolution LCD screen
  • Auto-dimming interior rear view mirror, frameless
  • Head-up display
  • Bluetooth interface – for hands-free mobile phone connectivity and Bluetooth audio streaming (depending on compatibility of mobile phone)
  • Front and Rear USB ports
  • Comfort key with sensor-controlled release of the luggage compartment lid
  • Electric front seats with lumbar support, memory function for driver seat 
  • Heated front seats
  • MMI Navigation Plus with MMI touch response – Main display 10.1 inch, incl, haptic feedback – Lower display 8.6 inch, incl. haptic feedback
  • Sports contour multifunction steering wheel, leather, 3 spoke, heated
  • S Sports seats package 
    • Front seats – S Sports seats
    • Upholstery – Valcona leather with S embossing (N2R)
  • Headlining in Black
  • Privacy glass 
  • Audi Connect Audi Connect Data Module
    • Audi Connect Enabler
      • Audi Connect SIM
      • WiFi Hotspot
    • Audi connect Navigation and infotainment plus (3 years) (IT3) – 
      • Online search for navigation destinations
      • Detailed Point of Interest display
      • Online traffic information
      • Online parking information – Weather information
      • myAudi Navigation – Navigation with Google Earth
      • Map update online – 
  • Safety & Service (10 years)
    • Audi Service Request
    • Audi Roadside Assistant
    • Emergency Call
  • Security & Convenience (3 years)
    • Vehicle Status Report
    • Car Finder 
    • Theft Alarm Notification
    • Remote Lock / Unlock 
    • Remote Horn & Light
    • Geofencing, Speed Alert 

Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment

  • Audi Sport wheels, 5-arm “Interferenz” style, Titanium Gray, diamond-turned, 10.5J x 22, 285/35 R22 tires – $3500

The e-tron S Sportback is available in 7 metallic colours, 1 pearl effect colour and 1 solid colour. Our review vehicle was spec’d with Plasma Blue Metallic, which I was unsure about at first, but over the week the colour really grew on me; it was a nice combination with the alloy trim highlights.

Including the optional equipment, our review car’s retail price is $193,400.

For a full list of specs and options available for the 2022 Audi e-tron S Sportback jump on over to the Audi New Zealand website.

Video from Audi’s global YouTube channel, the vehicle may be different to that in New Zealand.

How Does The 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback Compare To Its Competition?

The top end of the luxury EV market is still a bit sparse, and what is on offer has a wide range of different spec levels and finishes. That makes it hard to compare apples to apples. Based on the size of the e-tron S Sportback, the current options are BMW, Tesla, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. 

EV Comparison Chart

Make/ ModelBattery
Capacity
kW-hr
Power/
Torque
kW/Nm
0-100km/h
seconds
Range (WLTP)Boot
Space,
litres
Price
BMW iX 50111.5385/7654.6570500$197,900
Audi e-tron S Sportback95370/9734.5378615$189,900
Tesla Model X Long Range D95375/6603.95601050$182,990
Jaguar I-Pace HSE904704.8470557$169,900
Mercedes-Benz EQC 40080300/7605.1353500$151,500

First Impressions Of The 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback

When I first saw the new Audi e-tron S Sportback I thought it was a Q8 or SQ8. What I liked about it is that the e-tron S Sportback just looked like a normal vehicle, without any try hard, “look at me – I’m an electric vehicle” design to it. It was also nice to have a bit of colour, Plasma Blue Metallic was a welcome change, as most of the Audis in the lot were white, silver or black. The only thing that I do not like about its appearance is the front grille. Whatever greyish plastic they have made it out of, made it look very cheap and doesn’t sit well with the rest of the vehicle’s styling.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback?

Inside the new e-tron S Sportback feels like a very high-end and futuristic vehicle. It is elegantly designed with a luxury feel, with leather and alloy trim wrapping around the centre console, and the 3 digital displays. One thing it did suffer from which we still see a lot of is the piano black finish around screens and controls, which can be really bad for showing up dust and fingerprints. From the driver’s seat, you really do feel like you’re in a cockpit with all of the controls and screens wrapping around you. The newly designed drive selector was great too, sleek and subtle, but very functional. 

All of the seats are embroidered with cross diamond stitching which really adds a refined feel to them. Each seat also has the Audi S logo stitched in below the head rest. The two front seats are fully electric, heated with lumbar support and memory function. It felt like I spent no time at all getting situated in this e-tron, and setting the memory was simple. 

The rear seats are just as nice as the front, not as adjustable, but the finish and shape made them comfortable – even for tall people. I found that it was no trouble at all being just over 2m tall, plenty of room around the knees and didn’t find the sloping roof an issue or cramped.

The two central media displays are both touch screens, or as I came to describe them, push screens. Unlike the touch screens we are all used to, Audi have added a tactile button-pushing function to theirs. So if you touch a button or icon on the screen it does nothing, you need to push it to activate it. Bit weird, not what I was expecting, but I guess you would get used to it. Apart from that, the rest of the MMI system is super easy to use; swipe left and right for menu and options, all displayed with nice graphics and instructions. Easy to find what you want. The second display under the main one controls the aircon, heated and cooled seats, and a range of other comfort options. I like how they have used these systems to control what used to be a sea of plastic buttons across the dash. It also removes the issues of multiple blank buttons around the cabin too.

Unlike some of the other Audis or cars in this price bracket, there can be very few places to put anything you might have in your pockets or your phone. I remember there being nowhere to put anything in the 2020 Audi RS6 I reviewed. Thankfully this is not the case in the e-tron S Sportback, right behind the cool t-bar-like drive selector there is a great big open storage space that has an upright slot for your phone / wireless charging and a cubby for drinks bottles and bits and pieces. It was a good space, nice and deep, but I didn’t like the phone charger setup. It’s upright and with the wireless charger on the side, so to get your phone in it, you needed to use a clip that pushed on the screen of your phone to keep it in place. Not so keen on that to be honest as it may damage or leave marks on your phone’s screen. 

The boot space is very good, especially for a sloped-back vehicle. Due to the height of the vehicle, the boot is deep below the rear hatch which gives you 615 litres of space when the rear seats are up. The spare wheel is in a compartment below the boot and on either side of the boot you have cargo spaces with net fronts for smaller items. Very good for shopping, when needing to store more fragile items like wine.

The floor of the boot also has 4 anchor points which can be used to tie cargo down or the provided cargo net. The rear parcel tray is split in two, with half of it attached to the door and the other half in the car. Rear seats are also split 40/20/40 which leave you with a lot of configuration as opposed to the 60/40 setup. With the seats down the boot space opens up to 1,655 litres. The frunk or foot (front boot) is not as spacious, and I overlooked it the first time I lifted the bonnet as it has another cover over it, which is kinda similar looking to a normal engine cover. Once you lift this, there is a space just big enough to hold all the charging equipment, cables and plug-in wall charger. But that’s it, hard to say if this is a waste of useable space, as the rear boot is great for space already. 

What’s The 2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback Like To Drive?

The Audi e-tron S Sportback is rather nice to drive, the initial feeling when pulling away from the dealership was that the car is very planted and power delivery is smooth and controllable. For most of my time in the S Sportback I never thought of it as an EV, just an SUV. I really liked this about it, as it was not trying to focus on the powertrain, but more about the usability of the vehicle for the user.

As this was the Audi S model, it needed to feel like the other S models but with a cheeky, sporty side to its character. The S was not just stitched on the headrest of the front seats, it was deep in the bones of its chassis. When you want to get up and go, the S Sportback has no problem doing so. It’s tight and firm in the corners too, giving the driver the confidence to place the vehicle right at the sweet spot of backcountry roads. Inside the cabin was nice and quiet on most roads, with a slight hint of the EV motor running in the background. The e-tron S Sportback, felt like any other S model, with the right balance of sporty performance and luxury refinement. 

Steering wheel controls are simple, much like the other Audi models. On the left, you have a scroll wheel for menus, a View button to change the driver display layout, and left and right control for changing stations or menus. On the right, you have the volume, phone and voice controls.

Behind the wheel, you have a small stalk that has all of the cruise control settings, which are super easy to use. The only two controls that seem out of place are the paddles, on the left a minus paddle and on the right a plus paddle. No, they are not for gears; they control the EV brake regeneration system, which allows you to coast freely, or have two different levels of brake regen engaged.

Visibility is pretty good all around, the A-pillar is a bit on the beefy side, so you have to double-check if there is a car hiding behind it at some roundabouts. The view out the rear window is good even though it’s sloped and narrow. 

The driver’s display is clean and easy to use. Unlike some of the new EV displays, it’s not cluttered with too much info. There is a power use gauge in place of an rpm meter and speedo. In between this, you have a custom area that can show an array of different things, from range, media, phone and navigation. I generally had it displaying range, which made it clear to see what power was remaining in the batteries. The HUD was a nice addition to this display, again being clean and simple mainly displaying the speed on the front screen. 

There is an array of drive modes as with all Audi models, where you can select Performance, Normal, Eco, etc. Unlike most ICE vehicles, there is a noticeable difference between these drive modes, more sluggish in eco and instant power in sport. I didn’t find there was much difference between them in the S Sportback and left it in normal most of the time. Perhaps this was to do with my driving style or just the fact that there was so much torque available. The major difference is in Performance mode where the gloves came off and the power was just there to be used and abused.

The best bit of driver tech is the parking camera, which is a full 360 degrees 3D-view of the vehicle and its surroundings. I found this very handy as the review car had 22-inch rims fitted, and the camera system allowed some peace of mind when parallel parking the car against a kerb. A stressful situation in any nice car, but more so when the car is not yours.

The energy economy seemed to be pretty good on the e-tron S Sportback. Over the course of the two weeks, I had the vehicle, I managed to cover over 700km. During this time I only required two fast charger top-ups, topping up from 20% to 50% and from 40% to 80%. I tried to use the mobile at-home charger. It was kinda pointless unless you were leaving the car for the weekend to charge. From 30% it said it would be over 50hrs to recharge to 100%. This I feel is not the fault of the car, but a problem we will see more of due to the size of batteries in these vehicles.They are getting bigger and bigger, and our standard plugs don’t push enough juice to feed them quickly enough. Fast Charging is the way, but do we have that ability at home? I guess you can look into wall-mounted chargers, but they might need to be single or 3 phases to get it charged in a decent time. Audi currently has an offer until the 31syt of March 2022, where they will put forward $1,750 incl GST for the installation of a home fast charger is your house is suitable. This is done in conjunction with HRV their at-home charging installation partners. They may have other deals, but right now, it looks like your covering all the costs of home installation after March 2022.

As the only fast charger in my area is at Pak & Save, I spent a bit of time there both nights waiting for a top-up as the plugin at home was too slow.  So this is something to consider when purchasing these cars and how you charge them at home. 

The usage data appeared to be very hard to dig out of the Audi, unlike other EV vehicles. So I can’t say what I got, just that the manufacturer advertised rates are 25.6 – 28.1 kWh/100km. If my maths are correct and we assume the average price per kW is $0.30, then it’s between $7.68 and $8.43 per 100km. Going back what would be an equiliant model, the Audi SQ8, the fuel consumption is advertised at 12.9L/100km, which works out to be around $43.86 per 100km based on the current average price of 98ron fuel.

2022 Audi e-Tron S Sportback Specifications

Vehicle TypeElectric SUV
Starting Price$189,900
Price as Tested$193,400
EngineThree electric motors
Power, Torque
kW/Nm
370/973
TransmissionTwo-stage planetary gearbox with single gear
Spare WheelCollapsible spare wheel 
Kerb Weight, Kg3,245
Length x Width x Height
mm
4902 x 1976 x 1616
Cargo Capacity,
Litres
(seats up/seats down)
615
Battery capacity, kWh95
Energy Economy,
kWh/100km
Advertised Spec – Combined – 28.1 – 25.6
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
750 / 1800
Turning circle,
metres
12.2
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
WarrantyAudi Cover
Audi Warranty – 5 years / 150,000 km
Audi Roadside Assist – 5 years / 150,000 km
Audi Motoring Plan – 3 years / 150,000 kms*
* whichever comes first
12 Year Anti-Corrosion Warranty
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – NTE215

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Driver Technology
10
Economy
8
Handling
8
Infotainment
9
Interior
10
Performance
8
Ride
8
Safety
9
Styling
8
Value
8
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It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.
<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Overall I really enjoyed my time in the e-tron S Sportback; it's a sporty, everyday usable and practical family vehicle. To add to this that it’s fully electric and it's cheaper than the equivalent ICE model (the SQ8) - that means it’s now a serious option for people to consider when thinking about a vehicle of this level or cost. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --><!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The only real issues had with this vehicle was the style of the front grille and the battery size. The battery has a reliance on fast charging. If you have one, you will find out that you need a fast charger in your home or at work so that you can top it up within the time you're not using the vehicle. I tried the plugin wall charger at work, but it said it would take 36 hrs. Several hours later it only got me 5% more range. Which meant I spent a bit of time at our local supermarket fast charging it. Audi are offering support for this, but this is currently a limited offer up to the 31st of March 2022. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --><!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I have been a big fan of Audi's for a long time, but the e-tron GT RS didn't do it for me. Impressive flagship, but could I live with it? No. The Audi e-tron S Sportback is a totally different kettle of fish. Could I live with the Audi e-tron S Sportback every day? Yes, and I think I would enjoy it too.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->2022-audi-e-tron-s-sportback-electric-car-review

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