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Audi’s E-Tron Sportback adds style and range to the line

And somehow there’s still headroom in back.
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Audi's E-Tron SUV is getting a companion EV. The E-Tron Sportsback is essentially the same vehicle just in a more stylish package.

Gallery: Audi E-Tron Sportback unveil | 8 Photos

While the innards of the vehicle are the same, the more aerodynamic shape of the Sportback will give slight edge over its sibling in range. The company is targeting an EPA range of 220 miles. The regular E-Tron gets about 204 miles of range.

The vehicle can be charged at up to 150kW and can regenerate 220kW of power while braking, which is something I found to be helpful during my drive of the regular E-Tron SUV when I tested it last year.

The range increase isn't just about a swooped back end. Audi has increased the amount of battery-pack availability. The E-Tron only gives owners about 88 percent of the 95kWh battery's capacity at any one time. The E-Tron Sportback offers 91 percent.

Automakers typically leave a small percentage of battery unavailable for charging to help extend the life of a vehicle's pack. If a driver charged 100 percent of the actual battery all the time, it would reduce its cycle life.

The Sportback also gets a sweet new lighting system that unfortunately will not make its way to the US. The Matrix LED headlamps serves up a carpet of light ahead of the vehicle while it's driving down the freeway.

The Sportback gets all the other tech that's in the E-Tron like the latest version of the MMI infotainment system and the side cameras instead of mirrors in regions where it's legal to sell that feature. (It's not legal to sell in the US.)

And while a coupe design typically means bad news for rear passengers, when I sat in the back of the vehicle, I had ample headroom and legroom. So kudos to Audi for thinking about tall people. Really what you're going to lose is cargo space. But that's to be expected when you trade design for utility.

The Audi E-Tron Sportback will be available for purchase in Europe in spring 2020 and the US after that.

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