SUV COUPÉ FOR THE E-TRON FAMILY:
THE AUDI E-TRON SPORTBACK
“The future is electric:” Audi is staying consistently true to its strategic alignment by presenting the second model in its e-tron product line. The Audi e-tron Sportback is a dynamic SUV coupé offering up to 300 kW of power and a range of up to 446 kilometers (277.1 miles) ( in the WLTP cycle) from a single battery charge (combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km (62.1 mi): 26.3 - 21.6 (WLTP); 23.9 – 20.6 (NEFZ); combined CO2 emissions in g/km (g/mi): 0). Its digital matrix LED headlights are a new feature now available for the first time in a mass-production vehicle. Their light is broken down into tiny pixels and can be controlled with exceptional precision. This makes safe lane centering easier on narrow stretches of road and shows the position of the vehicle in the lane. The Audi e-tron Sportback can be ordered as of the end of November. Market introduction in Europe is scheduled for the spring of 2020.
Global innovation in a production vehicle: The digital matrix LED headlights
With the digital matrix LED headlights as top-of-the range equipment, Audi presents a worldwide first in a production vehicle: Broken down into minute pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high resolution. The design is based on a technology abbreviated as DMD (digital micromirror device) and is also used in many video projectors. At its heart is a small chip containing one million micromirrors, each of whose edge length measures just a few hundredths of a millimeter. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. Depending on the setting, the LED light is either directed via the lenses onto the road or is absorbed in order to mask out areas of the light beam.
In the Audi e-tron Sportback, the digital light that will expand the offering in mid-2020, performs multiple tasks. It can generate dynamic leaving- and coming-home animations that appear as projections on a wall or on the ground. This presentation transforms the area in front of the car into a carefully illuminated stage. Not only does the digital light system deliver cornering, city, and highway lighting as versions of the low-beam light with exceptional precision, it also supplements the high-beam light by masking out other road users with even greater accuracy. Above all, however, it offers innovative functions such as lane light and orientation light. On freeways, the lane light creates a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane brightly and adjusts dynamically when he or she changes lane. In this way, it improves the driver’s awareness of the relevant lane and contributes to improved road safety. In addition, the orientation light uses darkened areas masked out from the light beam to predictively show the vehicle’s position in the lane, thereby supporting—especially on narrow roads or in highway construction zones—the safe lane centering assist. The marking light function is also used in conjunction with the optional night vision assist. The light automatically draws attention to any pedestrians it detects, thereby reducing the danger of overlooking pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the lane.
Continue driving in just 30 minutes: the charging line-up
On long-distance routes, the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro can charge with direct current (DC) at up to 150 kW at fast-charging stations. In just under half an hour, the battery reaches 80 percent of its capacity—sufficient for the next leg of its long-distance trip. The e-tron Sportback 50 quattro** can charge at up to 120 kW and achieves an identical charge status in the same time.
Charging at public AC charging stations can be performed using a standard mode-3 cable. Up to 11 kW of power is available here, which can be increased to 22 kW with an optional second on-board charging device that will be available in summer 2020. Audi’s own charging service, the e-tron Charging Service, provides easy access to almost 120,000 public charging points in 21 European countries – and the number is rising. Whether AC or DC, 11 or 150 kW—a single card is all that is required to start the process. The Plug & Charge function, which is also due to follow in 2020, will make charging even more convenient: The car authorizes itself at the charging station and activates it.
Audi also offers a range of solutions for charging in the garage at home, depending on the capacity of the domestic power supply. The standard compact charging system is suitable for a simple 230-volt connection and for a 400-volt three-phase outlet with an output of up to 11 kW. The optional charging stem connect will be available for ordering at market launch. It offers smart charging functions, for example preferred charging at low-cost times. The combination with a suitable home energy management system allows the vehicle to be charged preferably with self-generated solar power,
Palpable and comprehensible: The operating concept
As with all full-size class models from Audi, the e-tron Sportback also features the MMI touch response operating system with two displays. A tactile and acoustic pulse confirms when a finger activates a function. On the upper 12.1-inch touch screen, the driver controls the infotainment, telephony, navigation, and dedicated e-tron settings. The lower 8.6-inch display is used to input text and to operate the convenience functions and climate control. The menu structure is intuitively logical and flat in the same way as a smartphone; the graphics are clear and condensed.
Standard equipment on the Audi e-tron Sportback also includes the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit. Its display excels with an extremely high resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels and can be switched between two views using the “View” button on the steering wheel. An optional “plus” version featuring an additional display centered around the power meter is also available. On request, the display and operating concept can be expanded to include a head-up display that projects important information onto the windshield.
In addition to operation by the two touch displays, the driver can activate a host of functions using natural language voice control. The system understands freely worded commands and search queries. The dialog manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices, and also defers to the speaker when interrupted. In doing so, it accesses information stored in the vehicle as well as the knowledge from the cloud.
Top-caliber connectivity: Navigation and Audi connect
In Germany, the Audi e-tron Sportback is equipped as standard with the MMI Navigation plus and the DAB+ digital radio. The top-end infotainment system supports the high-speed data transmission standard LTE Advanced and comes with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for the passengers’ mobile devices. The navigation system makes intelligent destination suggestions based on previous journeys. The route is calculated both on board in the car and online on the servers of the map and navigation provider HERE, which monitors the overall traffic situation in the region.
The wide range of Audi connect navigation & infotainment functions complements the route guidance perfectly. Highlights include online traffic information, navigation with Google Earth™, the e-tron route planner, the hybrid radio, and Car-to-X services. The most recent of these are the on-street parking service, which helps find parking spaces on the roadside, and traffic light information. In some cities, the latter connects the car to the central computer controlling the traffic light systems and provides information to the driver in the Audi virtual cockpit. The service thus contributes to an efficient driving style and facilitates a steady flow of traffic.
A further component of the package is the cloud-based Amazon voice service Alexa, which is fully integrated into the MMI operating system of the Audi e-tron Sportback. The driver can use it to perform a range of tasks such as placing orders and finding information about many current events. The service offers access to more than 80,000 Alexa Skills.
In addition, the free myAudi app can connect the car to a smartphone, which allows the owner of the Audi e-tron Sportback to manage all charging processes remotely. These include querying the battery and range status, starting the charge processes, programming timers, and displaying driving statistics. On long-distance trips, the e-tron route planner displays the necessary charging stops along the route—both in the app as well as in the MMI. In the process, it continuously updates the charge planning based on the traffic situation and to take account of driving behavior. Another function of the myAudi app is preheating/precooling prior to departure, which is powered by electricity from the outlet. The optional deluxe auxiliary air conditioning system allows the customer to specify in detail whether the interior, the steering wheel and the seats—depending on the equipment level—are to be heated.
This smart networking includes the digital Audi connect key in addition to the myAudi app. Available as an option, it authorizes an Android smartphone to not only lock and unlock the SUV coupé, but also to start the engine via the start/stop button.
Customization after the purchase: Functions on demand
The Audi e-tron Sportback is a standard-bearer for the new digital services and business areas that the brand is opening up. One of these is the “functions on demand” offering, which covers functions from the areas of light, driver assist systems, and infotainment. The customer can book them online—on demand and at any time. Even after they have taken delivery of their car, the customer can now continually customize it to their individual requirements. Every function can be obtained for varying periods—monthly, annually, or permanently. Functions are booked either via the myAudi app or on the myAudi online portal and paid for conveniently and securely via AudiPay.
In the lighting package, customers can upgrade the LED headlights to matrix LED headlights with intelligent high-beam control. This provides additional functions such as daytime running lights with the e-tron signature as well as front and rear dynamic turn signals. When the e-tron Sportback is locked and unlocked, the headlights and rear lights provide an expressive showcase of the electric SUV. To begin with, park assist will be available as an add-on option for the assist systems. The infotainment package includes the Audi smartphone interface and the Audi connect navigation & infotainment package.
Ensuring safety in the city and on long journeys: The driver assist systems
The driver assist systems that Audi offers in the e-tron Sportback support drivers and reduce their workload in many situations. The Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front safety systems are fitted as standard. Audi offers the assist package City specifically for urban traffic. It includes the intersection assist and rear cross traffic assist functions as well as the lane change and exit warnings. Audi pre sense 360°, the combination of Audi pre sense front, rear, and side, is fitted. This system detects collision hazards and initiates targeted protective measures—from full braking to tensioning of the seat belts.
Highlights of the assist package Tour are the adaptive cruise assist, which simplifies longitudinal and lateral control, as well as the efficiency assistant. The latter uses data from the on-board sensors, the navigation system, and Car-to-X services and signals to the driver when it makes sense to take their foot off the accelerator pedal. In combination with the adaptive cruise assist and traffic sign recognition, the efficiency assistant can also brake and accelerate the SUV coupé predictively. The turn assist, collision avoidance assist, and emergency assist functions round out the Tour package. Audi also offers the park assist, the night vision assist, and the 360 degree cameras that allow the driver to select from multiple views.
The central driver assistance controller operates as standard behind the driver assist systems in the Audi e-tron Sportback. It continuously computes a differentiated model of the surroundings. Depending on the selected options, data is received from up to five radar sensors, five cameras, and twelve ultrasonic sensors.