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Audi A3 40 Quattro Review

A test drive of the 2023 Audi A3 without activating Sport mode, just doesn’t tell the story of Audi’s smallest sedan

An exterior side view of an Atoll Blue Audi A3 sedan

For 2023, the Audi A3 continues with choices for front- or quattro all-wheel drive in trim levels of Premium or Premium Plus. (Photos courtesy of Audi USA)

Table of Contents

A History of A3 Firsts
2023 A3 Updates
A3 Model Line Pricing
A3 40 Performance
Driver-Assist Driving
Ride and Handling
Audi A3 40 Fuel Economy
Interior Function
Back Seats and Trunk Space
Why Buy the Audi A3?


The Audi A3 shows its true colors — Red — in the performance modes of its 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed S tronic transmission.

A test drive without activating Sport mode, or even the Dynamic performance setting, just doesn’t tell the story of this smallest Audi sedan. It can be a sleeper until prodded by the amped-up attitude of red in the gauge display.

By opting for this entry-level A3, the owner straps into a legitimate subcompact sport sedan without glam or gimmickry. It is the first touch point for this storied A3 family, which might be overlooked by the 306-hp Audi S3 or the 401-hp Audi RS 3.

Among the A3 standout features are the smartly designed interior, Audi’s shrewd engineering, a mild-hybrid engine, and the fact that this small sedan still has a spare tire! It’s a temporary spare with the jacking equipment, but with the broad electrification of vehicles, a spare tire is being deleted to make room for the battery pack and to save weight. The exception is larger vehicles and those intended for off-road travel.

Looking through windshield from inside the driver seat of the A3

The A3 cabin seems to have been designed as a driver’s car — with a true coupe feel.

A History of Audi A3 Firsts

The Audi A3 made its U.S. debut in 2005 as a 2006 model. It was one of the first modern luxury-class subcompact sedans.

Redesigned for the 2015 model year, the A3 was one of Audi’s biggest marketing launches. Much of the fanfare was about its advanced technologies, which Audi calls industry “firsts.” Among its enhancements were:

  • First in-vehicle LTE connectivity (Long Term Evolution) with Wi-Fi;
  • The first Audi model to use the modular infotainment platform, MIB;
  • First integrated social networking applications and Picture Book Navigation;
  • And in 2014, the A3 won the award for World Car of the Year.
Looking through the 3 spoke steering wheel at the digital gauge array

The 10.25-inch digital gauge array.

2023 Audi A3 Updates

After its complete redesign and re-engineering for the 2022 model year, the 2023 A3 and S3 models have just a few packaging adjustments.

Full LED headlights and stitched door armrests in leatherette are now standard for the 2023 A3 40.

The A3’s Premium Plus trim adds LED interior lighting-plus package and an Agate gray fine grain birch wood inlay. Adaptive cruise control is available through Function on Demand for the base Premium trim.

For the A3 40, the 18-inch 5-spoke Y design wheels with a bi-color finish and all-season tires are now included in the Black optic sport package. And wireless phone charging has been added to the Convenience package for the A3 and S3.

Looking up through the A3 panoramic sunroof

The Premium Plus features include a panoramic sunroof.

Audi A3 Model Line Pricing

The entry 2023 Audi A3 40 is available in front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive. All A3 models have a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automated-manual transmission with performance modes. A3 starting prices range from about $36,000 for the front drive Premium trim to $43,145 for the Prestige Plus quattro, today’s tester. Including Atoll Blue paint ($595) and the Black Optic sport package, $1,550, the tester came to $43,740. All MSRPs include the $1,095 freight charge from Ingolstadt, Germany.

The main subcompact sedan competitors in size and price to the Audi A3 are the 2023 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe four-door ($36,600) and the 2023 Mercedes-Benz A-Class ($36,095). Other potential competitors are the 2023 Acura Integra  ($32,000) and 2023 Cadillac CT4 ($35,790).

The infotainment screen in the A3

A 10.1-inch touch screen for rearview camera views and infotainment.

Audi A3 Premium Plus Features

Standard A3 Premium Plus technologies include:

  • Advanced key with push-button ignition;
  • Adaptive cruise assist with lane guidance;
  • Side assist with rear cross-traffic assist;
  • Active lane assist with emergency assist;
  • Parking system with park assist.

Convenience features on the A3 Premium Plus include leather-trimmed upholstery, panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charging, eight-way power (heated) front seats, driver’s seat memory presets, power folding and heated side mirrors, full HED headlights, garage-door opener. (See the longer list in the specs box at the end of the story.)

The A3 Black optic sport package adds:

  • 18-inch 5-spoke Y design wheels with a bi-color finish;
  • Pirelli all-season tires;
  • Black exterior trim;
  • Sport suspension lowers the ride height by a little more than half an inch, or 15mm.

Audi S3 and RS 3 Pricing

The Audi S3 starts at almost $47,000, with standard quattro AWD. With a few options, the price settles in at $56,000.

The RS 3 Quattro starts at almost $60,000. With desirable options, including the Black optic plus package ($750), Dynamic plus package ($5,000), RS sport exhaust system with black tips ($1,000), and Design selection interior ($1,500), the sticker grows to $69,000.

The Audi warranty of four years or 50,000 miles is for bumper-to-bumper coverage, with roadside assistance. The free first-scheduled maintenance is no longer offered. But Audi offers more comprehensive Care Select packages, starting at $999 for the A3.

Find current Audi A3 pricing here and special offers here.

A yellow Audi RS 3

The 401-hp, 5-cylinder Audi RS 3. Acceleration from 0 to 100 mph in 3.8 seconds.

Audi A3 Styling

Small can be spectacular in the A3 — but it might not appear so in its exterior styling. Its bold face instantly identifies the A3 as an Audi, and the unprovoking exterior design will transcend style trends for years to come. But it’s not a treatment that will lure motorists to follow the car hauler to the dealership.

The exterior design is balanced with a strong stance on the larger 18-inch wheels, though 17s are standard. The low front end can be a chin-scraper on driveways and when bounding through cross-street intersections.

The basic black interior doesn’t call out luxury, either. The engaging use of brushed metallic trim is youthful, but the assets of the A3 make themselves known after strapping in.

The A3 has LED headlights

The A3 has full LED lighting.

Audi A3 40 Performance

In the base drive mode of Comfort, A3 performance is mild and tuned for maximum fuel economy. At 3,494 pounds, which is a bit heavier than the BMW or Mercedes competitors, the official A3 40 fuel-economy ratings with AWD are 31 mpg city, 28 highway, and 36 mpg combined — using the recommended 87 octane fuel. Those ratings are a few mpgs better than the BMW and the Mercedes, which prefer premium fuel.

The A3’s 13.2-gallon tank could provide more than 400 miles of driving. I wouldn’t know because I was enjoying the Sport modes. My around-town mpgs were acceptable, but even then, I set the performance mode to “Comfort-Sport.”

The 201-hp 2.0-liter has 221 foot-pounds of torque, which peaks at a relatively high 4,000 rpm. That’s why performance in Comfort mode is comfortable. Activating Sport gives a bit more engine rev on take-off from a stop, which gets everything moving quicker into the upper rpms.

The seven-speed dual-clutch has the sensation of engaging first gear. That spooling and clutching can delay launch force as the turbo builds pressure and the transmission hooks up. But shift response at speed is quick and supportive of enthusiastic driving.

Especially appreciated is an honest exhaust and engine tone. There is no artificial engine-sound generator to give a hot-shoe impression. I’m quite capable of making noise on my own.

The A3 turbocharged four cylinder engine

The A3 has one powertrain choice of a 201-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Driver-Assist Driving

The A3 Premium Plus packages the network of driver-assist technologies. It is a Level 2 hands-on system that will be an asset for those in the slog of highway commuting.

I found the system to be precise in its lane centering and a faithful roundhouse of eyes for protection from drivers who are less aware while driving.

The advanced-tech package includes:

  • Adaptive cruise assist with lane guidance;
  • Audi side assist with rear cross-traffic assist;
  • Adaptive cruise assist;
  • Active lane assist with emergency assist.

Mild Hybrid Technology

The direct-injected TFSI engine — Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection — has sophisticated engineering for power and economy from a 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system. It’s another first for the A3, allowing it to coast while the engine temporarily shuts off in certain driving situations. The system also applies energy recuperation on throttle-lift and braking.

Audi says the A3 40 TFSI quattro has a 24 percent improvement in combined efficiency compared with the previous quattro model; it had official mileage ratings of 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined.

What’s the 40 mean?

In Audi engine terms, the A3 40 somehow refers to the 2.0-liter engine’s horsepower, which globally ranges from 165 to 198 hp. But the current U.S. -spec Audi A3 40 has 201 hp. The higher the number, such as 45, the higher the horsepower. The Audi A8 large sedan has an engine ranking of 55 for its
335-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6.

The higher-horsepower Audi A3 S and R.S. models don’t use an engine code; they stand on their own.

Audi A3 40 Ride and Handling

Despite a low 0.27 coefficient of drag, there was more road and ambient cabin noise than expected from such a small car. The likely culprit is the Pirelli P Zero all-season tires, though all-season Pirellis are not known to be noisy. The 225/40 tires have good cornering grip and a treadwear rating of 500, which is in the midrange for hardness; the tire’s warranty is for 50,000 miles.

The steel-spring suspension has MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link rear. The setup nimbly handles weight transitions and has a tight turning circle of 36.4 feet (or maybe a little wider with the 18-inch tires). The highway ride quality is more compliant than expected from the 103.5-inch wheelbase, which is a few inches shorter than its competitors.

Braking is absolute, but not grabby, from 12-inch ventilated front discs and 10.7-inch solid rear discs. The four-wheel ABS integrates brake-force distribution, hydraulic brake assist, and the expected stability and traction controls.

The 18-inch alloy wheel and Pirelli P Zero tire

Pirelli P Zero all-season tires, 225/40.

A3 Interior Function

The A3 cabin seems to have been designed as a driver’s car — with an authentic coupe feel. There are wide-open sightlines at the side mirrors without complications of frames at the corner glass. Over-the-shoulder views are also open, and the rearview camera with guidance lines also gives a silhouette view of nearness to objects front or rear.

Small cars often have cluttered interiors for placement of all the switches and controls, but not in the A3. A designer took care to arrange the front door panels to have an easy reach to the door grab with ideal leverage, opening or closing. Window switches, mirror adjusters, seat-memory presets, door locks, and the trunk opener are all within finger reach. The storage area just below has plenty of stash space and a bottle slot.

The center stack of controls anchors the upper infotainment screen, which is clearly visible in all light conditions. A tier below it are the climate controls with simple switches. The stack continues into a wide and low shift console with a secure finger grip for gear selection, the ignition button, and the audio volume dial.

Audi builds its seats for the long drive. These are eight-way adjustable with seat-bottom tilt. And the seats are without extreme side or bottom bolsters, which avoid that unwelcome wedgie on entry or exit.

Front headroom of 36.8 inches, with the sunroof, might not fit the big-and-tall driver.

A3 back seat has short legroom of 35.2 inches

Back seat space is subcompact with max legroom of 35.2 inches.

A3 Back Seat and Trunk Space

Back seat space is subcompact with max legroom of 35.2 inches, when those in the front scooch forward. A tall exhaust-transmission tunnel interferes with five-seat capacity.

Trunk space of 10.9 cubic feet is also subcompact but spacious enough for travel and getaways. And the back seat folds in a three-way split, 40/20/40, with a ski passthrough.

Trunk space is small but expandable by the folding back seat

Trunk cubic footage is small, but the space is expandable by the 40/20/40 back seat. (Mark Maynard trunk photos)

The temporary spare in the A3

And the temporary spare tire, almost rare in new cars.

Why Buy the Audi A3?

In the late 1990s when the major European carmakers were competing to sell more cars in the U.S., the subcompact sedan was eyed warily. Could a subcompact sedan be profitable? Would it be perceived as luxury? Could it dilute the brand?

Ultimately, money won out. Audi and Mercedes-Benz took the first leaps, followed by BMW.

Reinforcing the brand’s status are the high-performance divisions for each of those brands — Audi RS, BMW M, or Mercedes-Benz AMG. Every entry-lux version of those subcompacts carries the halo of high performance, or, at least, the perception of it.

Audi’s A3/S3 subcompacts typically sell around 8,000 to 15,000 in a non-covid-impacted year. Add up base prices of about $40,000, and that’s not a bad return for the segment. And then factor the RS 3 sales of $60,000 to $75,000 each.

The Audi A3 40 represents the obsessive detail of Audi engineering and performance. The casual styling of the A3 40 belies the technologies beneath the exterior sheet metal. It is not overt performance but skilled refinement.

Don’t muscle the A3. Let the layers of its engineering envelop you to make a better driver.

A rear view of the small sedan on a back country black top highway

2023 A3 starting prices range from $36,000 for the front drive Premium trim to $43,145 for the Prestige Plus quattro.

 2023 Audi A3 40 Specifications

Body style: subcompact, 5-seat, 4-door all-wheel-drive sedan

Engine: Mild hybrid 201-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with auto stop-start; 221 lb.-ft. torque at 4,000 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic

Fuel economy: 28/38/32 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane

0-60 mph acceleration: 6.3 seconds (Audi)

Top speed: 130 mph


Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons

Trunk space: 10.9 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 36.8/41.2 inches

Rear head/leg room: 36.6/35.2 inches

Length/wheelbase: 176.9/ 103.5inches

Curb weight: 3,494 pounds

Turning circle: 36.4 feet


Premium Plus standard equipment includes: Audi advanced key with push-button ignition, leather-trimmed upholstery, panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise assist with lane guidance, driver’s seat memory presets, wireless phone charging pad, 8-way power front seats, power folding and heated side mirrors, full HED headlights, garage-door opener, driver’s seat memory, leatherette-covered door armrests, wireless phone charging pad, 40/20/40 folding seatback;

Premium Plus Safety features include: 7 air bags, Audi side assist with rear cross traffic assist, adaptive cruise assist, alarm system with motion sensor, active lane assist with emergency assist, parking system with park assist,


Base price: $43,145, including $1,095 freight charge; price as tested $43,145

Options on test vehicle: Atoll Blue metallic paint $595; Black Optic package $1,550

Where assembled: Ingolstadt, Germany

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper with powertrain and roadside assistance (unlimited miles)

Read more

Audi e-tron Sportback quattro Review

Hallmarks of the 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback design are its vault-like cabin quiet and the svelte action of the adaptive air suspension

An exterior view of an e-tron sportback at a charging terminal. blue e-tron

The 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback has an EPA-estimated battery-electric driving range of 222 miles. (Photos courtesy of Audi USA)

Table of Contents

Pricing and Incentives
6 Cool Things
Powertrain and Charging
Ride and Handling
Interior Function
Back Seat and Cargo Space
2023 e-tron updates
Why Buy the Audi e-tron Sportback?


In just three years, Audi has grown its all-wheel-drive e-tron battery-electric family to three distinct vehicles in five body styles in three class segments. And more Audi EVs are on the way.

The midsize e-tron SUV debuted in 2019 and is followed by the e-tron Sportback “coupe SUV.” And then, Audi added higher-performance S models to each of those body styles. Last year brought the compact-class Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. The lightning rods of the family are the e-tron G.T. and R.S. e-tron G.T. supersedans. They share an architecture with the Porsche Taycan.

Today’s tester is a 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback quattro with the top-line Prestige package. It has an EPA-estimated battery-electric driving range of 222 miles. However, that range becomes closer to 195 miles with the recommended charging to 88 percent to help preserve battery life. Charging to 100 percent is recommended for distance travel.

In either body style, the founding-father e-tron seems to have been tailored for the existing Audi owner. Much of the luxurious elements of the interior and the driving action are very Audi-like. But most of the new and competing electric SUVs strive for an out-there presence to make an EV statement, which often presents longer learning curves of the features. That’s not so with the Audi-familiar cockpits in the e-trons.

Hallmarks of the Audi e-tron Sportback design are its vault-like cabin quiet on the highway and the svelte action of the adaptive air suspension.

the e-tron Sportback front seats in gray leather

Eight-way power front seats are heated, ventilated and massaging.

Audi e-tron Pricing and Incentives

The 2022 Audi e-tron quattro SUV starts at $67,095, which is $3,200 less than the 2022 e-tron Sportback. As with other models in the lineup, the 2022 e-tron Sportback is sold in three trim levels of Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The Prestige tester came to $92,140 with options and the $1,195 freight charge. The e-trons are built in a new battery-electric factory in Brussels, Belgium.

See the full list of the tester’s standard and Prestige equipment in the specs box at the end of the review.

Of the eight paint colors, only black is a no-cost choice; the others are $595 each. And there is a range of bespoke colors for $3,200 each.

The Black Optic package on the tester, $2,500, added 21-inch five-spoke turbine-design wheels with 265/45 Continental CrossContact all-season tires. The exterior kit included a black singleframe grille, window surrounds, and front and rear bumpers.

Here are starting prices for the rest of the Audi e-tron lineup, including the freight charge:

e-tron S, $85,995;

e-tron S Sportback, $88,595;

Q4 e-tron, $51,095;

Q4 Sportback e-tron, $53,895;

e-tron GT, $103,895, including a $1,495 freight charge.

The e-tron driver area

The e-tron cabin is highly digital but not alienating to the uninitiated.

Incentives and Rebates

In California and some other states, the 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback qualifies for up to $10,250 in federal and state rebates or incentives.

Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit: $7,500. Find IRS tax forms here.

California Clean Fuel Reward: $750. Available toward the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle with a battery capacity greater than 5kWh. The customer must register the vehicle in California and reside in California.

California Clean Vehicle Rebate: $2,000.  Participants are eligible based on gross annual income, as stated on their federal tax return.

Find federal and state laws or incentives here.

And the e-tron models qualify for High-Occupancy-Vehicle freeway access, $22, with the green DMV decal.

A closeup view of the Valcona leather upholstery

Valcona full leather in the Prestige has a delicious scent.

 6 Cool Things About e-tron

Dual charging ports. Premium-plus and Prestige models add a second charging port on the right front fender. (The standard placement is on the right front fender.) And what a smart idea it is to be able to nose into a public charging stall (or the home garage) and not have to wrestle the charging cable to reach.

Onboard power generator, known as Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality. The e-tron is equipped with a charger cable that can be used as a power source at home or on the road. It has two possible plug options to allow for either 110- or 220-volt power outlets. The system does not allow for vehicle-to-grid inverse power.

Digital Matrix LED headlights. With 1.3 million micromirrors per headlight, the DML array creates a “light carpet” 164 feet wide (50 meters). The array keeps light within the driver’s lane and extends the carpet left or right when changing lanes. The electrostatically controlled micromirrors can adjust light-beam pixels up to 5,000 times per second.

Integrated Toll Module. Commuters can put that clunky toll transponder in the glove box. Audi’s ITM tech is a built-in transponder to collect toll fees. With a subscription, the ITM system allows drivers to use touchless transactions along compatible toll roads in the U.S.

Route planner. The e-tron system calculates the fastest route, considers traffic and road data, includes the driver’s driving style, calculates the duration of the charging stops, and incorporates them in planning the total travel time. Drivers receive information about the charging capacity or charging connections and plug types for the relevant charging stations. The system also identifies whether charging stations are vacant or occupied.

1,000kW hours of free charging. Audi’s partnership with Electrify America provides new buyers with about 2,000 miles of range.

Digital Matrix headlights

Digital Matrix headlights, a $3,000 upgrade.

e-tron Powertrain and Charging

The e-tron Sportback shares the e-tron driveline of front and rear asynchronous motors, single-speed reduction gear transmission (one per axle), and a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The net energy of the battery pack is 86.5 kWh, or about 88 percent of its capacity.

Under the hood at the front motor is a large storage box to carry the Level 2 charging cable.

The EPA-estimated driving range of 222 miles seems reserved when some luxury battery electrics boast a range of 300 to 600 miles. Audi says the e-tron battery is engineered to preserve performance and peak charging power during the charge cycle. It is also of interest that the Audi-developed battery modules can be replaced if needed, rather than replacing the entire battery pack.

The e-tron charge door connected to a charging handle.

The e-tron Prestige and Premium Plus trim levels add a second charging port on the right front fender.

e-tron Charging Times (estimated)

150kW (400V) rapid DC: Under ideal conditions, charging from 5 to 80 percent of the battery’s capacity takes about 30 minutes. Or 10 minutes for 54 miles;

250kW (800V) rapid DC: 18 minutes to 100 percent charge;

Level 2 240-volt: about 10 hours;

Onboard charger: 9.6kw; can be used with a home Level 2 (240 volt) charger or a 120-volt household outlet.

The e-tron front motor area and storage box

Under the hood at the front motor is a large storage box to carry the cables for Level 2 charging and onboard power generation.

e-tron Sportback Performance

As a five-seat midsize SUV, the e-tron Sportback has a hefty curb weight of 5,800 pounds or nearly 3 tons with a driver. The battery alone weighs 1,540 pounds.

Base horsepower of 355 hp has an adequate response for most daily driving. Acceleration of the e-tron Sportback is not quick off the line, but power will build rapidly with a harder press of the accelerator.

For more thrilling displays or passing power, a boost mode raises peak horsepower to 402 and max torque of 490 foot-pounds. When driving in Dynamic Sport mode, boost mode gives about an 8-second jolt of power for 8 seconds. Audi cites 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 5.5 seconds with boost and a top speed of 124 mph.

The high turbine whine of the motors makes an enjoyable statement.

The force of braking regeneration can be adjusted, but there is no actual one-pedal driving by using the accelerator. The so-called e-pedal function integrates regenerative braking and electric motors. By lifting the gas pedal, the driver can slow the car to a stop without using the brake pedal. It can even hold the vehicle on an incline. Some carmakers say one-pedal driving takes away driver focus. But I become more focused while using it as an efficiency device.

A robust and wide shifter console neatly packages the essentials.

A robust and wide shifter console neatly packages the essentials.

e-tron Sportback Ride and Handling

Audi’s engineering is masterful for the five-link suspension with adaptive air suspension. The front and rear system is self-leveling with automatic control logic for vehicle speed and driving style.

There are five driver-selectable ride height levels after the standard ride height. (A 26mm lift equals 1.02 inches):

Offroad, adds 35mm from standard;

Lift, plus 50mm;

Allroad, plus 17mm;

Dynamic, plus 13mm;

Efficiency, plus 26mm.


Some heavier midsize SUVs with an air suspension struggle to balance the weight. The ride can feel busy as the four-wheel sensors constantly adjust to road conditions. But not this Audi. The e-tron ride quality is organically lush with instantaneous adjustments. Head toss is so well controlled that the ride wouldn’t slosh a fishbowl.

In most driving situations, the Audi e-tron Sportback is rear-wheel drive (rear motor). When needed, the quattro system engages the front motor.

With a max towing weight of 4,000 pounds, the e-tron Sportback models have braking to handle the load. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes have 14.8-inch front rotors and 13.8-inch rear rotors.

The Sportback’s long wheelbase (115 inches), wide stance (76.2 inches), and 21-inch tires help stretch the turning circle to a broad 40 feet. But the 360-degree camera with a top view is the great equalizer in cramped parking.

The 21-inch tires and orange brake caliper

The Black Optic package adds 21-inch five-spoke turbine-design wheels (and 22-inchers for 2023) with 265/45 Continental CrossContact all-season tires.

e-tron Interior Function

The e-tron cabin is very Audi-like and not like an alt subbrand electrified cousin. Assembly of materials and panels is precise and of high quality. And, oh, that heady scent of the Valcona leather in the Prestige package. Dual-pane acoustic glass amplifies the quiet but also adds curb weight.

As a midsize car, there is ample shoulder room and a broad instrument panel to place controls and switches ergonomically. It is a highly digital cabin space but not alienating to the uninitiated.

Sightlines over the hood and at the side mirrors are uncompromised.

A wide shifter console neatly packages the essentials. The center bin packages the side-mount wireless charging pad, a pair of cup holders, two USBs, and a 12-volt plug. A sliding rolltop cover allows secure space to drop a modest purse or to-go food.

The gearshift bar falls comfortably to the right hand for simple push engagements. The start button and an audio-volume control knob are just ahead of the shifter.

Moving up the center stack are a pair of digital screens. The lower 8.8-inch-wide screen for climate controls has large color graphics and text that are easy to aim for when driving.

The upper 10.1-inch-wide screen for Audi’s Multi Media Interface is low enough to avoid glare and at the correct angle for eyes-on-the-road selection. The MMI groups controls for radio and media, phone, navigation, phone apps, and preferred vehicle settings.

Cabin heating is by a heat pump to help preserve battery range, rather than traditional radiant heating; a heat pump is optional on many less-expensive E.V.s.

The e-tron’s 12.3-inch-wide Virtual Cockpit digital gauge array

Audi’s 12.3-inch-wide Virtual Cockpit digital gauge array

Headroom and Sightlines

Front headroom of 38 inches with the standard power sunroof and legroom of 40.8 inches might not be a roomy fit for the very tall driver. Seat comfort and fit are exceptional. The eight-way power front seats are heated, ventilated, and massaging with adjustable lumbar support.

The Sportback’s narrow back glass and sloped rear deck might appear as sightline problems, but it was no issue while driving. The 3D 360-degree camera system empowers visibility in tight parking situations with a top view. Front and rear parking sensors are standard.

An interior front door panel

Assembly of materials and panels are Audi precise and high quality.

Back Seat and Cargo Space

Passengers in the second row will appreciate an inch more headroom than those in front, and legroom is adult-class at 39.1 inches. The flat floor eases three-across seating, but feet will straddle the base of the front console. There is no seatback recline, but the angle is relaxed.

A small electronic screen in the console allows full vent directional controls (feet, head, or body) with fan speed and seat heaters. And two more USBs. Dual B-pillar vents give refreshing airflow to those prone to motion upset.

Other back-seat details include a broad fold-down armrest with covered but slim storage and a pair of can holders. And there is large-bottle storage in the doors.

Cargo capacity has significant cubic footage — 28.5 behind the back seat and 56.4 cu. ft. with 40/20/40 seatback folded. However, the slant of the liftgate crops space for big-box items but fold the seatback for 6-feet-plus in length.

The two-piece, hard package shelf is cleverly designed. One removable portion is positioned at the seatback and the second is affixed to the liftgate. Together, the pieces form a solid block of what might be in the bay.

Cargo area extras include dual side lights, usable underfloor storage, and a 12-volt plug.

The back seat has adult-class legroom of 39.1 inches.

The back seat has adult-class legroom of 39.1 inches.

e-tron Updates for 2023

There are no significant changes from 2022, but there are several new trim enhancements, and most are for the 2023 e-tron Sportback Prestige.

  • The optional black headliner has now been made standard for the 2023 e-tron Sportback.
  • Now standard are 22-inch five-spoke-turbine design bi-color wheels, orange front and rear brake calipers, rear side air bags with illuminated safety belt buckles, and Digital Matrix-design headlights.
  • The Black optic exterior package is now standard for Prestige.
  • e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback are updated with carbon inlays, and the LED interior lighting-plus package is standard.
  • Also, for the 2023 model year, the potential federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is still expected to be available for both models.
The e-tron cargo area

Cargo space is wide at 42 inches. Fold the seatback for 6-feet-plus in length.

Why Buy the Audi e-tron Sportback?

Audi engineering instills a sense of maturity and substance in the e-tron Sportback. The car is rich in luxurious details, which are reflected in the tester’s $90K price.

No carmaker makes a “sportback” design more compelling than Audi. The coupelike stance seems more sport sedan than family SUV, but I prefer the sturdy stance of the e-tron SUV and its more functional cargo space.

The 222-mile driving range will be a nonissue for owners who, in this pricing demographic, will have a Level 2 charger at home.

But the availability of Audi e-trons will be limited. As Audi posts on its consumer site: “Due to ongoing parts shortage issues impacting global production, the availability of some equipment, options or features may be limited.”

And be sure to verify the vehicle you purchase includes all expected features and equipment.

A rear view of the 2022 e-tron sportback

Audi’s partnership with Electrify America provides new buyers with 1,000kW hours of free charging, which is about 2,000 miles of range.

Audi e-tron Sportback Specifications

Body style: midsize, 5-seat, 5-door coupe SUV with standard quattro all-wheel drive

Motors: Front and rear asynchronous

Horsepower: 355 hp, or a max of 402 with boost; maximum torque 414/490 lb.-ft., w/boost

Battery: 95 kWh lithium-ion; net energy of 86.5 kWh; 36 cell modules with 12 60-amp pouch cells

Transmission: Single-speed reduction gear (one per axle)

EPA-estimated driving range: 222 miles

Fuel economy equivalent: 76/78/77 mpg-e city/highway/combined

Top speed: 124 mph

0-60 mph acceleration: 5.5 seconds, with boost

Towing capacity: 4,000 pounds w/braked trailer


Rapid DC 150kW (400V): charging from 5 to 80 percent takes about 30 minutes. Or 10 minutes for 54 miles.

Rapid DC 250kW (800V): 18 minutes to 100 percent charge

Level 2 240-volt: about 10 hours

Onboard charger: 9.6kw; with home Level 2 (240 volts) or household 120-volt capability


Cargo space: 28.5/56.4 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 38/40.8 inches

Rear head/leg room: 39/39.1 inches

Length/wheelbase: 193/115.3 inches

Curb weight: 5,787 pounds

Turning circle: 40 feet


Standard equipment includes: Smartkey locking and push-button start, leather-trimmed upholstery, power sunroof with electric sunshade, Audi virtual cockpit-plus (12.3-inch LCD fully digital instrument cluster with visual modes of Classic, Sport, and e-tron, navigation-plus with natural voice control system, MMI infotainment touch response, 4-zone automatic climate control with heat pump and preconditioning, heated 8-way power front seats with 4-way power lumbar adjustment, illuminated aluminum front and rear door-sill inlays, power tilt and telescoping steering column with memory, LED headlights with high-beam assist, LED turn signals, manual rear side window sunshades, power-folding and heated side mirrors, S line full paint finish with aluminum window surrounds, illuminated aluminum S line door sills front and rear, side windows and tailgate privacy glass, white LED interior lighting, cabin comfort pre-conditioning, in-vehicle trip planner

Prestige package ($13,200) features include: Valcona full leather package (upper part of the dashboard, door armrest and lower center console in artificial leather to match the color of the interior trim); 18-way heated and ventilated individual contour comfort front seats with power lumbar adjustment, massaging and seat memory; top view camera system with Virtual 360 view; air quality ionizer and aromatization (summer and winter); matrix-design headlights with high-beam assist; full LED taillights with dynamic indicators with sequential illumination; multi-color LED interior ambient and contour lighting; power soft-door closers; heated rear seats; 705-watt 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with 15-channel amplifier; head-up display with navigation and assistance systems information

Safety features include: 8 air bags, forward collision warning and avoidance assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, parking system-plus with front and rear acoustic sensors; optional rear side thorax air bags with illuminated seat-belt buckles


Base e-tron Sportback: $70,295, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $92,140

Options on test vehicle: Navarra Blue metallic paint $595; Prestige package $13,200; Digital Matrix headlights $3,000; Black Optic package $2,500; trailer hitch and 7-pin connector; rear side air bags $400

Where assembled: Brussels, Belgium

Warranties: 8-year/100,000-mile high-voltage battery (10-years/150,000-miles in California); 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance.

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