Shanghai LIVE: Audi E-Tron Sportback concept

The electric concept features a crossover-coupe profile similar to the downmarket Volkswagen ID Crozz.

Audi has pulled the veil from its E-Tron Sportback concept, a sleek high-riding EV that will soon evolve into a production model.

The Sportback EV features a crossover-coupe profile, similar to the downmarket Volkswagen ID Crozz concept that also makes its global debut in Shanghai. Not coincidentally, VW Group expects China to be the dominant driving force in its electric vehicle strategy.

Audi's first volume-focused EV will be a more traditional crossover, scheduled to enter production in 2018. The coupe-like Sportback will follow closely on its heels in 2019.

The Sportback is clad in plenty of LEDs that are visible both day and night. Digitally controlled Matrix LED modules can be found on the front and rear, with narrow light strips serving as daytime running lights on both sides below the hood. Small projectors and micromirror-studded surfaces enable additional LED panels to create animated signals.

Power is sent to all four wheels via a single electric motor on the front axle and dual electric motors on the rear. With nearly 500 horsepower available in short bursts, the Sportback is expected to hit 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds. A 95-kWh battery pack should provide around 311 miles of range (NEDC estimate).

"We have made a conscious decision to give the Audi e-tron Sportback its first showing here in Shanghai, because China is the world's leading market for electric automobiles," says Audi marketing head Dietmar Voggenreiter. "In the next five years we will be offering five e-tron models in China, including purely battery-powered vehicles with ranges well in excess of 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) such as the Audi e-tron Sportback."

The production car will presumably be toned down before rolling off the assembly line.

Live photos by Ronan Glon.

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