We review the expected science performance of the New Gravitational-Wave Observatory (NGO, a.k.a. eLISA), a mission under study by the European Space Agency for launch in the early 2020s. eLISA will survey the low-frequency gravitational-wave sky (from 0.1mHz to 1Hz), detecting and characterizing a broad variety of systems and events throughout the Universe, including the coalescences of massive black holes brought together by galaxy mergers; the inspirals of stellar-mass black holes and compact stars into central galactic black holes; several millions of ultra-compact binaries, both detached and mass transferring, in the Galaxy; and possibly unforeseen sources such as the relic gravitational-wave radiation from the early Universe. eLISAs high signal-to-noise measurements will provide new insight into the structure and history of the Universe, and they will test general relativity in its strong-field dynamical regime. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.