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Audi E-Tron S: Tri-motor SUV here next year

Audi's E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback will soon be available in an S variant with three electric motors. They'll be here in Australia during the second half of 2021.

3 months ago
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Chris Atkinson joins CarExpert
Chris Atkinson joins CarExpert
William Stopford
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Audi’s S badge has now been applied to its first electric vehicles.

The tri-motor E-Tron S and E-Tron S Sportback will become the performance flagships of their respective lines, with an Australian launch set for the second half of 2021.

That follows a similar delay for the regular E-Tron – deliveries began just last month, around 12 months after they did in Europe.

The new S models both use three electric motors, two of which are located on the rear axle.

In full boost mode, the S produces its full outputs of 370kW of power and 973Nm of torque for eight seconds. The 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in just 4.5 seconds, while the top speed is 210km/h.

In its regular drive mode, output is lower at 320kW of power and 808Nm of torque.

Naturally, the S uses electric all-wheel drive. It also uses electric torque vectoring, with fully variable torque distribution on the rear axle.

The front electric motor – based on the rear axle motor used in the E-Tron 55 – is only called into action when the driver needs more traction or performance.

The E-Tron S has an electric range of 360km under the stricter WLTP measures while the S Sportback ekes out an extra 5km of range, likely due to its slipperier shape – it has a drag coefficient of 0.26, while the wagon measures 0.28.

The front brakes – which use fixed calipers with six pistons – have controllable cooling ducts that remain closed as much as possible to aid aerodynamics. The rear brakes use sliding calipers, while the E-Tron S also employs three levels of regenerative braking.

S models come standard with 20-inch wheels, though 21-inch wheels are optional and 22-inch wheels will eventually join the range.

Other options include a head-up display and LED matrix headlights. Compared to the regular E-Tron, the wheel arches are 23mm wider to give the car a more aggressive look while the front and rear feature unique silver accents.

Inside, there are front sport seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara while the cabin is adorned with brushed aluminium trim; carbon fibre is optional.

As on the regular E-Tron, three screens are standard: the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and an 8.6-inch touchscreen binnacle beneath that.

The infotainment system runs Audi’s latest MIB 3 system. A route planner calculates the fastest route, taking into account traffic and charging points.

When they arrive, the E-Tron S and E-Tron S Sportback won’t have much direct competition. There are no explicitly sporty versions of the Mercedes-Benz EQC or Jaguar I-Pace, while BMW’s iX3 has yet to arrive.

The E-Tron currently ranges from $137,700 to $159,600 excluding on-road costs, while the E-Tron Sportback ranges from $148,700 to $169,650 before on-road costs.

That means S pricing could put it up against the powerful Tesla Model X Performance, which boasts a blistering 2.8 second 0-100km/h time in Ludicrous Mode.


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