15 Oct 2020
Anyone who thinks e-mobility means bidding farewell to the fun and thrills of performance driving is in for an all-electric shock. The latest additions to Audi’s electrically powered lineup, the Audi e-tron S and the Audi e-tron S Sportback, deliver a high-voltage blast of sportiness and dynamic handling that does Audi’s coveted S badge proud.
At the heart of the new all-electric S models are not two electric motors (as in the Audi e-tron), but three battery-powered powerplants, two set on the rear axle and one on the front. The e-tron S and the e-tron S Sportback are the world’s first mass-produced electric cars to pack a triple-motor combo, a unique setup that attains a combined output of 429 hp and 596 lb-ft of torque in typical conditions, peaking at 496 hp and 718 lb-ft of torque during eight-second spells in tingle-down-the-spine boost mode. Straight-line acceleration take these S models from 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, with a potential top speed of 210 km/h.
Seductive power is matched with cutting-edge control. Both models get enhanced, next-gen quattro technology in the form of new electric torque vectoring. In normal mode, the battery will only send its power to the rear axle. Select S mode and power also goes to the front axle, with the two rear independent motors distributing just the right amount of torque to the wheels via a lightning-fast and highly responsive network. Suspension settings feature new stabilisers and tighter dampers, with sporty adaptive air suspension that can vary the ride height anywhere between 76 mm, depending on the driving situation and settings. Meanwhile, the front brakes sport large 400-mm discs and six-piston calipers, slowing the S models with total assurance.
Thrilling performance doesn’t mean drivers lose out on everyday practicality, either. The S models have a high-voltage battery with 95 kWh capacity, taking the cars up to 364 km (e-tron S) and 370 km (e-tron S Sportback), according to the WLTP test cycle*. That’s the best part of a whole week’s driving in Singapore on average. A sophisticated regenerative braking system contributes to the car’s overall efficiency.
Aerodynamics have a major part to play in the S models too. Their muscular bodies are 50mm wider than the Audi e-tron with chunky 20-inch wheels as standard, so the S models have been given specially reshaped wheel arches to improve air flow. Huge front air intakes add to the bold aesthetics, with controllable ducts only opening when air is needed to cool the front brakes, helping to reduce unnecessary turbulence. The styling succeeds at being both aggressive yet functional, giving the e-tron S Sportback a drag coefficient of just 0.26, and 0.28 for the Audi e-tron S.
Look closely at how all the innovations stack up and you realise that these S models aren’t just bringing a sportier dimension to the e-tron range, they’re setting the pace for the entire future Audi lineup. Visionary drives, you could say.
Watch for more coming soon: Audi plans to introduce over 30 electrified models across all segments during the next five years.
[disclaimer] *Note that the Audi e-tron S and the Audi e-tron S Sportback are not yet homologated for sale in Singapore.