The E-Tron S will come with a three-motor setup and will make almost 500 horses and 700 pound-feet of torque combined!

The Audi e-tron has been on the market since last year, and it’s received positive feedback overall. This was the German automaker’s first mainstream volume EV and the company managed to cover all the bases quite well, except for the range. Earlier this month, the Audi unveiled the ‘S’ version of the e-tron that comes with more power. The ‘S’ badge is slapped on the SUV as well as the Sportback body type. It comes with better performance specs, an extra motor, and a few dimensional tweaks.

How Does It Look On The Outside?

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Exterior
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In terms of aesthetics, there aren’t a whole lot of changes.

The e-tron S is two inches wider than the standard e-tron, which made it possible to install wider tires for better handling and road grip.

It comes standard with 21-inch wheels, but 22-inch shoes are also available. Six-piston brakes that are painted in black come as standard and feature the ‘S’ logo. However, you can have them in a bright orange shade as well.

The bumpers are also a little more pronounced and sporty. The rear diffuser extends almost the whole width, which results in almost an inch-wide rear wheel arches. To differentiate it from the standard e-trons, Audi has pasted ‘S’ badges on the body. The e-tron S can also be had with the Matrix LED headlights.

The E-Tron S Is Aerodynamically Superior

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Exterior
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Audi has further enhanced the e-tron S’ aerodynamics.

It comes with controllable cooling-air inlet vents to cool the front wheel brakes. The vents remain closed as much as possible so that the airstream flows over the hood most of the time. Tweaks are made to the wheel arch extensions as well. The optional cameras in place of the traditional wing mirrors further help the cause. Thanks to all these things, the e-tron S achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28, whereas the e-tron S Sportback achieves a drag coefficient of 0.26.

Audi has also installed a heat pump in the e-tron. A heat pump transfers heat energy from a source of heat into a thermal reservoir. So, basically, all the heat generated by the drive components is used instead of being let out as wasted energy. A heat pump can also produce 3kW of thermal energy for every 1kW of electric energy, thus resulting in an efficiency of 300-percent. In the e-tron, the heat pump helps increase the range by 10-percent.

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Drivetrain
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Speaking of the range, the e-tron S is equipped with a 95-kWh battery, of which 86 kWh is usable. As per the WLTP ratings, the e-tron S SUV has a range of 223 miles whereas the e-tron S Sportback delivers three miles more than the SUV. The regenerative braking can be set in three different levels and the most aggressive of them all lets you experience the one-pedal driving.

What Different On The Inside?

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Interior
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On the inside, the e-tron S is finished in various dark themes. The electrically-adjustable sport seats that are offered come wrapped in Nappa leather with the ‘S’ logo embossed on them. The cabin has brushed aluminum inlays all around, but you can also have them in carbon fiber. Audi is also offering an ambient lighting package as an option.

Coming to the infotainment system, the e-tron S comes equipped with two large MMI touchscreen systems tilted towards the driver. The instrument cluster is a large display that features Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’. A head-up display is available as an option as well. All-in-all, the cabin is a pleasant space to be in. It doesn’t feel too tech-heavy and seems in line with the other vehicles on sale today.

What Powers The E-Tron S?

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Drivetrain
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Unlike the dual-motor setup of the standard e-tron, the e-tron S comes with three electric motors – one up front and two on the rear axle – that produce 496 horses and 718 pound-feet of torque combined.

These motors are the same as the ones found on the standard e-tron, but are tweaked a little. Thanks to this setup, the e-tron S has a rear-wheel-drive bias and the torque can be precisely varied between the rear wheels. Audi also said that the front motor will come into play when the vehicle detects a need for power in the front wheels or when losing traction. This will also help with range efficiency.

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Exterior
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All the 496 horses and 718 pound-feet of torque are available only when the e-tron S is slotted into the S gear. Also, this is available as boost shots that last only for eight seconds. Feels like engaging the NOS in NFS! Audi said that the standard sprint to 60 mph from a standstill takes 4.5 seconds and top speed is rated at 130 mph. The e-tron S also features an adaptive air suspension that receives an “S-specific” tuning. It has a three-inch travel range.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Exterior
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Audi has announced that the e-tron S SUV and the e-tron S Sportback will be priced at £87,000 ($110,750) and £88,700 ($113,000) respectively in the U.K. The company hasn’t announced when it will be bringing the e-tron S to the States.

Final Thoughts

The Audi E-Tron S Is Still Heavy, But It Makes Up For That Weight with Ample Amounts of Power and Torque Exterior
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The Audi e-tron S brings a lot to the table in terms of performance. The power figures are impressive and should keep even the enthusiasts happy. The extra motor helps add stuff like torque vectoring and will increase the overall capabilities of the vehicle on the road. Even the ride quality will be a lot better than the standard e-tron.

We’ll have to wait and watch as to when Audi plans to bring this to the States. The U.K. pricing seems a little on the higher end and it doesn’t make the e-tron S exactly bang for the buck. Audi also announced that customers who book the e-tron S before the end of this year will receive a free 12-month subscription to the e-tron Charging Service. Even a seven kW wall box charger for home installation will be given as complimentary.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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Performance that justifies the hallowed ‘S’ badge is no problem for new Audi electric SUVs that are the first volume production cars to use three electric motors

e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback available for UK order from summer 2020 priced from £87,000 OTR and £88,700 OTR
A world first in volume production: three electric motors mobilise up to 370 kW of power and 973 Nm of torque
New quattro generation with electric torque vectoring
Outstanding aerodynamics thanks to intelligent technology
Ingolstadt, 1. July 2020 – The ‘S’ prefix that subtly speaks volumes for devotees of high performance Audi TFSI and TDI models is about to move with the times and become an equally evocative suffix in two new flagship versions of the fully electric e-tron. The new e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback earn the right to bear the badge by being the first volume production BEVs to use the collective might of three electric motors to climb to a towering 973Nm torque peak, and by integrating intelligent drive control that elevates handling security and agility to a new level in the two all-wheel-driven variants.

“This is a significant milestone in the evolution of e-tron,” comments Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle. “Audi performance cars have carried the ’S’ badge since the 100-based S4 of the early Nineties, but this is the first time it has crossed the divide into our growing family of electrified models. We have started as we mean to go on, because in setting a new precedent in volume production by using three motors to deliver breathtaking performance and ultra-intelligent all-wheel-drive these e-trons underscore the fact that excitement and efficiency certainly won’t have to be mutually exclusive in the new era of electrification.”

Handling 2.0: the driving experience
The epic performance of the new Audi e‑tron S and e‑tron S Sportback more than befits the badge, particularly in S gear when the full arsenal of 370 kW of power and 973 Nm (717.6 lb‑ft) of torque is available to the driver for eight-second boost periods. The standard sprint takes just 4.5 seconds and Vmax arrives at 130mph.

The new S models are equipped with two electric motors on the rear axle and one upfront, making them the first volume production electric cars in the world with three electric motors.

Their drive layout makes very effective use of the modular construction principle: here, the more powerful electric motor that powers the rear axle in the ’standard’ e‑tron 55 is installed in adapted form on the front axle, while two modified examples of the front electric motor from the e‑tron 55 operate at the rear.

The high-voltage battery has a gross energy capacity of 95 kWh, of which 91 per cent (86 kWh) is usable. On a full charge, the Audi e‑tron S and the Audi e‑tron S Sportback can achieve ranges of up to 223 miles and 226 miles (preliminary values), respectively, based on the WLTP test cycle.

quattro reloaded: electric torque vectoring
In order to improve efficiency, only the rear electric motors are engaged as long as the Audi e‑tron S and the e‑tron S Sportback are operating in normal driving mode. The front electric motor is called into play when the driver demands more performance, or predictively before traction is broken.

Each of the rear electric motors sends its torque directly to the respective wheel via a single-speed transmission; there is no more mechanical differential. Need-based regulation takes just milliseconds and has a very high torque threshold. The excellent traction that this facilitates brings benefits across the spectrum of driving situations, but it is on challenging roads where the electric S models really come into their own.

Their drivetrain has a more pronouncred rear bias than in the standard e-tron models, and if the ESC stabilisation control is set to “sport” and the Audi drive select dynamic handling system to “dynamic” mode to maximise performance, their cornering attitude is even more adjustable, particularly in the transverse plane, and they have the capacity to perform controlled drifts.

When approaching the physical limit, the front wheel on the inside of the bend that is not under load is decelerated slightly via the wheel brake to prevent slip and further refine handling.

The ultra sharp responses, high level of precision and uncompromising safety are made possible through the close networking of all control units that manage the drive and suspension systems.

Networking: the suspension of the electric S models
The large high-voltage battery ensures a balanced distribution of the axle loads and is installed even lower in the car than the three electric motors, bringing the centre of gravity down in the interest of handling balance. The ratio of the progressive steering becomes increasingly direct as the steering movement increases, in keeping with the car’s character, and the S-specific tuning of the adaptive air suspension complements its keen responses. The suspension has S-specific tuning and can vary the level of the body by up to 76 millimetres depending on the driving situation and the setting specified by the driver via the standard Audi drive select system from its menu of seven driving profiles.

In the UK the electric S models are equipped with 21-inch wheels as standard, with a 22-inch wheel available at a later date as an option. They frame appropriately large disc brakes with fixed six-piston calipers upfront that are painted black as standard and feature the S logo, but on request can instead be painted in a bright orange and decorated with the e‑tron insignia.

The braking system is actuated and regulated via a compact module that controls the pressure build-up electronically (by wire), reinforces it electrically, and activates the brakes hydraulically.

An electric spindle drive actuates the displacing piston and brings the brake pads into full-pressure contact with the discs in just 150 milliseconds. Depending on the driving situation, the brake control system decides individually for each axle whether the car will decelerate with the electric motors, the wheel brakes, or a combination of both systems.

Innovative solutions: aerodynamics
Aerodynamic performance in the e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback belies their classification and dimensions, particularly when the optional virtual exterior mirrors (cameras that send their pictures to high-contrast displays in the interior) are installed. Flow-optimised wheel arch extensions also make a considerable contribution to resolving the conflict of objectives between outstanding aerodynamics and pleasing aesthetics - Audi is introducing the technology, which it developed and patented, to large-scale vehicle construction for the first time in the e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback. It allows the e‑tron S to achieve a drag coefficient of 0.28, despite its wider arches, and the e‑tron S Sportback to slice through the air even more cleanly with a coefficient of just 0.26.

A second major element in the aerodynamics concept is the controllable cooling-air inlet with ducts to cool the front wheel brakes. It remains closed as much as possible so that the airstream flows over the bonnet with almost no turbulence. A heat pump is also part of the thermal management strategy in every e-tron. It draws heat energy from the waste heat of the drive components, thereby increasing the range by up to ten percent.

The sophisticated recuperation concept also contributes to the vehicle’s efficiency. Drivers can select between three recuperation levels, the highest of which allows them to experience ‚one-pedal driving‘. When braking, the electric motors alone decelerate up to 0.3 g of braking force, i.e. in most everyday situations. The hydraulic wheel brakes only come into play beyond that level. However, the electric motors remain active and can convert up to 270 kW of peak performance when braking from a speed of 62mph.

Five centimetres more width: the exterior design
The significance of the time-honoured ’S’ badge is conveyed visually in the e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback by front and rear bumpers with pronounced contours and prominent inlets, by a rear diffuser insert spanning virtually the entire width of each body and by wheel arches that are each 23 millimetres wider. Front and rear detailing in silver and trademark aluminium exterior mirror housings also confirm beyond doubt that these SUVs are members of the exclusive Audi S quattro family.

Both cars can be equipped with Digital Matrix LED headlights as an option – another world first in mass production that Audi introduced with the e‑tron Sportback in 2019. Each light is divided into 1.3 million pixels and can be controlled with great precision, opening up many new functionality opportunities. On narrow carriageways, for example, they can project light guides onto the road to show the car’s position in the lane and thus help the driver to remain safely in the centre.

Progressive: interior and equipment
Quiet confidence is exuded by the interior, which is finished in dark colours. Electrically adjustable sport seats finished in Fine Nappa leather and embossed with the ’S’ logo are standard in UK versions, and are combined with decorative inserts in either brushed aluminium or, on request, carbon. In darkness, the atmosphere is enhanced by the contour/ambient lighting package.

As the most recent introductions to the fast-growing e-tron family the two new S models are naturally equipped with the digital MMI touch response control system with its two large central displays, and with the Audi virtual cockpit positioned directly in front of the driver, who can select a special e‑tron screen that focuses exclusively on the car’s electric drive functionality. A head-up display can also be added to project information even more conveniently onto the windscreen in the driver’s field of vision.

The MMI navigation plus control and infotainment system is also included as standard. Behind its many functions is the third generation modular infotainment platform (MIB 3), which completes all tasks at impressively rapid processing speeds.

As usual, MMI navigation plus works in tandem with Audi connect, which provides complementary online services. Among these is the e‑tron route planner, which calculates the fastest route including optimum charging stops, taking into account traffic data, the driver’s driving profile, and the duration of the charging stops, and in some cases may use this information to suggest an alternative route. The directory of charging points is updated online every day, and can be set to prioritise charging stations along the planned route where the driver can pay using the e‑tron Charging Service.

UK fleet and retail customers who place an order for the e-tron S or e-tron S Sportback before December 31st 2020 will receive a free 12-month subscription to the e-tron Charging Service, which makes the facilities operated by 18 charging point providers available to holders of the e-tron Charging Service RFID payment card, and issues them with one simple monthly invoice for all transactions. As part of the subscription £150-worth of electricity will also be credited to their account at no extra cost. In addition, a 7kW wallbox charger for home installation is also complimentary for all customers placing orders before year-end.

Picture caption
A highly charged moment for Audi – The new Audi e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback make their debuts this week before ordering commences in the summer, and as the first fully electric volume production models to use three motors their performance and quattro all-wheel-driven handling are more than a match for their evocative ’S’ badging.

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