Audi unveil their new e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback

Available to order in the UK from summer 2020, priced from £87,000 OTR (e-tron S) and £88,700 OTR (e-tron S Sportback).

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Audi has unveiled its new e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback, the first volume production BEVs to use the collective might of three electric motors to climb to a towering 973Nm torque peak. They also integrate intelligent drive control that elevates handling security and agility to a new level in the two all-wheel-driven variants.The epic performance of the new S models more than lives up to the badge, particularly in S gear when 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. They're kitted out 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

To improve efficiency, only the rear electric motors are engaged as long as the S models are operating in normal driving mode. The front electric motor comes 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. 

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.