Hot Audi e-tron S breaks cover with 489bhp

Range-topping variant of the all-electric e-tron SUV hits 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds

  • Audi’s first electric ‘S’ variant
  • Uses three electric motors
  • Model-specific styling additions

The Audi e-tron S is the latest car to get the company’s ‘S’ treatment. It’s the first production electric car to feature three electric motors and pumps out almost 500bhp. Available in e-tron and e-tron Sportback forms, you’ll be able to order the new models soon. Prices start from £87,000 and £88,700 for the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback models respectively.

When it arrives in showrooms, the e-tron S will slot into the firm's performance SUV range between the facelifted SQ5 and the current SQ7. It provides a more powerful alternative to the Jaguar I-Pace, and almost exactly matches the Tesla Model X Long Range for acceleration.

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Audi e-tron S performance

The standard e-tron and e-tron Sportback aren’t lacking in power, with over 400bhp on tap and an electric motor on each axle, but the S versions come with 489bhp thanks to a second motor positioned on the rear axle. The 0-62mph time is 4.5 seconds and the top speed is 130mph. Besides the Audi S8 saloon, the hotter e-tron is the fastest S model Audi makes.

Only the rear motors are used in normal driving but the front motor is engaged for hard acceleration and if the wheels start to lose traction. The two rear motors can send varying amounts of power to each wheel as needed, and Audi says the ‘S’ versions are more rear-biased than regular models.

S-specific adaptive suspension is fitted, which can adjust the ride height by up to 76mm to best suit the seven driving modes you can choose from.

Range and charging

The extra performance only slightly affects range; the e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback manage 223 and 226 miles respectively on a full charge, whereas the ‘55 quattro’ e-tron versions offer up to 256 miles. Like the standard e-trons, you can charge the ‘S’ variants at 150kW fast chargers, which should replenish the battery to 80% in around half an hour.

Every e-tron S ordered before the end of the year gets a 7kW home wallbox included in the price and a year’s access to the e-tron charging service that allows you to use chargers from 18 different chargepoint providers via one account.

Styling

Thanks to wheel arch extensions, the e-tron S pair are 5cm wider than standard, while S styling touches like aluminium mirror caps and extra trim are fitted. The front end features automatically opening grilles and vents, which remain closed until they’re needed to improve efficiency. UK models are fitted with 21-inch alloy wheels as standard; 22s are available as an optional extra.

Interior

Buyers get electrically adjustable sports seats upholstered in upmarket Nappa leather and a brushed aluminium trim finisher - although a carbon-fibre version is offered on the options list. As per the entry-level e-tron, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital display is standard alongside online navigation, while a head-up display and cameras instead of wing mirrors can be specified.

For full details of the current Audi e-tron SUV, why not check out our in-depth review.

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