New Audi e-tron S performance SUV arrives with 489bhp

Audi’s e-tron SUV receives sportier looks, more power and tweaked suspension in new S guise

Audi has updated the all-electric e-tron SUV line-up for 2020 with the addition of two high performance models, badged e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S. The pair are due on sale in the UK this summer priced from £87,000 and £88,700 respectively. 

These newcomers to the e-tron line-up feature extensive electric drivetrain revisions introducing more power, alongside new suspension, design changes inside and out, and additional aerodynamic tweaking. 

Powertrain and performance

These S derivatives are also now the only versions of the Audi e-tron available with the model’s larger 95kWh battery - the normal e-tron is now only available with a smaller 70kWh unit and a maximum range of 193 miles on a single charge. 

The new e-tron S features a three-motor setup compared with the standard car’s dual-motors. Two electric motors power the rear axle, with one at the front, for a total combined output of 370kW - equivalent to 489bhp - and torque of 973Nm.

As such, Audi claims the e-tron S is capable of 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, in both standard and Sportback form. Maximum range is 223 miles and 226 miles for the more aerodynamic Sportback version. 

The move to two motors on the rear axle means Audi has been able to remove the mechanical differential previously splitting the rear axle, and torque can be applied to each rear wheel directly by the individual motors. 

Alongside this move, the company claims engineers have attempted to tune the newcomer’s drivetrain to exhibit a rear-driven bias. The manufacturer says that If the ‘sport’ traction control setting is selected and drive mode changed into ‘dynamic’, the e-tron S can even engage in controlled drifts. 

Design and specification 

Elsewhere, the e-tron S models feature specifically adapted air suspension intended to improve handling and steering responsiveness, while the car can lower itself by up to 76mm. Uprated brakes are part of the package and in the UK, the e-tron S rides on 21-inch wheels as standard, with 22-inch optional items coming after launch.

Visually, the e-tron S is separated from the regular e-tron with a new front apron featuring more pronounced contours and prominent air inlets, while around the back, the rear bumper gains a large diffuser system. The wheel arches are wider all round, too, while red S badges are now found front and rear. 

The interior features electrically adjustable sports seats embossed with S logos and upholstered in Nappa leather as standard. Cabin inserts are finished in brushed aluminium as standard but carbon fibre trim is optional, as is an ambient lighting package. Elsewhere the S models keep the interior architecture of the regular e-tron. 

When orders open in the UK, all who join the waiting list in 2020 will be offered a free 12-month subscription to the Audi e-tron charging service, allowing access to 18 different charge station providers using one card and account. £150 of free charging is included in the offer, as is a home wallbox for recharging. 

Click here for our in-depth review on the new Audi e-tron SUV...


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