Audi’s more potent EVs are headed to the US, with the 2022 e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback finally getting a launch date. Announced back in early 2020, though so far only available in Europe, the S variants of the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback throw in a third electric motor for a big uptick in torque.
Like the regular EVs, there’s electric all-wheel drive. However the e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback have two motors on their rear axle. That allows independent control over the power going to each wheel.
The result is true torque vectoring, rather than the brake-based or differential-based versions that other vehicles offer. In cornering, for example, the e-tron S can push more power to the outer wheel, tightening up the turn. In situations where there’s limited traction on one side, meanwhile, the EV can focus its power to the wheel with the most grip.
As for the front motor, most of the time that remains off, Audi says, resulting in an enthusiast-friendly rear-wheel drive feel. Should traction needs require it, the motor can activate “within milliseconds,” Audi says, and use brake-based torque vectoring to control its power to the front left or right wheel.
“In Dynamic mode, electric quattro can prioritize how power is distributed to the rear wheels, providing the driver the ability to execute controlled drifts,” Audi adds. “Safely. On a closed course. Our legal team requires us to add this part.”
Overall, there’s 429 horsepower and 596 lb-ft of torque. In boost mode, that surges to 496 horsepower and 718 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 mph in that case is trimmed to 4.3 seconds.
It’s not only the drivetrain that distinguishes the S models. They’re nearly two inches wider than their dual-motor counterparts, with bolder front and rear bumpers and more obvious air curtains. The front fenders are 0.9-inches diet than before.
20-inch wheels with 9-inch wide all-season tires are standard; 21- and 22-inch wheels with 10.5-inch wide summer tires are part of the Black Optic package. Other options include Digital Matrix LED headlamps, which are each made up of more than a million individual pixels. Audi currently uses them for welcome and exit lighting graphics, at least in the US; should American regulators decide to give their approval for more advanced features, the e-tron pair will be able to add new functionality with a software update.
For range, there’s an estimated 208 miles for the e-tron S, and 212 miles for the e-tron Sportback S, courtesy of the standard 95 kWh li-ion battery. Dual charging ports – one on each side – make stretching a charger cable easier, and there’s support for up to 150 kW DC fast charging. Find a suitable location, and that could take the Audis from 5- to 80-percent charge in under 30 minutes.
Also standard is adaptive air suspension, beefier six-piston front brake calipers and 15.7-inch discs, and Audi pre sense front active safety. Inside, there’s the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, a dual screen MMI infotainment system – with a 10.1-inch upper and 8.6-inch lower touchscreen – a 360-degree camera, active lane assistance with turn assist, adaptive cruise, and 12-way diamond-stitched Valcona leather sport seats. Heated rear seats are standard, too.
Cabin options include power soft-closing doors, dual-pane acoustic front side glass, a head-up display, and ventilated front seats with massage. A towing package adds support for up to 3,300 pounds of tow capacity.
When they arrive later this year, the 2022 Audi e-tron S will be priced from $84,800 for Premium Plus trim, or from $89,800 for Prestige trim. The 2022 Audi e-tron S Sportback will be priced from $87,400 for Premium Plus trim, and from $92,400 for Prestige trim. That’s before $1,095 destination, and any US federal or state incentives for electric vehicles.