The Audi e-tron S is a whole lot of fun

An SUV that’s quicker and more aggressive than normal
by Stephen Dobie | Jul 3, 2020
PHOTO: Audi
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This is the all-electric, all-wheel-drive Audi e-tron S, and it’ll throw shapes like few Audis before it. Seriously. We drove a prototype in February (remember ‘February’?) and found it to be about as playful as fast four-ring-badged cars get. Now, after a small delay, we’ve caught glimpse of the production version.

So while at first glance, it’s an e-tron that’s a wee bit quicker and more aggressive-looking than normal, it’s so much more, too: the dawning of a new era of S-badged cars that use an abundance of electric motors to offer much broader handling characteristics than their gasoline- and diesel-powered predecessors.

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Audi’s engineers have seen the potential for fun nestled among electric motors at each axle (and in time, each wheel) and fully rinsed it. The standard e-tron uses two electric motors, one at either end of the car, for totals of 402hp and 664Nm. The e-tron S adds an extra motor to the rear axle for peak outputs of 496hp and 971Nm, with the ability for 90% of its propulsion to come from the rear axle.

So in Comfort mode, the S provides the unflappable AWD experience Audi has peddled since the Quattro launched in 1980: cheeky little hints of power being deployed at the rear, but only ever for an utmost professional cornering attitude. This is the car for when a snowpocalypse suddenly strikes and you’re still intent on getting home.

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Dynamic mode, however, is for the empty supermarket car park when you’ve got back in one piece. This car is not a hooligan on the surface, but loosen the stability control and it’ll allow some quite outrageous angles of oversteer with only mild provocation. Pointless? Yes. Fun? Also yes.

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If you want bald stats, then 0-100kph takes 4.5sec and top speed is 209kph. Prices start at £88,000 (P5.47 million)—up around £15,000 (P932,160) on a regular e-tron—and you’ll need another £1,700 (P105,645) if you want it in Sportback ‘coupe’ form. Normally, we’re skeptical of such things, but at least the swoopier shape lends the e-tron better aero and thus a longer range between charges, at 364km versus its base car’s 359km. Yeah, you might have to drive quite far to negate the price premium with electricity bill savings...

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Audi
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