The all-new Audi e-tron S models will touch in Australia early next year, bringing a whole new dynamic to the electric era.
2 December, 2021
For many years now, the S designation on an Audi model has meant that the vehicle in question is something special. The S could stand in equal parts for sporty, sophisticated or scintillating and now with the pending Australian arrival of the all-new e-tron S models, ‘sustainable’ can be added to the list.
Joining the Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback which were launched in Australia last year, the Audi e-tron ($165,600*) and the e-tron S Sportback ($172,700*) are set to arrive early next year, bringing with them a whole new level of performance to the ranks of all-electric mobility.
“The all-new e-tron S models represent a step change in the perception of electric mobility for the Audi brand,” says Paul Sansom, Managing Director of Audi Australia.
“The e-tron S demonstrates that Audi understands that owners don’t want to choose between the ultimate in sustainable motoring and the ultimate in performance – they want both.”
Certainly the e-tron S models deliver on both fronts big time, the first mass produced all-electric vehicles to feature three motors (one on the front axle and two on the rear axle) they produce 370kW of power and a stonking 973Nm of torque on full boost, to hit 100km/h from standstill in 4.5 seconds flat, on the way to a top speed of 210km/h.
Remember that these are full-sized, luxury SUVs that want for nothing in terms of appointment t and luxury equipment and yet deliver performance nearing supercar territory.
Despite the blinding performance, the high-voltage battery, with its gross energy capacity of 95 kWh (86 kWh net), delivers up to 413km (e-tron S) and 418km (e-tron S Sportback) in range on a single full charge, depending on the driving mode.
Charging is via a supplied 11kW AC home-charging kit (installation for which can be arranged with Audi's partner, JETCharge), and takes 8.5 hours to charge from empty.
The e-tron S models can also use up to 150kW DC fast-charging which restores 80 percent of charge in just 30 minutes, or a full charge in 45 minutes. As with all e-tron vehicles, the S models are offered with a comprehensive plan that includes a six-year subscription to the Chargefox charging network (of which Audi is a founding partner), which provides e-tron owners with access to all ultra-rapid, and selected fast and standard, chargers within the Chargefox network. All ultra-rapid chargers are powered by 100 percent renewable energy, for maximum peace of mind.
Driving the e-tron S models, the three motors operate to optimise efficiency while always delivering the optimal grip regardless of the conditions. The front motor is called upon only to increase performance as required or if a loss of traction is detected, and of course the e-quattro all-wheel drive features torque vectoring which allows the two rear motors to drive torque directly to each rear wheel via a single-speed transmission, negating the need for a mechanical differential. Progressive steering and adaptive air suspension (which varies ride height by up to 76mm) with regulated damping are also available via the Audi drive select system’s seven driving profiles, accentuating S-specific tuning. The result is lightening fast power regulation for the high levels of torque and a surefooted, responsive handling feel that perfectly matches the S model’s performance.
Needless to say, the e-tron S models also boast the highest levels of safety and driver assistance systems which are also standard across the entire e-tron range.
Looks too point to the performance orientation of the e-tron S models, but like their e-tron siblings, styling is still immediately Audi and remains understated rather than featuring overt styling cues to denote all-electric drive. The flow-optimised wheel arch extensions offer improved aerodynamics, as do the optional Audi virtual mirrors with high-definition OLED displays, and the result is a ‘slippery’ drag coefficient of 0.28 for the e-tron S and even slipperier 0.26 for the e-tron S Sportback.
Aerodynamic considerations can also be found in the controllable air-cooling inlet to cool the front brakes, minimising air turbulence by opening only when necessary. A heat pump, included on all e-tron models as standard, draws heat energy from the waste heat of the drive components to additionally increase vehicle range by up to 10 percent. To round out the optimisation of vehicle efficiency, drivers can also select between three levels of energy regeneration through a sophisticated recuperation system, giving the driver a noticeable one-pedal driving experience when at its highest level.
Those with a keen eye for detail will spot the orange brake calipers with their the S logo inside the massive 21-inch Audi Sport rims, and the distinctive light signature and incredible flexibility of the optional Matrix LED headlight technology will also mark these S models on the road, given that they are the first Audi models to be offered with this lighting technology.
Inside the uncompromising quality and finish that characterise all Audi S models is on show with Valcona leather seat upholstery featuring S-specific details with S sport front seats with contrasting diamond stitching that are also heated and the driver’s side with memory function. Embossed ‘S’ badging is also found on the sport leather steering wheel, now featuring a luxurious heating function and electric steering column adjustment.
Indeed the very latest in technology and infotainment are part and parcel of the e-tron S models as you would expect, with everything from the Audi virtual cockpit with an S-specific display to the expansive Audi connect plus which connects each vehicle to a world of outside functions and services as well as safety and emergency functions.
The MMI navigation plus 10.1-inch touch/haptic screen displays and controls infotainment and an 8.6-inch touch/haptic screen for vehicle functions and there is of course wireless phone charging and an Audi smartphone interface with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. The e-tron S models also feature the sublime Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, with 16 speakers, a subwoofer and 15-channel amplifier with a total power of 705 watts.
As has always been the case with Audi S models, these are a performance enthusiast’s dream, now bringing extraordinary performance characteristics to the emissions-free, all-electric ranks. In so many ways, these new models represent a quantum leap and yet to customers familiar with the Audi S models, they are refreshingly familiar in many respects as well.
Any Audi dealer can carry out scheduled servicing on an e-tron vehicle, and with Audi Australia offering all e-tron vehicles with servicing and roadside assistance for the first six years of ownership, e-mobility is not a quantum leap in terms of day-to-day practicality. Owners can also take further peace-of-mind from an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty, with the three-year/unlimited km warranty applying to all other items – so all that remains to be done is enjoy the ride.
A whole new chapter in the illustrious history of the Audi S models is about to arrive.
(*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)
The vehicles pictured are overseas models that may not accurately reflect the final specification that will be available when the Audi e-tron S models arrive on the Australian market.
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