AUDI

AUDI E-TRON SPORTBACK 370kW S Quattro 95kWh 5dr Auto

Fuel

FuelElectric

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph4.5s

WLTP - Pure Electric Range

Electric Range224 miles

For ultimate EV performance, it's no longer sufficient for a brand to merely give its electric vehicle a drive motor on the front axle to add to the one at the back. As Audi's two e-tron S models show, ideally you'd want three motors. The result is more power, more grip and better handling: it's all good.

S TO IMPRESS

Audi's e-tron S Sportback sets a fresh standard for EV handling. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Review

For ultimate EV performance, it's no longer sufficient for a brand to merely give its electric vehicle a drive motor on the front axle to add to the one at the back. As Audi's two e-tron S models show, ideally you'd want three motors. The result is more power, more grip and better handling: it's all good.

Background

Audi performance cars have carried the S badge since the '100' model-based S4 the early Nineties, but this is the first time it has crossed the divide into the brand's growing family of electrified e-tron models. Here, it signals a ground breaking president in volume production, this e-tron S Sportback model and its e-Tron S stablemate being the market's first EVs to use three electric drive motors, one on the front axle and two at the rear. The result, predictably, is explosive performance. Even more significantly, having two motors on the rear axle has allowed Audi to further reinvent the EV version of its quattro four wheel drive system, drive at speed able to switch not only from front to rear but between each of the back wheels. So grip and traction are never in doubt. Audi reckons this system sets a fresh standard for the way a big EV can handle and provides it in both standard SUV and, as in this case, Sportback versions of its large luxury e-tron crossover model. Let's put it to the test.

Driving Experience

It's been over forty years since Audi redefined performance driving with its quattro all wheel drive system. With this e-tron S model, you could argue that the brand has redefined it once again - for a very different era, this being the world's first electric vehicle to use three drive motors. The larger electric motor that on a conventional e-tron Sportback sits at the rear has here been moved to the front, freeing up space for twin smaller motors to sit on the back axle, allowing torque vectoring and fully variable torque distribution between the rear wheels for what should be considerably enhanced cornering agility. The difference here is that you get real confidence through tighter, twistier turns, thanks to the electronic torque vectoring system's ability to individually control the amount of drive fed to each individual rear wheel with pinpoint accuracy, based on the grip and load active on either side of the car as you drive through each corner. It's sort of like a mechanical limited slip differential, except that here, there's nothing but software linking the two rear motors - and they respond up to 25% quicker. While all this is going on, wheel selective torque control on the front axle uses the discs and pads to gently brake the inside front wheel as you turn, further helping to rotate the car into the turn as the rear tyres edge towards their limit. The only disappointment, as with the more ordinary e-tron Sportback models, lies with the relative lack of steering feel, a familiar Audi issue, though the variable-ratio 'Progressive' rack is certainly accurate. If only though, it gave you the same confidence as the drive system, what a car this would be. Extra motive power in this S model means a higher output of course - up to 435PS with 808Nm of torque; or, with the 'S' mode engaged for overtaking, 503PS, with a thumping 973Nm of torque. Enough to simply hurl this Audi at the horizon; 62mph from rest is recorded at 4.5s, but it feels quicker than that because the pulling power is so instant, tailing off only as you edge close to the 130mph maximum.

Design and Build

In this S-specification form, the e-tron Sportback sets itself apart with key silver trimming features - most notably for the S-specific front bumper, which features that colour for the spoiler lip and the air intake surrounds. As with the ordinary version of this model, there's this huge octagonal Singleframe grille with lower e-tron branding, flanked by LED headlights which, on request, can (as here) feature the company's latest 'digital matrix' technology with its movie-style animations. In profile, more S-specific silver trimming features for the side sills and the door mirror housings. Nice touches include the optional virtual mirrors, 'L'-shaped pods that protrude on aerodynamic stalks replacing ordinary door mirrors; and the inclusion of charging flaps on both sides of the car behind the front wheel arches, which feature copper-themed e-tron badges and neatly open with the push of a button. And of course there are big wheels, which on this S model sit in arches 23mm wider so that they can accommodate massive 22-inch rims on request. Inside, this S model is set apart by Valcona leather-trimmed Super sport seats with their diamond stitching and S embossing. And by little touches like the S embossing on the gear shifter, the illuminated S-branded door sill scuff plates and by a subtle red surround for the stop/start button. There's a race-style flat-bottomed steering wheel too, through which you view up 12.3-inch 'Virtual Cockpit' instrument binnacle screen upgraded to 'Plus' status, which means you can select a more focused extra 'e-tron Sport' single dial layout. Out back, the swept back roof line doesn't compromise rear seat headroom too much. And there's a 555-litre boot, with a further 60-litre space for the charging leads beneath the bonnet.

Market and Model

The e-tron S models command a premium of around £9,000 over comparable two-motor 'S line'-equipped e-tron 55 quattro variants in the standard range. At the time of this test, that meant a starting price for the e-tron S quattro with the conventional SUV body shape of around £87,000; you'll need about £1,800 more for the sleeker Sportback body style. Either way, that gets you standard e-tron S trim; you'll need another £15,000 with either body shape for plusher 'Vorsprung'-spec. As for rivals to this e-tron S Sportback, well there aren't any other three-motor EV models in the segment, but there are plenty you might be tempted by. The money being asked here is about £6,000 more than a Tesla Model S in base 'Long Range' spec; and about £10,000 more than a Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. We'd also want to look at the top version of BMW's iX model, the xDrive50, which only costs only around £3,000 more than this e-tron S Sportback, while offering around 130 miles more driving range. So the competition's tough; which means that this car needs to be well equipped. And of course it is. This standard e-tron S model gets you pretty much everything that's included with mid-range 'S line' trim on the standard e-tron models, including Matrix LED headlamps and all the silver-themed extra exterior updates we briefed you on in our design section. Plus the further addition of 21-inch wheels with a special 'S design', Super sports seats with diamond stitching and a 4-corner air suspension with electronic shock absorption control system.

Cost of Ownership

This e-tron S Sportback's 95kWh battery has a WLTP-rated range of between 215 and 236 miles. It's worth mentioning that this is 62 miles less than the other luxury sports EV model that Audi offers in this segment, the slightly less expensive e-tron GT quattro, which uses the same battery pack. For the boxier SUV e-tron S body shape, the range figure is WLTP-rated at between 213 and 232 miles. Replenishing such a high energy capacity battery isn't for the faint-hearted - you'd need 42 hours to do it from a domestic three-pin plug. A 7kW garage wallbox would do the job in 14 hours, a figure you could reduce to 8.9 hours with an 11kW wallbox. A 50kW public point could take this e-tron Sportback's battery from 20% capacity to 80% in 70 minutes. And if you're fortunate enough to find a 150kW public rapid charging point, that would enable up to 95% of battery capacity to be replenished in only 50 minutes - or 80% in just 30 minutes. What else might you need to know? Probably that for company car users, electric vehicles offer potentially huge tax savings as they fall into base VED Band A and will attract just 1% of Benefit-in-Kind company car taxation in the '2021/2022' tax year - and 2% in each of the following two years. There's no VED road tax to pay either and you'll also possibly be interested in the fact that as an EV vehicle owner, you'll be exempt from the London Congestion Charge. Insurance is a top-of-the-shop group 50E. Still, the news is reasonably positive when it comes to residual value. According to industry experts CAP, an e-tron S Sportback will still be worth 46% of its original value (or £40,300) after three years or 30,000 miles of use.

Summary

So what's the bottom line here? Well having a twin motor system on the rear axle and a single motor up-front doesn't just deliver huge performance and impressive traction. It also significantly enhances the fine level of control that can be used to thread this e-tron model through a series of corners at speed. Delivering a level of agility you simply wouldn't expect from anything this big and heavy. It's difficult to think of another large EV more in need of this kind of dynamic enhancement than the standard Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback models, which in their more straightforward forms can feel a little flat-footed compared to rivals. The S models though, are very different. Don't choose the ordinary version without trying this one. It's as simple as that.

  • Side and rear window privacy glass

  • Front/rear floor mats

  • Adaptive sport air suspension

  • Audi Smartphone Interface with wireless functionality
  • Audi phone box with wireless charging
  • Audi connect safety and service (e-call)

  • Progressive steering
  • Audi drive select
  • Parking system plus with 360 degree sensors and function on demand preparation

  • Power operated tailgate

  • Audi virtual cockpit
  • MMI navigation plus with MMI touch + Twin touch screens with haptic feedback

  • Frameless auto dimming interior rear view mirror

  • Black dashboard

  • Front and rear audi music interface - 2USB-C ports with charge and rear data function in addition to 2 front ports to play music from portable storage
  • DAB Digital radio

  • Body colour bumpers
  • Rear boot lip spoiler
  • S specific front bumper with spoiler lip and air intake surrounds in silver
  • S specific flared wheel arches
  • S side sills with door inlays in selenite silver
  • S rear bumper with insert in selenite silver
  • S badging on the front grille and rear boot
  • S logo on car key

  • LED rear lights
  • Audi beam with e-tron logo

  • Operating buttons in black + glass look with haptic feedback
  • Comfort front centre armrest
  • Black cloth headlining
  • Tool kit
  • Luggage compartment cover
  • Start Stop button with red surround
  • S embossing on shifter
  • Industry plug CEE 32 A/230 V/6 h/long + straight
  • Compact e-tron charging system
  • AC and DC charging access point on drivers side and second AC charging access point on passenger side
  • 11KW onboard charger
  • Household plug type G (GB)
  • Vehicle inlet Combo 2
  • Mode 3 AC charging cable 22 kW

  • Twin leather pack - E-tron
  • LED interior lighting pack - E-tron
  • Gloss styling pack - E-tron

  • Side, front and head airbag system
  • Warning triangle and first aid kit
  • 3x3 point rear seatbelts
  • Audi pre sense front and basic
  • Active vehicle alerting system (AVAS)

  • 3 rear head restraints
  • Electrically adjustable front seats - driver seat with memory
  • Front head restraints
  • Heated front seats
  • 4-way lumbar support for front seats
  • ISOFIX child seat mounting for front passenger seat with airbag deactivation
  • Isofix child seat mounting points on outer rear seats

  • Anti-theft wheel bolts and wheel loosening detection
  • Keyless Go
  • Anti theft alarm

  • Quattro all wheel drive

  • Sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors

  • Tyre repair kit

  • Battery Charge Slow Time (Minutes): 534
  • Battery Charge Slow kW: 11
  • Battery Charge Slow Percentage: 0-100
  • Battery Charge Fast Time (Minutes): 50
  • Battery Charge Fast kW: 150
  • Battery Charge Fast Percentage: 0-100
  • Battery Charge Rapid Time (Minutes): N
  • Battery Charge Rapid kW: N
  • Battery Charge Rapid Percentage: N
  • Battery Charge Super Charge Time (Minutes): N
  • Battery Charge Super Charge kW: N
  • Battery Charge Super Charge Percentage: N
  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 95
  • NEDC Electricity Consumption kWh/100 km: N
  • NEDC Maximum EV Range Miles: N
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 359
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb - Min: 361
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb - Max: 354
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb: 27.1
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - Min: 26.9
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - Max: 27.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb: 2.3
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - Max: 2.3
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - Min: 2.3
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 223
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb - Max: 220
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb - Min: 224

  • CO2 (g/km): 0
  • Standard Euro Emissions: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): N
  • CO: N
  • HC: N
  • NOx: N
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): N
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): N
  • CC: 1
  • Cylinders: N
  • Cylinder Layout: N
  • Number of Valves: N
  • Camshaft: N
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Catalytic Convertor: N
  • Engine Layout: N
  • Compression Ratio: N
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Engine Code: GEASCE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: N
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Combined (mpg): N

  • Coin Series: S
  • Coin Description: 95kWh
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Service Interval Mileage: 18000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 24
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 91
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 85
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 71
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 76
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • Badge Power: 503
  • Badge Engine CC: 0
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 50E
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False

  • Engine Torque - MKG: 82.4
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 4.5
  • Top Speed: 130
  • Engine Power - BHP: 503
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Power - KW: 370
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 596
  • Engine Torque - NM: 808

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP

  • Tyre Size Rear: 265/45 R21
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 21" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: 5-ARM
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 265/45 R21

  • Wheelbase: 2928
  • Length: 4902
  • Width (including mirrors): 2189
  • Height: N
  • Height (including roof rails): 1615

  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 615
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1800
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Max. Loading Weight: 625
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2620
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 3245
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1665
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 12.2

  • Acoustic glazing: £525

  • Orange painted E-tron brake callipers: £425
  • Brake calipers painted black with S logo at the front: Included

  • 360 degree camera: £725
  • Audi side assist including audi pre sense rear, rear cross traffic alert and exit warning: £625
  • Cruise control + speed limiter: Included
  • Rear view camera: Included
  • Lane departure warning system: Included

  • Wall mounted bracket for compact e-tron charging system: £150

  • Electrically adj heated/folding + automatically dimming exterior mirrors with memory + automatic kerb side function for passenger side exterior mirror: Included
  • Virtual exterior mirrors: £1,250
  • Aluminium door mirror housings: Included
  • Carbon mirror housings: £750

  • Dark matt brushed aluminium inlay: Included
  • Carbon twill inlays: £450

  • Bang & Olufsen premium sound system: £800
  • Audi sound system with 6 channel amplifier, 180 watt amplifying capacity and 10 loudspeakers including subwoofer: Included

  • Fixed panoramic glass roof: £1,475
  • Metallic paint: £750
  • Pearlescent paint: £750
  • Aluminium roof rails: £425
  • Solid paint: Included

  • Audi matrix LED headlights and dynamic front and rear indicators with coming and leaving home animations: Included
  • Digital Matrix lights with dynamic front & rear indicators and coming/leaving home customisable animations: £3,175

  • 2 zone automatic air conditioning including remote pre conditioning: Included
  • Comfort remote pre conditioning: £100
  • 4 zone deluxe automatic climate control: £825

  • Electric steering wheel adjustment: £425
  • Heated 4-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel with paddles for recuperation: £0
  • 3 spoke flat bottomed multi function steering wheel in perforated leather with paddles for recuperation and S logo: Included
  • Valcona leather upholstery with diamond pattern contrast stitching front S sports seats S embossed logo: Included

  • Extended leather pack with Additional valcona leather upholstery - E-tron: £750
  • Storage and luggage compartment package - E-tron: £125
  • Air quality pack - E-tron: £425
  • City assist pack - E-tron: £1,125
  • Tour pack - E-tron: £1,950

  • Metallic - Antigua blue: £750
  • Metallic - Glacier white: £750
  • Metallic - Mythos black: £750
  • Metallic - Catalunya red: £750
  • Metallic - Navarra blue: £750
  • Metallic - Siam Biege: £750

  • Pearl - Daytona grey: £750

  • Solid - Brilliant black: £0

  • Rear side airbags with illuminated seat buckles: £475

  • Extended leather pack with Additional valcona leather - Aras red with grey diamond pattern contrast stitching + S front sports seats S embossed logo: £750
  • Valcona leather - Black with rock grey diamond pattern contrast stitching + S front sports seats S embossed logo: £0
  • Valcona leather - Rotor grey with anthracite diamond pattern contrast stitching + S front sports seats S embossed logo: £0

  • 21" 5 arm S design alloy wheels: Included
  • 21" 5 Y spoke rotorgloss anthracite black diamond cut Audi sport alloy wheels: £725

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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