- audi says it'll offer the high-performance s version of the e-tron electric suv to u.s. customers for the 2022 model year.
- it has 496 horsepower and comes in both standard e-tron and e-tron sportback forms.
- the 2022 e-tron s will start at $85,895, and its sportback counterpart will cost an extra $2600 when they go on sale this fall.
update 8/17/21: audi has announced that a high-performance version of the 2022 e-tron and e-tron sportback will be available this fall. signified with the letter "s" attached to their model names, these new additions will have significantly higher sticker prices versus the entry-level model of their corresponding body types. the new e-tron s will open at $85,895 ($18,900 more than the base premium trim) and the e-tron s sportback will start at $88,495 ($18,300 more than the base sportback premium). both variants will be offered in premium plus and prestige trim levels.
while there is much to like about the audi e-tron, it has never been able to get close to the level of performance that buyers of even mid-spec teslas enjoy. that gap now looks set to shrink with confirmation of s versions of both the regular e-tron and the sleeker e-tron sportback.
while the regular e-tron has two electric motors, the s has three. the more powerful motor that powers the standard e-tron's rear axle has been switched to the front of the e-tron s, with a pair of the regular car's less powerful front motor now working at the back of the faster model, each powering one rear wheel through single-speed reductions.
audi says their all-electric powertrain will generate a total output of 496 horsepower and a peak combined torque output of 718 pound-feet, with both this and the maximum power available for up to eight seconds at a time. the company also claims a 4.3 second zero-to-60-mph time for the e-tron s, 1.0 seconds faster than the comparable time for the regular car. (we ran the 2019 e-tron from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, suggesting this should be capable of low-4s.) top speed is limited to 130 mph.
the e-tron s defaults to rear-wheel drive under gentle use, with the front motor adding performance when required, or increasing stability when the back starts to run short on grip. the use of twin motors at the rear will also allow for torque vectoring across that axle, and what audi promises is the "capacity to perform controlled drifts." the e-tron s can also redistribute torque across its front axle by braking.
an air suspension is standard, with this having both the firmer tune that audi regards as being appropriate to its s models and the ability to vary ride height by up to three inches depending on speed, conditions, and which of its seven different dynamic modes the car is in. s versions of the e-tron have also been given a two-inch wider track than the regular car, this calling for plastic wheel-arch extensions. audi says 20-inch wheels are standard, but buyers will be able to select a set of 21- or 22-inchers on summer tires as an option. the s also gets upgraded six-piston brake calipers at the front.
the s's 86.5-kwh lithium-ion battery pack offers the same usable capacity as in the regular e-tron, with the extra performance coming with a reduction in range. according to the epa's estimates, the 2022 e-tron s with the standard wheel-and-tire package will be able to travel up to 208 miles on a single charge. its sloped-back counterpart, the e-tron s sportback, is expected to be able to go an extra 4 miles (212 total). compare that with their non-s counterparts, which are rated at 222 and 218 miles of range, respectively.
the e-tron s and e-tron sportback s will go on sale in the u.s. this fall.