2022 Audi e-Tron S

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Overview

AUDI Australia director Paul Sansom says the brand’s freshly minted e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) represent a step change in the perception of e-mobility for the Audi brand; and, for once, that might be more than just lip service.

During its 24-hour tenure in our test fleet, the Audi e-tron S proved a capable and well-sorted family-sized SUV (which we expected), but also an entirely convincing BEV – one with so few compromises that even die-hard internal combustion engine (ICE) devotees may finally see it as a realistic option to conventionally-powered models. Well, maybe…

But when you really dig down into it, the e-tron S is a convincing SUV.

Sure, it’s built on a platform that also supports ICE drivelines rather than its own bespoke EV platform, but it doesn’t feel as compromised as some vehicles that have followed a similar formula. And perhaps that accounts for the e-tron S being such an effective “bridging model” between ICE and electric propulsion – it is engaging, yet very familiar.

It’s also bloody quick. The e-tron S’ tri-motor and all-wheel-drive boogie fest delivers its  370kW and 973Nm instantaneously, which will see the luxury family-sized SUV rocket from zero to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds and go on to a v-max of 210km/h. Yet, it’s still entirely liveable and completely practical in day-to-day driving scenarios with a well-metered throttle and an, er, honest real-world driving range; but more on that in a minute.

First, let’s look at the e-tron S in a little more detail.

Offered locally in S guise, the two-variant range (SUV $168,400 and Sportback $175,400, before on-road costs) offers a strongly contoured body, widened wheel arches (+46mm) and aggressively styled bumpers, which, at first glance suggest the model is focused on speed and speed alone. But open a door – or the handsfree powered tailgate – and the e-tron S shows an entirely practical interior that, to our eyes at least, places it somewhere in the same physical realm as Audi’s Q8 large SUV (4902/2928/1976/1629mm length, wheelbase, width and height against the latter’s 4986/2995/1995/1705mm).

Standard equipment includes Audi’s extensive suite of safety- and driver-assistance technologies, 21-inch alloy wheels, all-multilink adaptive air suspension, a panoramic glass sunroof, rear privacy glass, four-zone climate control, heated front seats with electric adjustment and driver’s side memory function, coloured LED cabin lighting, Valcona leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and 360-degree camera system. Matrix LED headlights are available optionally (as part of the $9600 Sensory Package), as are Audi’s virtual mirrors with OLED displays ($3500).

The infotainment features are extensive too, with Audi’s virtual cockpit digital instrument panel, Audi connect plus, wireless phone charging, Audi smartphone interface (with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity), a 10-inch touch and haptic infotainment screen and 8.6-inch touch and haptic vehicle-control screen included.

The e-tron S duo also come with a Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system with 16 speakers, a subwoofer, 15-channel amplifier and a total system output of 705W.

Vehicle charging is via a 7.5kW AC home-charging kit or 150kW DC fast-charging. Audi says the latter offers 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes, or 100 per cent charge in 45 minutes. The home-charging setup can top up the battery pack in around 13 hours.

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