The new performance variants are also the first models with a new torque vectoring, three-engine version of the E-Quattro all-wheel drive from Audi, a change that improves performance and handling in one fell swoop. Audi was keen to demonstrate its next electrical development and on my driving course in Neuburg let go of a prototype of the E-Tron S Sportback to find out if three engines were better than two.
Let's start with a refresher. The standardand use a 184 HP, 228 pound-foot electric on the front axle and a 224 HP, 262 lb ft unit rear. Together they form the E-Quattro – a fully electric version of the all-wheel drive from Audi – and together they achieve a maximum output of 355 hp (or 402 hp for short speed boosts of eight seconds). The E-Tron S Sportback remixes this formula.
Audi started to reverse the placement of the engine. The larger rear engine drives to the front axle, where it divides 201 HP and 262 lb-ft between the front wheels. The smaller front engine moves to the rear axle before being multiplied by two. You will now find a pair of 177 HP and 228 lb-ft rear electric motors that give the rear axle 456 lb-ft of torque.
This is a total of three engines and an alleged system performance of approximately 429 hp and 596 lb-ft or 496 hp and 718 lb-ft of torque during the above-mentioned eight-second boost periods (activated by pressing the accelerator pedal past a kickdown- Point). That's an additional 94 horsepower and 228 lb-ft for maximum thrust.
Give him the beans and the electric S-Model sprints to 100 km / h in almost quiet 4.5 seconds – the Non-S manages this in 6.6 seconds – before reaching an electronically limited top speed of 130.5 Miles per hour.
Double motor with electric torque vector
The three-phase asynchronous double electric motors are mechanically independent – back to back and in line with the axle – with their own single-speed gearbox and power control unit. (However, they share a fairly thorough cooling system.) Of course, more engines mean more power, but it also allows the E-Tron S Sportback to perform some extremely flexible torque vectoring tricks.
For example, in curves, the E-Tron S can generate more torque with the outer rear wheel in order to yaw the crossover in a curve. However, since each engine has its own transmission, this torque differential benefits from the multiplication of transmission and final drive and means that means that the difference in drive torque between the inner and outer rear wheels can be up to 1,549 lb-ft. This potential ability to scoot the trunk in the middle of the EV means better control when you need it, more dramatic rotation when you need to deal with it, and faster, more natural support through the E-Tron's countless stability computers.
Without differentials or clutch packs, electrical torque transmission is up to four times faster than a mechanical system that comes into play when controlling traction. If a rear wheel suddenly encounters low traction – such as ice or sand – the torque on this contact surface can be switched off immediately, while the compensation on the other end of the axle starts with the same immediate reaction.
With more engines offer more potential for regenerative braking. The brake-by-wire system of the E-Tron S can recover up to 270 kilowatts of power with a complete regeneration stop from 100 km / h. This is more than the non-S E-Tron, which is supposed to recover around 220 kW with a perfect stop, or even the Audi Formula E racing car (around 250 kW). The system can individually influence the regenerative braking on the rear axle – up to 0.3 Gs regenerative braking force per wheel – and thus enables what Audi calls "negative torque vectoring" when cornering without gas.
Most cars can only do this trick with their friction brakes. In fact, on its front axle – where there is only one electric motor – the E-Tron S does just that by using wheel-selective torque control or lateral brake pretension to improve cornering stability and to complement real torque transmission at the rear
Difficult to disturb, easy to drive.
Along with the powertrain upgrades, the E-Tron S Sportback has wider 285-millimeter tires mounted on standard 20-inch wheels with larger wheels (up to 22-inch wheels). available as options. The standard adaptive air suspension is stronger in dynamic mode than the basic E-Tron and has firmer sockets. The steering has been re-tuned for better feel and feedback, and the front friction brakes are bigger and now have 15.7-inch discs. Larger stabilizers on both axles help the SUV to stay flat in curves. Take a close look and you will see that the wheel arches are also slightly expanded, which improves the stand with an additional width of 0.9 inches.
Outside the line, the additional force was immediately recognizable. The standard E-Tron weighs over 5,600 pounds and – with an additional engine on board – the S must be a bit more powerful, but you wouldn't know it. With more torque, the electric SUV felt even lighter and concealed its mass with serenity.
Of course I expected that the laws of physics would prevail as soon as it was time to change direction, and they did something. But again, I was pleasantly surprised at how stable the E-Tron S felt, as I gained confidence and speed with every lap of the Audi driving course. When I poked around the contact points with different and sometimes uncomfortable lines through curves and increasingly aggressive throttle and brake inputs, I found the handling to be precise with a natural touch to the limit and a point-and-shoot feeling that made it difficult for the SUV annoyed but driving fast.
Further details will follow
Apart from a more aggressive exterior design, S emblems and embossing on the interior, the rest of the E-Tron S largely corresponds to the 2020 E-Tron Sportback, which took place before the LA Auto Show last year.
It packs the same 95-kilowatt-hour battery with the same increase to 86.4 kWh (91%) of the available usage capacity and the same newly discovered ability to completely decouple the front axle while driving for more efficiency. And it has the same 150 kW quick charge that will charge it 80% in about 30 minutes.
However, I am still waiting to see how the performance gains and added weight affect the 204 of the E-Eron – miles of range. I expect there will be some deterioration, but expect a range estimate and a North American arrival window for the Geneva Motor Show next month. The final WLTP and EPA assessments will be released later this year.
Editor's note: Travel The costs associated with this story were borne by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow employees are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.
Originally published February 21.