Illustration for article titled The Audi E-Tron S Is Here To Shred With Nearly 500 HP And A Third Electric Motor
Photo: Audi

I have largely not cared about the Audi E-Tron electric crossover, but that has just changed. Audi threw in another electric motor and called it the Audi E-Tron S, and it peaks at almost 500 horsepower and 718 lb-ft of torque.

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Well, technically Audi is pulling the same trick twice. The same upgrades on the E-Tron S will come on the E-Tron S Sportback too.

Illustration for article titled The Audi E-Tron S Is Here To Shred With Nearly 500 HP And A Third Electric Motor
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Audi moved the big motor from the rear-axle of the normal E-Tron up to the front axle, and then thew on two smaller electric motors on the rear axle, for a tri-motor layout. The front-axle motor only activates when the driver pushes for more power, or when grip levels diminish.

In normal driving, the E-Tron S makes a combined output of 420 HP and 596 lb-ft of torque. In the “S” drive mode, the car has a boost feature that can increase power up to 496 HP and 717.6 lb-ft of torque for up to 8 seconds at a time. With boost, the 0 to 60 MPH time is claimed to be 4.5 seconds. Top speed is held back to 130 MPH.

Illustration for article titled The Audi E-Tron S Is Here To Shred With Nearly 500 HP And A Third Electric Motor

Audi claims it only takes “around half an hour” for the battery to juice from 5 to 80 percent state-of-charge when connected to a 150 kilowatt charger. There’s no mention of range figures for the E-Tron S models just yet, though.

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For comparison, the regular E-Tron only boosts up to a max power level of 402 HP and 490 lb-ft of torque, with an EPA-estimated range of 204 miles.

All that power with a rear bias? You know what I’m thinking, and the Audi press release is thinking it too: “The drive layout facilitates a high level of transverse dynamics and, on request, controlled drifts as well.” That’s cool, but also funny as Audi once told me it wouldn’t do “drift mode.”

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Illustration for article titled The Audi E-Tron S Is Here To Shred With Nearly 500 HP And A Third Electric Motor

To handle all this power is an electronic torque vectoring system and wider tires, now at 11.2 inches on all of the available 20, 21, and 22-inch wheel options. The prototype photos included in the release ride on 20-inch wheels, for reference.

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Externally, the wheel arches are wider and there’s been a tweak to the design, with the changes highlighted on the prototype in the photos. I think the prototype camo is good enough to ship on customer cars, but it won’t be, so I don’t know why they didn’t photograph a painted car.

Illustration for article titled The Audi E-Tron S Is Here To Shred With Nearly 500 HP And A Third Electric Motor

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