Driven: 2020 Audi e-tron S Sportback Prototype

Because three motors are better than two.

Within a few months, Audi will introduce its first ‘S’ badged EV, the e-tron S Sportback. We haven’t had the opportunity to drive one just yet, but Autocar recently did, so we thought we’d take a look at their first drive impressions. 

We did get to take a ride in the standard e-tron Sportback in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show and came away impressed. However, the S variant is a different beast, with three motors instead of the regular all-wheel-drive e-tron layout of two. 

The e-tron S Sportback with its three asynchronous motors has a combined 495 hp and 718 lb-ft of torque. That’s good enough to take the car from 0-60 in just under 4.5 seconds, which is good, but not amazing. Especially when you consider a Tesla Model Y Performance will do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and costs about $30,000 less. Top speed is electronically limited to 131 miles per hour.

From the review

The real surprise comes when you attack a corner. Neither the brakes nor the slick but soulless steering inspire too much confidence, but once the nose has securely taken your chosen line, the E-tron S will essentially oversteer on demand as the outside rear wheel is overloaded with torque. More surprising still is how neatly and predictably this happens, and one can’t help but imagine what this technology might one day do for, say, a TT-sized coupé with friendlier proportions and less weight to cart around.

While Autocar seemed impressed with the vehicle’s torque-vectoring capability, the weight (a porky 5,500 lbs) and numb steering feel had them walking away less than overwhelmed. 

You can check out the full Autocar review by following this link.

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