Audi’s shocking E-Tron S packs triple-motors and 500hp

Derryn Wong

Triple-motor setup is a world first, and the E-Tron S also has massive 973Nm of torque, available in E-Tron S Sportback model. Due in Singapore 2021


Audi has announced the first high-performance version of its first electric vehicle (EV), the E-Tron S, and it claims a world-first for EVs.

E-Tron S (left) and E-Tron S Sportback (right)

It will be available in E-Tron S and E-Tron S Sportback models, and is expected to launch in Singapore in late 2021. Read the end of the story for the expected pricing in Singapore. 

Like the rest of Audi’s S models, the E-Tron S takes the regular car and increases its performance significantly, though not to the maximum level that RS models see.

For example, there’s the normal A3, then there’s the S3, and finally the RS 3

The E-Tron S is wider than the regular car by a significant 50mm. Audi says the new wheelarch extensions add 23mm to that width alone (presumably along with a wider front and rear track for improved handling) and that they are an aerodynamically-optimised and patented design, making their debut in a production vehicle. 


The car’s front end sees the same silver grille with aero-louvres that can open or close, but the air intakes and air curtains (in front of each wheel) are larger and more aggressive, while the usual S car silver mirror caps. 

Home on the range: We’ve just driven the regular Audi E-Tron in Singapore – read our review here

The regular E-Tron has 400hp and 664Nm of torque delivered through two motors, one on each axle, thus it has electric all-wheel drive for increased stability and performance during acceleration. 

Two motors power each rear wheel individually

The S model takes that one step further: It has one motor in front and two motors on the rear axle, one for each wheel, and they deliver a total output of 496hp, with peak torque at a staggering 973Nm. This three-motor setup, Audi says, will be the first for a full-production EV. 

X-ray view of the two electric motors each with one power electronics module (at rear in illustration) and one reduction gearbox (at side)

That’s quite a neck-snapper right there, and reminds us of the last time Audi made a car with 1,000Nm of torque – the crazy Q7 V12 TDI

The power boost allows the E-Tron S to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 210km/h. That’s 1.2-seconds quicker than the regular car, with a 10km/h increase to top speed. 

It’s still not quite as fast as a high-spec Tesla, but our local review of the E-Tron explores why Audi isn’t exactly trying to be a Tesla-killer anyway.

Audi E-Tron S

With the battery pack being identical to the normal car, the 95kWh unit delivers slightly less range : 360km is quoted on the WLTP cycle, compared to 419km for the normal E-Tron. The E-Tron S Sportback does 365km, according to Audi. 

Audi E-Tron S Sportback

The car uses only its rear motors in Normal drive mode, for efficiency, and activates the front motor when more grunt is needed, or more traction called for.

Dynamic photo Color: Navarra blue

The dual-rear motor arrangement allows for greater driving agility, since the new setup can let the car have full torque vectoring at the rear – each motor can individually send more torque to its rear wheel respectively for more stability under acceleration before, during, and after turns.  

The Pininfarina Battista has a motor in each wheel, but it also costs more than S$1-million

Using more than two motors in an EV for maximum performance isn’t a new idea – in fact it’s been around for more than 100 years. But recent cars using such tech have been limited-run hypercars or specials, like the Pininfarina Battista.

The E-Tron S model also has an up-tuned version of the adaptive air suspension setup seen on the regular model, but overall the S can vary its characteristics more to suit the car’s increased performance. For example, the air suspension can vary its height by 76mm, and in Dynamic mode, with ESC set to Sport, the car can deliver controlled drifts as well. 


We expect the interior layout to be largely the same, but with the usual S cosmetic touches: Sport seats, aluminium pedals, perforated leather, Alcantara, a dark headliner.


Audi says 20-inch wheels are standard, with 285mm wide tyres – a 30mm increase – as are uprated six-piston front callipers (with optional contrast colour) and larger brake discs. 


How much will the E-Tron S models cost? In Germany, the base E-Tron S Line (similar to what we have in Singapore now at S$367,500 with COE) costs EUR83,500, while the E-Tron Sportback costs EUR86,100.
Comparatively, the E-Tron S starting price is EUR93,800, and E-Tron S Sportback is EUR96,050, which means the E-Tron S could cost around S$410k with COE, and the E-Tron Sportback at S$380k with COE, with the E-Tron S Sportback the most expensive at S$423k with COE. 


About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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