Make / Model Search

Quick Test

Car reviews - Audi - e-Tron - S

Our Opinion

We like
Purposeful acceleration, sorted ride, handling prowess, braking performance and pedal action, hushed cabin, logical human-machine interfaces, sensible driver- and safety-assist systems
Room for improvement
Deep-set centre console cupholders, pricey, discernible heft under hard cornering, light steering feel, gimmicky virtual mirrors require familiarisation

Audi’s latest e-tron SUV might just be its most convincing EV yet

19 May 2022



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.


Driving Impressions


With a pair of 132kW/309Nm motors on the rear axle offering not only motive mumbo but intelligent torque vectoring, the e-tron S’ third on-demand motor – set on the front axle and offering an extra 150kW/355Nm – seems almost redundant. But more is more, right?


It sure is… and so is the weight penalty associated with it. You see, to keep the three motors and 95kWh lithium-ion battery pack (and its associated systems) operating in their optimal range, the thermal management system and its associated control units push the tare weight of the Belgian-built e-tron S to a podgy 2830kg – that’s a full 490kg more than the similarly-sized Q8. And, as competent as the adaptive suspension of the e-tron S is, the physics at play can be rather difficult to mask.


In daily running and highway cruising, the weight of the e-tron S is well-masked. The ride quality is appreciably comfortable and the body control  extremely well balanced (well, at least in urban driving conditions). But prompt the e-tron S to corner at pace – even in its firmest suspension settings – and it’s evident that this is a vehicle of considerable heft.


That said, we never found the limit of adhesion at legal speeds, plus the steering action and related feedback were entirely pellucid. In its sportier drive modes, the e-tron S’ progressive steering is far more communicative than it is in its middling ranges, which can feel altogether too light when weaving along a challenging stretch of winding road.


Meanwhile, the Audi’s ride is oh-so-quiet. Unlike many of the EVs we’ve tested, the e-tron S is almost devoid of tyre hum, wind rustle and, of course, mechanical din. Even when cornering at something nearing the vehicle’s limit, the e-tron S is impressively muted, offering few of the aural cues we tend to rely on when assessing dynamic thresholds.


Fortunately, the braking action of the e-tron S is entirely familiar – it feels similar in progression and response to that of a conventional vacuum-assisted setup. The massive 350mm rotors and powerful calipers provide effective stopping power time after time.


So, what about range? Well, according to its instrumentation, the e-tron S averaged somewhere around the 28-29kWh mark in varied driving, or 2-3kWh more than Audi’s claim. That saw the available range drop to the mid-to-high 300km mark, which, considering the size of the battery pack on offer – and the performance on tap – is entirely acceptable. Use the, er, loud pedal (can we even call it that anymore?) sparingly and the stated range should be easy to achieve. But where’s the fun in that?


And what of those “wing mirrors”? The camera and screen arrangement of Audi’s optional virtual mirrors is functional, certainly, but it isn’t what you’d call natural. The positioning of the screens takes time to get accustomed to and they’re easily obscured when front occupants rest their arms on the windowsills. The system offers a coloured LED array surrounding the OLED screens as means of identifying vehicles positioned just out of view, and works well in bright sunlight, even when the driver’s wearing polarised sunglasses.


But the setup doesn’t offer the familiar latitude of traditional mirrors and, when you drive the e-tron S at night, it can cause confusion. Vehicles’ headlights are hard to distinguish from other sources (streetlights, et al), leaving the driver reliant on the car’s blind-spot system – or a good old-fashioned head-check – when changing lanes. If we were buying an e-tron S, we’d stick with the standard mirrors and spend the $3.5k elsewhere…


Despite its peripheral imperfections, the Audi e-tron S remains a thoroughly convincing eSUV. It’s roomy, practical, flexible – and fast, plus it’s as user-friendly and logical to operate as any other model in the Audi extensive product line-up. Apart from the virtual mirrors, the e-tron S is less gimmicky than many of its rivals. Suffice to say, it would make the ideal “bridging model” for buyers who are thinking about taking “the EV plunge”.

Read more

Quick Test

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new e-Tron

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here