Audi Adds More Electric Excitement for 2022

With two electric motors on the rear axle and one on the front combining to produce up to 496 horsepower and 718 pound-feet of torque, the 2022 Audi E-tron S and E-tron S Sportback are headed to the United States this fall. (Audi)

Slowly but surely, Audi is fleshing out its fledgling electric vehicle (EV) lineup. The most recent addition is the Audi E-tron GT, a 4-door performance EV that shares plenty of DNA with parent company Volkswagen Group’s Porsche Taycan. But the GT starts at $99,900, leaving luxury EV buyers who want additional motive force in a more affordable and practical package few places to turn but to Tesla.

For 2022, this changes. The new 2022 Audi E-tron S and E-tron S Sportback will arrive packing three electric motors and up to 496 horsepower and 718 pound-feet of torque when the driver chooses Boost mode.

Better yet, the new E-tron S models get a big attitude adjustment with S-line design cues and wider bodywork. However, to make the E-tron S look like what you see in the accompanying photo, you’ll want Prestige trim, metallic paint, the optional Black Optic package, and the 22-inch aluminum wheels. This setup inflates the E-tron S model’s price from around $85,000 to about $95,000. And if you want the E-tron S Sportback, its loaded sticker price bumps right into the arguably more prestigious Audi E-tron GT.

Aside from the sporty styling, the E-tron S models supply improved performance. Maximum horsepower and torque are available in Boost mode for up to eight seconds at a time, resulting in a claimed run to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Without Boost mode, the E-tron S produces 429 hp and 596 pound-feet of torque. A standard adaptive air suspension and upgraded brakes with orange calipers are also along for the ride.

Audi says the E-tron S model’s front wheels are responsible solely for steering unless traction conditions warrant power transfer forward. The two rear-axle electric motors continuously power the EV, and they operate independently to provide torque-vectoring capability. Select Dynamic driving mode and you can even drift the E-tron S, according to Audi. Of course, you should only try this on a closed course under safe conditions.

A 95-kilowatt-hour battery pack supplies the juice, and it’s compatible with 150-kilowatt Level 3 DC fast chargers. Audi says you can recharge the E-tron S from 5 percent to 80 percent battery capacity in about 30 minutes when using one. Standard equipment includes a Level 2 9.6-kW charger, and Audi has partnered with Qmerit to install home charging stations.

Driving range remains an issue with the new sport-tuned versions of the Audi E-tron S. Audi claims the E-tron S will travel 208 miles on a single charge, while the E-tron S Sportback’s more aerodynamic bodywork supplies 212 miles of range. Add the bigger wheels and tires, or use Boost mode regularly, and these numbers will drop. Despite studies that show that most EV buyers intend to recharge their vehicles overnight at home, range estimates in the low-200s remain a concern.

As is true of automakers ranging from Acura to Volvo, Audi is actively preparing for a future of electric mobility. By the end of 2021, when the E-tron S models and the new 2022 Audi Q4 E-tron all go on sale, Audi says it will offer more fully electric models in the U.S. market than any other automaker. By 2025, 30 percent of its U.S. lineup will be electrified, and the automaker says it will be net carbon neutral by 2050.

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