We’ve been busy reviewing the best premium electric vehicles on the market, driving everything from the Polestar 2 Dual Motor, to the hard-to-get Kia EV6, BMW iX xDrive50 and even a few Porsche Taycans but this 2022 Audi E-Tron S in Navarra Blue was the one we’ve been looking forward to jumping in the most.
Not only is it our first experience driving an Audi EV on the open road but it’s our first chance to drive a performance-orientated electric SUV. And let’s not forget those fancy new ‘camera mirrors’. We’ll explain how that experiment went later, but in the meantime let’s talk about the things we love (and those we don’t) in the 2022 Audi e-Tron S.
2022 Audi e-Tron S at a Glance
|High Point||Low Point||Verdict|
|The 2022 Audi e-Tron S is our favourite performance EV SUV on the market. The overall pace is great and the driving dynamics are more sedan-like than they are a big lumbering SUV. Overall design on both interior and exterior is also our favourite for vehicles at this price point.||Unfortunately, you’re going to have to really enjoy driving the e-Tron as you’ll spend more time at the charger than your average muscle-car owner would at the fuel bowser thanks to an inefficient (albeit high-powered and technical) three-motor EV layout.||The Audi e-Tron sacrifices range and efficiency for the love of driving, so you better enjoy doing the same.|
If you’re not looking to hang around for the full review of the 2022 Audi e-Tron S we’ll summarise our experience in the AUD$168,400 Audi in a few words. At a glance, the car is gorgeous from pretty much every angle, it gets plenty of looks, and has a tough stance with wider arches filled with great-looking wheels and enormous brakes.
The theme continues inside the cabin where you’re welcomed by familiar Audi infotainment screens, seats, and switchgear that combines to create our perfect idea of an interior. We’d call it class-leading for our tastes, but if you’re looking for all-out *amazeballs* technology, we’d check out the BMW iX that’s built for those who like enormous screens, minimalist cabins, and gesture controls.
The performance of the 2022 Audi e-Tron S is its advantage over cars like the BMW iX, however, it’s let down in the range department with only circa. 344km compared to the BMW’s circa. 600km range. In the real world those numbers can be far more dramatic than they read on paper so if you’re looking to road trip in an EV with the family in tow, think about the BMW or an equivalently priced Audi. We love the SQ5 and SQ7 for road trips as they share the same general suspension architecture and the ride of the e-Tron S is superb.
If you’re not looking to road trip the e-Tron S it makes an incredible daily driver that offers six years of complimentary servicing and fast charging through Chargefox infrastructure. If your soul is set on an electric SUV and range isn’t so much of a concern, the 2022 Audi e-Tron S is a great sport-orientated option.
What Powers the 2022 Audi e-Tron S?
|2022 Audi e-Tron S Performance Figures|
|Motor configuration||1x 150kW front
2x 132 kW at each rear wheel
|Power||320 kW (370 kW in boost mode)|
|Torque||808 Nm (973 Nm in boost mode)|
|Acceleration||0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds (boost mode)|
2022 Audi e-Tron S is one of the only electric vehicles on the road today that offers a three-motor layout. Power is delivered to each individual rear wheel separately, while the front wheels are powered by a single motor. Total power is set at 320 kW or 370 kW in boost mode that’s used to achieve a 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds.
Compare this to its main competitor, the BMW iX xDrive50, and you’ll find that they land in a similar ballpark for straight-line performance. The BMW offers a dual-motor setup with 385kW and 765Nm, shifting the 2.5-tonne SUV from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds. In reality, the BMW and Audi will be neck and neck in a straight line but we’ll note that the Audi offers more in the ride and handling category while the BMW offers a longer range.
2022 Audi e-Tron S Battery, Range, and Charging
Just as important (if not more) are the range, battery, and charging figures of the 2022 Audi e-Tron S and we’ve included all of that information down below.
|2022 Audi e-Tron S Range, Battery and Charging|
|Range (WLTP)||344 – 374km|
|Energy consumption||26.4 kWh/ 100km|
|Capacity (useable)||86.5 kWh|
|Charging capacity (AC)||Standard 11.0 kW On-Board Charger
Optional 22.0 kW On-Board Charger
|Charging capacity (DC)||Up to 155 kW|
|Charging time (AC)||9 hours 15m (3-phase 16a)
4 hours 45m (3-phase 32a)
|Charging time (DC) 10-80%||26 min|
The Audi e-Tron S offers a range of around 344 – 374km using the WLTP scale. Its main competitor, the BMW iX has up to 630km of range on the WLTP scale. In reality, when you consider both cars will never truly reach their optimum range in typical daily driving conditions, we found that the BMW will offer around 200km more range on average.
This is mainly due to its superior battery size of 105.2 kWh (useable) vs. the 86.5 kWh in the Audi. How does this affect the overall weight? The difference is negligible at around 2600-2800kg in each car.
The size of the battery does affect the cars’ charging speeds and the Audi e-Tron S can charge at a maximum of 155kw (DC) from 10-80% in just 26 min. We confirmed this speed when charging at both the Chargefox 350kw DC charger in Goulbourn and the 150kW Evie charger in Sutton Forest (pictured above). Charging at a Chargefox charger in an Audi is free for six years, saving us around $36 AUD. The BMW on the other hand can charge at a higher 200kw speed but takes 10min longer (38mins from 10-80%) due to the larger battery.
Our Real Range Experience
On our trip to Canberra, we saw energy consumption of more than 30kWh/100km with an average of 29.5kWh/100km thanks to cold weather conditions (8 degrees). That results in an absolute (0-100%) range of around 293km or a real range (10-80%) of just 205km.
Utilise the regenerative braking to its max and you’ll easily make it from Sydney to Goulburn or Sutton Forest where you can plug into a fast charger for 30mins and make it to Canberra. You’re not making it to Canberra in one-stop without perfect weather conditions. There are very few places to charge once you actually make it to Canberra so we’d recommend a top-up in most EVs with less than 500km of WLTP range anyway.
Cold temperatures destroy range and our trip back from Canberra to Sydney (with ambient temperatures 10-12 degrees higher) proved that point. We saw an average energy consumption of less than 23kWh/100km on the return leg. This would result in around 60km of extra range, based on temperature alone.
How Does the 2022 Audi e-Tron S Drive?
Pure acceleration and braking aren’t where the 2022 Audi e-Tron S outshines the competition, it’s in the corners. There isn’t another electric SUV on the market that handles like the e-Tron because there isn’t another electric SUV in the Australian market that is built like the e-Tron.
Thanks to its three-motor setup (only found in the ‘S’ model), the quick-responding e-Quattro system lets the two rear motors torque vector from left to right (independently) while also adjusting the split from front to rear as you need it. You don’t have to be driving at ten-tenths to feel the system working either. The chassis asks for more as you tip the car in through switchback corners and the weight transfer is masked by the electronics.
We’re not talking about ‘numb’ electronics either. The feedback through the steering wheel is solid, but it’s a little light-feeling for our taste and seems to make an exaggerated attempt at masking the weight. While the driving dynamics are no match for something like an e-Tron GT or Porsche Taycan, they’re encouraging and fun to drive. Not something you can say about many SUVs, EVs or ICE.
Squeeze the accelerator pedal and the e-Tron does feel quick but it’s no match for the bonkers sub-10sec quarter-mile EVs that seem to be the norm today. Get into the brake pedal and it provides a good feeling that never seems to fade or have trouble bringing the nearly 3-tonne machine to a halt.
In terms of regenerative braking, the 2022 Audi e-Tron S offers three settings from low to high (controlled manually via the paddle shifters on the steering wheel). Unfortunately, the most aggressive setting still doesn’t offer one-pedal driving and you’ll have to use the brakes to bring the car to a stop. We much prefer the regenerative braking in the BMW iX as it utilises the camera system to sense approaching intersections or tight curves that it anticipates from the navigation system.
Ride comfort in the e-Tron is excellent and it utilises the same air suspension found in the SQ5 and SQ7. The car floats over bumps and our ride from Sydney to Canberra couldn’t have been more comfortable. The 22-inch wheels weren’t an issue with almost no trade-off for the good looks they provide.
What’s the Interior Like Inside the 2022 Audi e-Tron S?
The e-Tron S offers maybe our favourite vehicle interior for cars under AUD$200,000. Our loan car was optioned to the moon and included the Sensory package ($9,600) that adds the following.
- Digital Matrix LED headlights with extended light sequencing
- Exterior door entrance LED projector lights with e-Tron logo
- Power-assisted soft close doors
- Heated rear outer seats
- Air quality package
- The upper part of the dashboard and lower interior elements in fine Nappa leather
- Sunshade for rear windows, manual
As well as the high-gloss exterior styling package ($1,600) that adds the following.
- Accents on the Audi Singleframe, trim strips on the side windows, the side door inserts and the front and rear bumpers.
- Exterior mirror housing in high-gloss black
We’d strongly consider the options listed above as we’re not only big fans of the Nappa leather dashboard trim and chunky drive selector that offers a comfortable wrist rest, but the Digital Matrix LED headlights are a must-have. We’ve long said that Audi makes the best lights in the industry and these are their latest showing, with one million pixels, they’re so advanced they can project images onto the road. Something that’s showcased during the start-up sequence as it displays the e-Tron logo in all its glory.
Outside of the Sensory Package and High Gloss Exterior, the other options fitted to our test car included.
- Roof rails in black $1,600
- Inlays in carbon square structure $1,850
- Virtual exterior mirrors $3,500
- Without Audi phone box light* -$481
- Without Electric steering column adjustment* -$650
- Without Tyre pressure monitoring system* -$494
*Due to global component shortages, certain standard and optional equipment are not currently available.
Infotainment System in the 2022 Audi e-Tron S
The infotainment system in the 2022 Audi e-Tron S offers a good mix between innovative technology and familiarity. There are three screens to choose from, one 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment with wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, one 8.0-inch touchscreen for climate controls, and one 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit driver display for driving information.
We love the overall setup, the screens feature haptic feedback that’s satisfying to use and we appreciate how they’re actually contoured into the dashboard rather than stuck on as an afterthought. The climate control screen is intuitive to use and the driver’s display even features 3D mapping, the likes of which will have you leaning away from Carplay and Google Maps in favour of the trick software.
The 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system is one of the best we’ve tried in an SUV of this size, only beaten by the uber-expensive Bentley Bentayga and Jaguar F-Pace SVR we drove last year.
Let’s Talk About Those Virtual Mirrors
Sadly, the Virtual exterior mirrors ($3,500) are something that we could live without. Truth be told they work very well on the freeway when you’re merging one lane across at speed, but you’re left worrying about manoeuvring the e-Tron around on a day-to-day basis.
After a week of driving we taught ourselves to live with them, but merging into 80km/h speed zones and ‘zippering’ into traffic was always rather intimidating. You’re almost forced to take your eyes off the road and head check two or three times to make sure there’s no one coming as the camera is limited to picking up images down the side of the vehicle at a flat angle with a lack of depth of field.
We say ‘almost forced’ because you have to rely on the edges of the screens that illuminate with colour-coded warnings to alert you of approaching vehicles or other potential hazards. Long story short, they’re not for us.
Audi says the addition of the mirrors increases the efficiency and range of the E-Tron by 5.0 per cent compared with standard mirrors and lowers the drag coefficient by 0.02Cd. We’d rather have a larger battery.
Should You Buy the 2022 Audi e-Tron S?
Here’s everything to consider when looking to purchase a 2022 Audi e-Tron S.
How Much Does the Audi e-Tron S Cost?
|2022 Audi e-Tron S Price|
|Cost before on-roads||$168,400 AUD|
|Cost before on-roads as tested||$183,325 AUD|
Pricing for the 2022 Audi e-Tron S Price starts from AUD$168,400 before on-road costs. Our test vehicle featured a number of options that we’d deem necessary with an as-tested price of AUD$183,325 before on-road costs. If you removed some unnecessary options such as Virtual Mirrors, the price would be a more reasonable sub-$180k choice before on roads with a drive-away price closer to $200,000.
The nearest competitor, the BMW iX xDrive50, has recently been hit with a AUD$5,000 price hike and is now priced from AUD$174,900 before on-road costs. Paying the extra cash will get you a car with around 200km more useable range, similar straight-line performance, and an equally impressive cabin. The Audi will offer a more engaging drive and a more ‘car-like’ appearance on both the interior and exterior.
The 2022 Audi e-Tron S comes with the brand’s standard five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, while the battery is covered separately for eight years or 160,000km.
Service intervals are every 24 months or 30,000km, whichever occurs first. Servicing is free for the first six years and the brand offers six years of free DC fast-charging through the Chargefox network.
Our Verdict on the 2022 Audi e-Tron S
Like the Porsche Taycan RWD we drove earlier this year, the 2022 Audi e-Tron S offers one of the best all-around EV packages on the market from a pure driving perspective. It’s a great car to live with on a daily basis thanks to the overall looks, comfort, and technology, but it’s let down in one key category: range and efficiency.
Sadly, we have to think of the e-Tron as the twin-turbo V8 of EVs. Just like a performance car, you’re sacrificing efficiency in a quest for those enhanced dynamics. The Audi e-Tron S is one of the least efficient electric vehicles we’ve tested. While the range is less of an issue around the city, e-Tron S owners who plan to travel longer distances will have to become very familiar with the Plug Share app.