Audi's first electric SUV, the 2019 e-tron, has yet to launch, but the company's performance arm, Audi Sport, is hard at work on a faster, performance-oriented model that could arrive as soon as late next year.
The original e-tron quattro concept showed off a three-motor electric powertrain back in 2015, and it's likely Audi Sport engineers, the folks who bring us the RS and R8 models, are the ones adapting the layout to a rear-wheel-biased all-wheel-drive system for a hotter e-tron in about year. Audi could call the model an e-tron S, which would fall in line with its performance nomenclature used across its lineup.
In the concept vehicle, the e-tron's three-motor system featured on motor up front and two for the rear axle. Total output was 496 horsepower and a whopping 590 pound-feet of torque. In comparison, the 2019 e-tron makes 356 hp combined, but a boost function will increase power to 402 hp for eight seconds at a time.
2019 Audi e-tron first drive - Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018
Audi claimed performance estimates of 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds and a governed top speed of 130 mph for its concept. The regular production e-tron will scoot to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is quick but much slower than the Tesla Model X. The three-motor setup should provide incredibly versatile torque vectoring, too.
Audi Sport is also developing its electric car performance muscles with the upcoming e-tron GT sedan, which is due in 2021 but should like much like what we recently saw at the LA Auto Show.
The e-tron SUV is available for order now with a $1,000 refundable deposit. The electric SUV starts at $75,795 and will reach U.S. shores next spring.