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Audi's tri-motor E-Tron S electric cars will be ready to drift

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Audi

Electric cars tend to handle well thanks to a low center of gravity and instant torque, but they aren't usually light on their feet and can be harder to drift unless they're appropriately tuned. Audi, however, believes it can bring back that liveliness without compromising on what makes EVs special. It has detailed the S variants of the E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback, noting that they'll be the first mass-produced EVs with three motors -- one large motor producing a typical 124kW (150kW boost) at the front and two smaller rear motors that produce a combined 196kW (264kW boost). The results are livelier vehicles whose torque vectoring not only helps them take corners faster, but can produce "controlled drifts" on demand. If you're comfortable throwing an expensive SUV sideways, it's an option.

The tri-motor layout should help even if you're putting about on your daily commute. That vectoring also improves traction by shifting the rear torque to the wheel with the most grip. Your car shouldn't squirrel around as much when you drive over an ice patch or puddle.

Audi didn't provide an update on when the E-Tron S models will be ready or how much they'll cost, although they should be part of the 2021 model year. Even more powerful RS editions should arrive in calendar 2021. You probably won't mistake these for supercars when both E-Tron S cars will hit 62MPH in 4.5 seconds (versus the sub-3 second times of Tesla's best Model S and X versions). They might, however, prove that you don't have to give up excitement just because you want an eco-friendly people carrier.