The electric car is taking some time to win over a car-buying general public that remains as sceptical about it in some quarters as it is evangelical in others – but as the technology develops, it is making headway.
We’re now seeing them as effective, reasonably priced, full-sized family cars; as desirable superminis and compact crossovers; and as luxury saloons. And while plenty have for quite a few years been performance cars of a kind, we’re also now starting to see a few convincing examples of the EV as driver’s car.
This week’s road test subject undoubtedly defines itself as such. With the E-tron S quattro, Audi is using its ‘S’ fast-car model identifier on an EV for the first time. It was nearly 30 years ago that Ingolstadt first used ‘S’ as a special model prefix, on the 100-based S4. It has since been adopted, in prolific quantities, by four-wheel-drive performance versions of cars as different as the A1 supermini, TT coupé and Q7 SUV.
This Audi ‘S express’ has enough outright torque to put even the mighty RS Q8 in the shade, though – and it also uses electric motors in a way unlike any electric car of its type. Fully independent and asymmetrical, motor-per-corner torque vectoring has long promised to be the trump card that electric cars might use to convince keen drivers that electric motoring could be for them.
Until now, it’s been a card that the mass-produced, relatively attainable electric car had still to play, appearing only on super-exotic battery-powered options like the Rimac Concept One, Mercedes-AMG SLS Electric Drive and forthcoming Lotus Evija.