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Audi E-Tron's Assault On Tesla Model X Is Heating Up

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It could adopt a three-motor setup and generate over 600 horsepower.

With the Audi e-tron now on sale, it's only a matter of time before the automaker unleashes a more powerful version of its first-ever fully electric SUV. We got a first look at a high-performance e-tron prototype undergoing winter testing a few months ago, and now a pair of prototypes have been spotted being taken for a high-speed run at the Nurburgring. Allegedly, Audi's new performance-focused electric SUV will be called the e-tron quattro S to match the naming of its other performance models.

To distinguish it from the regular e-tron, we can see the quattro S version has a sportier look, with a more aggressive grille, larger intakes, wider wheels and tires, and a different rear diffuser. It's also sporting some massive brakes behind the black wheels to give the speedy SUV plenty of stopping power, as well as lower suspension.

The standard e-tron sends power to all four wheels via two electric motors, with one at the front and one at the rear, powered by a 95-kWh battery pack. The powertrain produces a combined 402 horsepower enabling the e-tron to do the 0-62 mph sprint in 5.5 seconds. According to our sources, the upgraded S model will get a three-motor setup, with one at the front and two on the rear axle.

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This could generate a combined output of 640 hp in theory, but adding this much power could hamper the e-tron's range. An increase to around 500-550 hp seems more likely, since the e-tron's 200-mile range has already been criticized. To prevent this, the S version could have a larger battery pack, but this would inevitably add extra weight. No word yet when the performance-focused e-tron will be unveiled, but we're expecting it to arrive before the end of the year and be sold as a 2020 model.