The aerodynamics is more important for EVs than for gas cars, because it significantly affects the range

The upcoming two new versions of the Audi e-tron/Audi e-tron Sportback, the e-tron S (SUV) and e-tron S Sportback, will be the top of the line models.

The main difference is the use of three electric motors (two at the rear axle and one in the front) for up to 496 bhp (370 kW) boost output and up to 973 Nm (717.6 lb-ft) of torque. The 0-100 km/h (62.1 mph) acceleration of "e-tron S" will be improved to 4.5 seconds.

Today, the German manufacturer shared details about the aerodynamic of the Audi e-tron S models, which include:

  • low drag coefficient (0.28 in e-tron S and 0.26 in e-tron S Sportback)
  • Wheel arch trims (23 mm wider on both sides than on the basic version) with air flow-through as new Audi patent, plus fully enclosed floor pan and controllable cool-air inlet
  • Virtual exterior mirrors with OLED displays in the interior
  • a spoiler edge on its trunk lid improves the airflow direction at the rear
Audi e-tron S Sportback
Audi e-tron S Sportback333

Optimized airflow through the front wheels: air curtains and airflow through wheel arch trims

The controlled airflow at the front wheels is fundamental to the aerodynamics concept. The side air inlets in the front – the air curtains – route the air over a channel in the wheel houses to optimize the airflow to the wheels and the vehicle flank. The airflow through the wheel arch trims serves the same purpose: Narrow horizontal bars in the recesses formed by the widened trims in the front channel the airstream to surround and encapsulate disruptive swirl in the wheel houses.

The upshot is “cleaner” airflow along the vehicle flank with reduced flow losses. The design of the 20-inch wheels as well as the tread and the pattern on the sidewalls of the tires have also been optimized accordingly.

The airflow through the wheel arch trims helps Audi resolve the conflict of objectives between outstanding aerodynamics and sporty looks. For the first time, the brand with the Four Rings is bringing this innovative, patented solution to high-volume automobile production.

The virtual exterior mirrors (cameras and OLED displays) were already introduced in the e-tron in Europe (in the U.S., they are not approved).

According to Audi, replacing the mirrors with reverse cameras improves aerodynamics by around the same amount as the wheel arches. The German manufacturer even said that roughly 3 km (1.9 mi) of WLTP range can be saved by the virtual exterior mirrors.

Another important thing is the underfloor panelling with spoiler elements, which cleanly routes the air around the vehicle and the standard adaptive air suspension, which at high speeds lowers the body up to 26 mm below the standard height in two stages.

"The underfloor together with the aluminum cover plate for the high-voltage battery is enclosed. The bolting points come with bowl-shaped indentations, similar to the dimples on a golf ball."

Finally, the controllable cool-air inlet, also already seen in the e-tron, included in the thermal management system of the vehicle:

"The controllable cool-air inlet is an important component, which also acts as the thermal management control center. It comprises a frame behind the Singleframe with two electrically operated louvers. At speeds between 48 and 160 km/h (29.8 and 99.4 mph) these are usually closed so that the air flows over the hood with virtually no swirl.

If the air conditioning system or the drive components require more cooling air, the louvers open gradually. If the hydraulic wheel brakes are subjected to extremely high loads in exceptional circumstances, the controllable cool-air inlet releases two channels that route air to the front wheel arches. If necessary, the cooling fan is turned on."

Gallery: Audi e-tron S Sportback

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Innovative aerodynamics concept of the Audi e-tron S models

  • Top aerodynamic drag figure of 0.26 for the e-tron S Sportback prototype
  • Wheel arch trims with air flow-through as new Audi patent, plus fully enclosed floor pan and controllable cool-air inlet
  • Virtual exterior mirrors with OLED displays in the interior

Aerodynamics is a key factor in range particularly with all-electric automobiles. Thanks to smart technology innovations, Audi’s sporty SUV coupé achieves a remarkably low drag coefficient figure of 0.26. The sophisticated aerodynamics concept features many innovative detailed solutions.