Audi e-tron gets new Q8 designation, a redesign and more range

It’s hard to believe that it has already been four years since Audi launched its first EV – the e-tron – but it’s fair to say it was due an overhaul. Audi has now rebadged and wholly refreshed the car, giving it a new designation, design, tech and a longer range.

Now called the Audi Q8 e-tron, the brand has brought it into line with its other production SUVs from a naming perspective. This, so the brand says, is to mark it out as the flagship EV model among Audi’s SUVs and coupe SUVs. It also has the lesser effect of normalising its EV range, with only the addition of ‘e-tron’ highlighting the electric powertrain.

Alongside the name, Audi has given the car an all-round update and upgrade, with powertrain and styling being the main beneficiaries of the brand’s time.

Powertrain and performance

Three powertrains will be on offer in the Q8 e-tron in both the standard SUV and Sportback. Two are dual-motor, all-wheel drive with the least powerful being the Audi Q8 e-tron 50 which has 335bhp and 490lb-ft. In this guise, an 89kWh (net, 95kWh gross) battery provides a range of up to 281 miles in the SUV and 290 miles in the slightly more aerodynamic Sportback. Zero to 62mph takes six seconds dead.

Moving up to the Q8 e-tron 55 and power goes up to 402bhp whilst maintaining the 490lb-ft figure for torque. Thanks to a new, enormous 106kWh (net, 114kWh gross) battery, the 55 is capable of up to 330 miles for the SUV and 343 miles for the Sportback. Performance is slightly stronger, taking 5.6 seconds to reach 62mph, albeit both the 50 and 55 spec cars are capped at 124mph.

The final powertrain is the tri-motor, all-wheel drive SQ8 e-tron, which has a maximum power output of 496bhp and 718lb-ft, with 0-62mph taking 4.5 seconds and the max speed upped to 130mph. It will do 284 or 295 miles on a charge for the SUV and Sportback respectively.

Audi has upped the charging performance of the e-tron, addressing one of the complaints we had about the previous generation car. On the 89kWh battery, charging can be undertaken at up to 150kW whilst the larger battery can be juiced at up to 170kW, meaning 10 to 80 per cent takes 31 minutes. AC charging is completed via a standard 11kW on-board charger or an optional 22kW variant.

Handling has been enhanced thanks to the inclusion of standard air suspension, enabling the car’s height to be adjusted by 76mm. The suspension has been tuned, too, whilst the electronic stability allows for more adjustability in hard cornering – aided by a revised steering ratio. Finally, rigid suspension bearings mean steering inputs are transmitted more directly.

Exterior design

Audi has tweaked the car’s front end to bring it more into line with other e-tron models, including a new grille, revised LED light clusters and an LED strip at the top of the grille. Aerodynamics have played a bit part in these minor changes, with some more unseen alterations helping the Q8 e-tron SUV achieve a drag coefficient of 0.28 and the Sportback 0.26. These include underbody wheel spoilers which divert air around the wheels. A self-sealing system on the grille joins the electric shutters, enabling better management of airflow.

Overall dimensions are more-or-less the same as the previous gen car meaning plenty of interior space. This includes 569 litres of boot space in the SUV (528 litres in the Sportback) and 62 litres in the frunk.

Interior design and tech

The Q8 gets Audi’s MMI touch response operating system with two high-resolution displays – an upper one at 10.1 inches and a lower one at 8.6 inches – all but replacing switches and knobs. Audi Virtual Cockpit is standard, as is voice control.

Around 40 driver assistance systems are available on the Q8 e-tron, aided by up to five radars, five cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors – depending on what is specified. Remote park assist is a new feature on the Q8, enabling drivers to leave the car and allow it to self-park and shut down on its own. It will move out of a space autonomously, too.

Audi has also improved the Q8’s environmental credentials, with US and European cars leaving the factory effectively carbon neutral. Interior materials now include recycled plastics, fibres and solvent-free materials.

Price and availability 

The new Audi Q8 e-tron is on sale now starting from around £67,800 for the Q8 e-tron 50 Sport. The 55 spec cars start at £77,800 whilst the ultimate SQ8 e-tron starts at £97,500, topping out at £114,500 for the SQ8 Vorsprung. The first deliveries are expected in April 2023.  


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