Audi introduced its flagship electric SUV e-tron in 2018. The new Audi Q8 e-tron builds on the success of that electric pioneer (sales of some 150,000 units) with an optimized drive concept, improved aerodynamics, higher charging performance, and battery capacity and increased range of up to 582 kilometers (362 miles) in the SUV version (WLTP) and up to 600 kilometers (373 miles) in the Sportback version (WLTP). Significant changes, especially at the front of the vehicle, lend the new flagship SUV a fresher appearance.
With a vehicle length of 4.915 meters, a width of 1.937 meters, and a height of 1.619 meters for the Sportback and 1.633 meters for the SUV, the Q8 e-tron offers a maximum amount of space and comfort. The SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron are each two millimeters lower and 39 millimeters wider. Its wheelbase of 2.928 meters allows for a lot of legroom in the back seats too. It has a storage volume of 569 liters for the SUV and 528 liters for the Sportback. There are also 62 liters available in the frunk.
Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron quattro, Audi Q8 e-tron quattro
For both body shapes, three drivetrain variants with electric all-wheel drive can be selected.
With their two motors, the base models of the Audi Q8 50 e-tron and the Audi Q8 Sportback 50 e-tron generate 250 kW in boost mode and 664 N·m of torque, and they get a range of up to 491 km (305 miles) (SUV) and up to 505 km (314 miles) (Sportback), in accordance with the WLTP.
With their two motors, the Audi Q8 55 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron generate 300 kW in boost mode and 664 N·m of torque. Their ranges are up to 582 km (362 miles) for the SUV and up to 600 km (373 miles) for the Sportback, in accordance with the WLTP. Their top speed, and that of the Q8 50 e-tron, is limited to 200 km/h.
The top-end Audi SQ8 e-tron and Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron are powered by three motors. Their boost performance amounts to 370 kW and 973 N·m of torque. The range of the S models is up to 494 km (307 miles) for the SUV and up to 513 km (319 miles) for the Sportback. Their top speed is limited to 210 km/h.
Two battery sizes can be selected. The battery of the Q8 50 e-tron has a storage capacity of 89 net kWh (95 gross kWh), while the more powerful versions of the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron have 106 net kWh (114 gross kWh). Due to an adjustment to the battery management system, the battery capacity usable for customers has increased as well.
At a high-powered charging station, the Audi Q8 50 e-tron reaches a maximum charging performance of 150 kW. With the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron, the maximum charging performance increases to up to 170 kW. The big battery can be charged from ten to 80% during a roughly 31-minute charging stop; under ideal conditions, this corresponds to a range of up to 420 kilometers (according to WLTP). At an AC charging station or wallbox, the Audi Q8 e-tron charges at up to 11 kW. Audi offers an optional AC charging performance of up to 22 kW.
Under ideal conditions, the Audi Q8 50 e-tron can completely charge in around nine hours and 15 minutes (22kW: around four hours and 45 minutes) using alternating current. The big battery’s numbers are around 11 hours and 30 minutes at 11 kW and six hours at 22 kW.
The Audi Q8 e-tron comes standard with the Plug & Charge function. At compatible charging stations, the vehicle authorizes itself when inserting the charging cable and activates the charging point. Billing happens automatically. The new charging service Audi charging, which is set to launch in 2023 and will in the future replace the existing e-tron Charging Service, will allow for convenient access to around 400,000 public charging points across Europe. The e-tron route planner provides reliable support when searching for charging points along your route.
Revised rear-axle motor and electric torque vectoring for better dynamics. For the new Audi Q8 e-tron, the asynchronous motor concept on the rear axle was modified. Instead of 12 coils generating the electromagnetic field, there are now 14. The motor consequently generates a stronger magnetic field with similar electricity input, which in turn allows for more torque. If this isn’t needed, the electric motor requires less energy to generate torque. This lowers consumption and increases range. With the e-tron range’s S model, Audi used a three-motor concept for the first time in large-scale production.
This was refined for the new SQ8 e-tron. A 124-kW electric motor is at work on the front axle. On the rear axle, there are two electric motors each with 98 kW of output that each separately power a rear wheel. This allows for a boost performance of up to 370 kW. The drive torque can be distributed across both rear electric motors between both wheels within a split second.
Suspension. The new Audi Q8 e-tron comes standard with an air-spring suspension with controlled shock absorption. The height of the car body can be varied by a total of 76 millimeters (3 inches), depending on the driving situation. To optimize the lateral dynamics of the vehicle, its air-spring tuning was adjusted.
Moreover, its electronic stability control (ESC) will allow for even more maneuverability in the future—especially in tight corners. The Audi Q8 e-tron handles these with noticeably more agility thanks to its revised progressive steering.
The gear ratio of the steering system was changed so that the steering responds much more quickly, even when making delicate steering movements. The effect of the direct steering ratio is supported by more rigid suspension bearings on the front axle. Steering movements are thus transmitted to the wheels more directly, and feedback from steering reactions is improved as well. All the chassis control systems were adjusted, but they remain balanced and perfectly attuned.
Further improved aerodynamics. With the Audi Q8 e-tron, aerodynamics was a top priority. This resulted in a reduction of the drag coefficient from 0.26 to 0.24 cw for the Q8 Sportback e-tron and from 0.28 to 0.27 cw for the Q8 e-tron. The wheel spoilers mounted on the underbody help divert airflow around the wheels. The spoilers on the front axle were enlarged, and the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron now has spoilers on the rear wheels as well. With the SQ8 Sportback e-tron, spoilers are only mounted on the rear axle. In the area around the grille, this is the first time an Audi model has had a self-sealing system in addition to the electric shutters that automatically close the radiator. This system further optimizes the airflow at the front of the car and prevents undesired losses.
Convenient parking with remote park assist plus. There are around 40 driver assistance systems available in the Audi Q8 e-tron. Up to five radar sensors, five cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors provide environmental information that’s then analyzed by the central driver assistance control unit. New is remote park assist plus, which will be available to order starting in 2023.
With its help, the Audi Q8 e-tron can maneuver into even the tightest parking spaces. Customers can control the parking procedure through the myAudi app on their smartphones. When the car reaches its final position in the parking space, it automatically switches off, puts on the parking brake, and locks the doors. To leave the parking space, the motor is powered on through the myAudi app, then the vehicle maneuvers out enough for comfortable entry.
Recycled materials. The Audi Q8 e-tron will be certified as net-carbon-neutral for customers in Europe and the USA. Audi also uses recycled materials for some components in the Audi Q8 e-tron. These materials, treated through a recycling process, reduce the amount of resources used and ensure a closed, efficient and sustainable material loop.
In the interior of the Audi Q8 e-tron, Audi uses recycled materials for insulation and damping, as well as for carpeting. The decorative inlay above the display, called the Tech Layer, is available with a new anthracite-colored technical material that’s partially composed of recycled PET bottles. With the S line equipment package, the sport seats are upholstered in synthetic leather and the microfiber material Dinamica. Dinamica is made from up to 45% polyester fibers that are manufactured from recycled PET bottles, used textiles and fiber residue. In contrast to previous microfiber quality, the production of Dinamica is also solvent-free.
Furthermore, some safety-related components that partially comprise mixed automotive plastic waste treated through a chemical recycling process are used for the first time—specifically, the plastic covers for the seatbelt buckles. As part of the PlasticLoop project, Audi worked with the plastics manufacturer LyondellBasell to establish a process in which chemical recycling will be used for the first time to reuse mixed automotive plastic waste in the series production of the Audi Q8 e-tron.
In this process, jointly implemented with LyondellBasell, plastic components from customer vehicles that can no longer be repaired are dismantled and separated from foreign materials such as metal clips before being shredded and processed into pyrolysis oil through chemical recycling. This pyrolysis oil is then used as a raw material in the production of new plastics in a mass-balance approach.
Market launch in spring 2023. The market launch of the new Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron, which will be available to order starting in mid-November, is planned to happen at the end of February 2023 in Germany and the most important European markets. In the US, the model is expected to come to the market at the end of April. The base price for the Audi Q8 e-tron in Germany will be €74,400.