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First Look: 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron

Flagship model replaces e-tron pioneer.

By Lee Bailie Wheels.ca

Nov 10, 2022 4 min. read

Article was updated 23 days ago

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After four years and more than 150,000 units sold worldwide, Audi is retiring its pioneering e-tron SUV and replacing it with a new model with more range, faster charging, updated styling, and a new high-performance version.

It even gets a new name.

The 2024 Q8 e-tron will serve as the flagship EV SUV for the premium German marque and will be available in SUV and Sportback models with three powertrains. It goes on sale in Europe in the first quarter of 2023 and will arrive in Canada sometime after that. It should be noted that Canada may not receive all Q8 e-tron models.

All powertrains for SUV and Sportback models will feature electric all-wheel drive. The first, available with Q8 50 e-tron, has two electric motors and a battery with a net storage capacity of 89 kWh (95 kWh gross).

This combination will generate up to 335 horsepower (250 kW) and 490 lb-ft (664 Nm) of torque, with a range of 491 kilometres for the SUV and 505 for the Sportback, based on European WLTP testing. Of note, Audi has enhanced the battery’s management system so that it can charge at speeds of up 150 kW when connected to a DC fast charger.

Next up, the Q8 55 e-tron, uses two electric motors and a 106-kWh net storage (114 kWh gross) battery to generate 402 horsepower (300 kW) and 490 lb-ft. (664 Nm) of torque. Projected range (WLTP) is 582 kilometres for the SUV and up to 600 km for the Sportback. Top speed for 50 and 55 models is electronically limited to 200 km/h.

For comparison, the current e-tron Progressiv 55 sold in Canada has the same horsepower and torque output as the Q8 55, but the e-tron’s range is 364 kilometres.

Meanwhile, at the top of the range, the SQ8 e-tron is powered by three electric motors and the same 106 kWh net battery found in the Q8 55 models, but the SQ8 unit can charge at up to speeds of 170 kW. Ten to 80 per cent charging for the bigger battery in the 55 and SQ8 can be done in roughly 31 minutes with fast charging, according to Audi.

In terms of performance, the SQ8 models have an output of 496 horsepower (370 kW) and 717 lb-ft (973 Nm) of torque with a top speed of 210 km/h. Projected range is 494 kilometres for the SUV and 513 for the Sportback.

Mechanically, Audi had modified the electric motors for the Q8 e-tron, by using 14 coils (instead of 12). The motor now generates a stronger magnetic field with a similar electrical input, allowing for more torque. This is a variable set-up, so if more torque isn’t required the motor uses less energy, thus reducing consumption and increasing range.

As for the motors, the SQ8 is the first Audi EV to receive a three-motor set-up, with a 98-kW motor powering each rear wheel, while a 124-kW unit drives the front axle.

On the suspension front, the Q8 e-tron comes with a standard air suspension that can adjust the car’s ride height by up to 76 mm. The Q8 e-tron also has a revised progressive steering system, with a new gear ratio designed for a more dynamic driving feel, and more rigid front axle bearings.

As for space, the SUV has 569 litres of storage, while the Sportback checks in with 528. The front trunk, or “frunk”, offers 62 litres of additional storage space.

In terms of design and content, the Q8 e-tron brings some new brand design elements to market, including new two-dimensional rings logos at the front and rear, new model badging and model lettering and Audi logo etching on the B-pillar where the front and rear doors meet. More generally, the Q8 e-tron carries front and rear styling that will serve as Audi’s electric design language moving forward.

Regarding features, the Q8 e-tron will be available with Matrix LED headlights and a two-part glass panoramic roof, while in the cabin a four-zone climate control package will be offered, along with high-end finishes including optional decorative inlays, porous wood veneers, aluminum (depending on grade) and more. Leather seating, which can be ordered with a massage function, is standard, but some interior trim materials are partially made from recycled plastic bottles.

On the tech front the Q8 e-tron will feature two large HD touchscreens. The upper screen will govern the multimedia / navigations functions (10.1-inch diagonal), while the other, an 8.6-inch diagonal display at the bottom will govern climate controls, replacing many conventional switches and knobs. A third digital screen, the venerable Audi Virtual Cockpit, serves as the Q8 e-tron’s instrument panel.

The 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron goes on sale in 2023. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.

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