It’s been four years since we first drove the Audi E-Tron, and today Audi’s electric SUV is getting both its first major refresh and a name change to go with it. Goodbye, E-Tron, and hello 2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron.
The name change arrives to bring the E-Tron in line with the electric Audi lineup now and into the future. See Q4 E-Tron as an example of what’s to come. Audi further explained the changing of its name in a press conference.
“That is in order to bring E-Tron into Audi’s new naming strategy, which will communicate very simply, very precisely and very clearly for our customers, the prestigious positioning as our highest-level electric SUV.”
What’s more important than what we’re going to call the Q8 E-Tron, though, are all the updates Audi has in store for the flagship SUV. The big news is a dramatic increase in range thanks to a more energy-dense battery pack and efficiency improvements throughout the vehicle. Instead of the 95 kWh battery pack it used previously, the Q8 E-Tron will feature a 114 kWh battery pack. The pack takes up the same physical space in the car, but uses a new stacking technology to stack cells in the pack, filling it more. Audi doesn’t have EPA range ratings to share with us quite yet, but representatives hinted that the number would be over 300 miles. For now, we have WLTP range ratings to look at. The regular Q8 E-Tron is rated at 362 miles, and the Sportback at 373 miles in the typically optimistic WLTP cycle. We expect the Sportback to slightly outpace the regular-shaped Q8 E-Tron here in America, too.
Another big plus for the Q8 E-Tron is its charging performance. Previously, the E-Tron maxed out at 150 kW charging speed on a DC fast charger. For 2024, the Q8 E-Tron will be able to manage 170 kW. This comes thanks to updates made to the battery management system — Audi says the battery can be charged from 10% up to 80% in 31 minutes under ideal conditions.
Also in the realm of powertrain improvements is a modified rear motor. Audi says that instead of 12 coils generating the electromagnetic field, it bumped the number to 14. This results in a stronger magnetic field from a similar electricity input, allowing for more torque and requiring less energy to produce said torque. The base model here in the U.S. will be the dual-motor (AWD) Q8 55 E-Tron. Maximum output in “boost mode” is 402 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque, which is the same as before — it’ll just require less energy to produce said power.
The more powerful SQ8 E-Tron and its three electric motors (two in the rear) produce 496 horsepower and 718 pound-feet of torque, which is the same output as before. The S model gains the same increase in battery pack size as the regular Q8 E-Tron. Just like before, range suffers with the extra power, as the WLTP predictions dip to 307 miles for the standard SQ8 E-Tron and 319 miles for the Sportback version.
Design and styling changes accompany all the new tech for the Q8 E-Tron lineup as a whole. In front, Audi gives the Q8 E-Tron a totally new “3D singleframe” grille and front bumper. The lighting is also revised, as it gains a center light bar that lights up with the fancy, animated daytime running lights. Electric shutters in the grille make up a new self-sealing system in an effort to reduce the drag coefficient. Audi says it’s gone from 0.28 to 0.27 for the standard Q8 E-Tron and from 0.26 to 0.24 for the Sportback. New underbody wheel spoilers aid this effort. Audi uses the new spoilers for all four wheels on the non-S versions, but only in the rear on the S.
The badging and model designation for the Q8 E-Tron mark a new direction for Audi. You’ll notice the four rings are accentuated by an LED backlit glow, but only on the top in a slight nod to subtlety. Starting on the Q8 E-Tron and expanding to all future Audi models is a new model designation on the B-pillar. You’ll be able to identify exactly what version of a model here in stark white text layered on top of the black B-pillar. In the back, the Audi Sport logo accompanies the “Q8,” and “E-Tron” is embossed in the lower rear bumper area.
Under the new appearance is a refreshed suspension. It’s still rocking an air suspension, but Audi says all the control systems were adjusted and the air spring tuning changed. A revised steering system with a new gear ratio is designed to make the steering respond quicker and bring more feedback to the driver. More rigid suspension bearings are said to help feedback, and a revised stability control system is meant to allow for better maneuverability, particularly in tighter corners.
There isn’t a whole lot doing when it comes to an interior refresh for the Q8 E-Tron, but Audi says two new trims are available, one being a brown walnut wood and the other being a sustainable material made from recycled PET bottles. Additional items throughout the interior are made using recycled materials such as the seat belt buckle plastic covers and other plastics. All the seat options feature contrast stitching now, too, and red stitching is newly available as part of an Audi Sport package.
It still features the same dual screen infotainment setup and fully digital instrument cluster as before. Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t get access to other tech advancements other markets get such as the digital side mirrors and Digital Matrix LED headlights, the latter of which is hopefully coming soon. However, when asked, Audi could not provide a timeframe, since it’s still waiting on guidance from the U.S. government.
U.S. pricing isn’t available at this time, but Audi says it expects the new Q8 E-Tron to land on our shores by the end of April 2023. Specific pricing should be available closer to the on-sale date.
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