Premium manufacturer Audi heralded in the age of e-mobility in 2018 with the launch of the Audi e-tron, marking the start of the electric future at the brand with the four rings. Since then, the model has been setting standards in the electric SUV luxury class. The new Audi Q8 e-tron now continues the success story of the electric pioneer. As the top model in the electric SUV and crossover range, it boasts an optimized drive concept, improved aerodynamics, higher charging performance, and expanded battery capacity – increasing the range up to 582 km in the SUV, and up to 600 km in the Sportback (both according to the WLTP). Significant updates, especially in the front of the vehicle, lend the new SUV flagship a fresher appearance.
Audi heralded in its electric future around four years ago with the launch of the Audi e-tron. Since, the company has stuck to its sustainability roadmap, boasting an eight-model-strong electric portfolio. By 2026, there will be over 20 and from then, Audi will only launch all-electric models to the global market. “With our Vorsprung 2030 corporate strategy, we have set a fixed date for phasing out the internal combustion engine, making a clear decision that Audi will be an all-electric brand in as little as eleven years,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “With its increased efficiency and range, as well as its sharpened design, the new Audi Q8 e-tron is another important element in our e-portfolio to help get people excited about e-mobility with emotive models that are suitable for everyday use,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Head of Technical Development at Audi, also highlighting the increased customer benefits the improvements provide. “We were once again able to significantly increase both battery capacity and charging power in the new Q8 e-tron. By doing so, we optimized the balance between energy density and charging capacity to ensure greater efficiency,” says Hoffmann. “We’ve also enhanced the motors, the progressive steering, and the suspension control systems, sharpening Audi’s typical dynamic driving characteristics in all Q8 e-tron derivatives.”
Audi offers the new Q8 e-tron as a classic SUV and a dynamically styled Sportback, that combines the spaciousness of an SUV with the elegant lines of a large coupé. Standing 4,915 mm in length, 1,937 mm wide, and 1,619 mm (Sportback) or 1,633 mm (SUV) tall, the Q8 e-tron offers maximum space and comfort. The SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron are both two millimeters flatter and 39 mm wider.
The 2,928 mm wheelbase means that even rear seat occupants have plenty of legroom. At 569 liters (528 l in the Sportback), the luggage compartment volume is also generous. Additionally, there are 62 liters in the front luggage compartment or “frunk” also.
New face, new name, and new corporate identity
The model name, Q8, positions the model at the top of Audi’s nomenclature, making a clear statement that the Audi Q8 e-tron is the leading model in the electric SUV and crossover range. At first glance, there is no mistaking that the Audi Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron are all-electric models: the new front and rear design, which systematically build on Audi’s electric design language, make this clear.As a prestigious electric Audi SUV, the Q8 e-tron introduces the new corporate identity with a two-dimensional, no-frills design of the four rings. The model name in Audi lettering on the B-pillar is also new.To ensure the new family logo has an even more striking appearance on the front, Audi will now use the Singleframe light spoiler to highlight the four rings as a central element and showcase the vehicle face on request.
Three drive variants
Three versions with electric all-wheel drive are available for each of the two body styles: Both motors in the base models of the Audi Q8 50 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback 50 e-tron have an output of 250 kW in boost mode with 664 Nm of torque and a range of up to 491 km (SUV) and 505 km (Sportback).
Both motors in the Audi Q8 55 e-tron and the Audi Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron have an output of 300 kW in boost mode with 664 Nm of torque. The range according to the WLTP is up to 582 km for the SUV and up to 600 km for the Sportback. Like the Q8 50 e-tron the top speed is fixed at 200 km/h.
The top models Audi SQ8 e-tron are powered by three motors that deliver a boost power of 370 kW and 973 Nm of torque.
The range for the S models: up to 494 km for the SUV, and up to 513 km for the Sportback. The top speed is fixed at 210 km/h.
More battery capacity and higher charging power
Two battery sizes are available: in the Q8 50 e-tron, the battery has a storage capacity of 89-kilowatt hours net (gross: 95 kWh), while the two more powerful versions, the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron, have a net 106 kWh (gross: 114 kWh). Cell technology and cell chemistry have also seen improvements; during production the individual cells are layered using stacking technology, which results in an up to 20 percent higher energy density in the same space. The battery capacity available to customers has also been increased by updating the battery management system.
At a high-power charging station (HPC), the Audi Q8 50 e-tron reaches a maximum charging power of 150 kW. For the Q8 55 e-tron and the SQ8 e-tron, the maximum charging power has increased up to 170 kW. For both battery sizes, this means the battery can charge from 10 to 80 percent during a charging stop of around 31 minutes. In ten minutes at an HPC charging station, the Q8 50 e-tron and Q8 55 e-tron can recharge to a range of 123 km, while the SQ8 e-tron recharges to 104 km. What’s more, the Audi Q8 e-tron impresses with a charging curve, unique in its competitive environment, which runs at a high level for a very long time, allowing the battery to rapidly recharge to long ranges. This makes the Audi Q8 e-tron highly suitable for long-distance driving. At an AC charging station or a Wallbox, the Audi Q8 e-tron charges with up to 11 kW of power; Audi also offers an optional AC charging capacity of 22 kW. With AC power, the Audi Q8 50 e-tron can charge under ideal conditions in close to 9.15 hours (22 kW: close to 4.45 hours). The large battery takes around 11.30 hours with 11 kW and approximately 6.00 hours with 22 kW of charging power.
In the Audi Q8 e-tron, the Plug & Charge function comes as standard. At compatible charging stations, the vehicle automatically authorizes and activates the station when the charging cable is plugged in – billing is also automatic.
The new Audi charging service, launching in 2023 and replacing the existing e-tron Charging Service, will provide convenient access to charging points throughout Europe. Around 400,000 public charging points can be used in 27 countries from January 2023, with the service to expand to a total of 29 countries, including Germany, by mid-2023.
The e-tron route planner provides drivers with reliable support in finding charging points along the route. For an accurate calculation of the current range, the algorithm supplements recent consumption data with additional data from the Audi Q8 e-tron route planner. This means the system considers the weather, traffic conditions, and topography along the planned route, whilst also providing preference to high-power charging (HPC) stations to minimize charging times.
Revised rear-axle motors
The new Audi Q8 e-tron is equipped with electric motors on both axles that operate as asynchronous machines. The current flow in the stator windings creates a magnetic field around the axis of the rotor, pulling it along. A major advantage of operating this way: if there is no flow of current, the motors do not produce any electrical drag losses and are therefore highly efficient. This engine concept was modified on the rear axle for the new Audi Q8 e-tron.
Instead of 12, 14 windings now generate the electric magnetic field. With identical current input, the motor thus generates a stronger magnetic field, which in turn ensures higher engine torque. If it’s not expended, the electric motor requires less current to build up torque, reducing consumption and increasing range.
Electric torque vectoring for improved dynamics
In the e-tron range’s S model, Audi used a three-motor concept for the first time in large-scale production; the same is also used in the new SQ8 e-tron. A 124 kW electric motor drives the front axle whilst on the rear axle, two electric motors each with 98 kW of output, each separately power a rear wheel. This makes for up to 370 kW of boost output, which gives the almost five-meter-long SUV the acceleration of a sports car. In addition to acceleration, the drive concept shows its strengths on winding roads – the two rear electric motors distribute the drive torque variably between the rear wheels in a fraction of a second, giving drivers a high degree of agility, improving handling, and increasing traction even on slick roads.
Ideal balance of comfort and sportiness
The new Audi Q8 e-tron is equipped with standard air suspension and controlled damping. This allows the vehicle to configure to different road conditions, and the ride height can be adapted by a total of 76 mm depending on the driving situation. The air suspension has also been tuned for optimized lateral dynamics.
Plus, the electronic stabilization control (ESC) system now offers even more leeway – especially on sharp curves. The Audi Q8 e-tron is noticeably more agile thanks to its enhanced progressive steering, whilst the ratio of the steering gear has been updated for a much more direct steering response to even the slightest of movements – drivers possess even more agile control for effortless, precise maneuvering through curves. The effect of this more direct steering ratio is enhanced through a stiffer front axle bearing, which applies steering movements more directly to the wheels and also improves steering response feedback.
All involved suspension control systems have been adapted accordingly, but in keeping with Audi’s DNA, they nevertheless maintain their balance and precise calibration. “When you drive an Audi, you should be able to feel Audi – through consistent, typical driving characteristics,” says Head of Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann.
“The customer should be able to have an unmistakable experience of the genetics of the Audi driving experience.” The result is a luxury SUV that impresses with quietness and comfort in the city as well as on both short- and long-distance drives, and on winding mountain roads with lateral dynamics and sporty handling.
Further improved aerodynamics
Aerodynamic drag is one of the main driving frictions that cars have to overcome, especially at higher speeds. This is particularly noticeable in electric vehicles, where it impacts consumption and range. With the Audi Q8 e-tron, aerodynamics was therefore a top priority. The result is a reduction in the drag coefficient cw from 0.26 to 0.24 for the Q8 Sportback e-tron and from 0.28 to 0.27 for the Q8 e-tron. The wheels have a significant impact on its aerodynamic drag and wheel spoilers on the underbody help divert the airflow around the wheels. The front-axle spoilers have been enlarged; the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron now also uses spoilers in front of the rear wheels whilst on the SQ8 Sportback e-tron, spoilers are mounted on the rear axle only. This is the first Audi model to use a self-sealing system in the area around the radiator grille to supplement the electric louvers that automatically close the radiator, further optimizing airflow on the front end of the car, preventing unwanted losses.
Convenient parking with remote park assist plus
The Audi Q8 e-tron provides drivers with approximately 40 driver assistance systems: up to five radar sensors, five cameras, and twelve ultrasonic sensors supply the central driver assistance controller with environmental information for analysis. A new feature is remote park assist plus, which will be available for order during 2023 – with its help, the Audi Q8 e-tron can maneuver into even the tightest of parking spaces and customers can control the parking maneuver using the myAudi app on their smartphones.
Once the car has reached its final position in the parking space, it automatically switches off, activates the parking brake, and locks the doors. When the driver is ready to leave the parking space, they can power on the motor in the myAudi app, at which point the vehicle maneuvers out enough so they can exit comfortably.
Digital Matrix LED headlights
The Q8 e-tron comes optionally with Digital Matrix LED headlights; dispersed into 1.3 million pixels per headlight, the light can be controlled with high precision, which enables a number of new functions. On highways, the orientation light marks the car’s position in its lane, helping the driver to stay safely centered in their lane. Three new functions are also included: advanced traffic information, a lane light with direction indicator lights, and an orientation light on country roads. The Digital Matrix LED headlights encompass DMD technology, which stands for digital micromirror device, originally used in video projectors. At its core is a small chip with roughly 1.3 million micromirrors with edges only a few hundredths of a millimeter long.
The comfort features in the Audi Q8 e-tron are typical of the brand’s luxury-class models. The panoramic glass roof, which opens and closes electrically, makes the interior even brighter, enhancing its light and spacious appearance and the light-tight sunblinds are just as convenient to operate. When open, the two-part panorama glass roof improves the interior climate through efficient ventilation and an integrated wind deflector reduces wind noise.
As an alternative to the standard two-zone automatic air conditioning, Audi offers four-zone automatic air conditioning and the air quality package, ensuring first-class air quality with an ionizer and adjustable fragrancing. A three-stage ventilation system makes for highly comfortable seating, even at hot outside temperatures – the system is now available for standard leather seats, which feature high-detail perforation. With their numerous seat and backrest adjustment options, the individual contour seats are the apex of the program, including a massage function on request, in which ten pneumatic cushions relax the occupant’s back muscles in seven selectable programs and three intensities, essential on long trips in particular.
All equipment versions include decorative inlays in a choice of open-pore wood veneers, such as grained ash, sycamore wood or aluminum and for the first time, the S line variant and the Edition S line also offer an optional carbon structure. New additions to the range include light brown walnut wood and a sustainable technical fabric made from recycled PET bottles, plus the Audi Sport stitching package in red adds high-end accents to the sports seats, steering wheel, knee pad, and door armrests with colored stitching. Edged in red, the seat belts are another interior highlight and the interior is rounded off with optional stainless steel pedals.
High-resolution touch displays and voice control
Like all luxury-class models from Audi, the Q8 e-tron incorporates the MMI touch response operating system. The two large, high-resolution displays – the upper with a 10.1-inch, the lower with an 8.6-inch diagonal – replace almost all switches and controls typically seen in cars. Operation is fast and safe: when the driver activates a function with their finger, the system confirms with haptic and acoustic feedback. In addition to operation via the two touch displays, many functions can be activated using natural voice control.
The digital display and operating concept in the Audi Q8 e-tron is rounded off with the standard Audi virtual cockpit with full HD resolution. Specific graphics display key parameters for electric driving, from charging power to range. Upon request, an optional head-up display supplements the displays.
The Audi Q8 e-tron offers an extensive range of infotainment and connectivity features. For the German market, the Audi Q8 e-tron comes standard with MMI Navigation plus, including a Media Center which supports the fast LTE Advanced transmission standard with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers’ mobile devices.
The navigation system offers intelligent destination suggestions based on previously driven routes and the Audi connect Navigation and Infotainment package includes car-to-X services, by allowing the Audi Q8 e-tron to take advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.
The Audi Q8 e-tron will reach customers in Europe and the United States as a certified, net carbon-neutral1 car. From as early as 2025, all Audi plants will operate with net zero emissions1; Brussels already achieved this distinction in 2018, whilst Győr, and Böllinger Höfe did in 2020. On top of that, Audi works with recycled materials in some components for the Audi Q8 e-tron, recovered via a recycling process, to save resources and ensure a closed material cycle that is both efficient and sustainable. In the interior of the Audi Q8 e-tron, recyclates are used for carpets as well as in insulation and damping materials.
The decorative inlay (the tech layer above the display) is available with a novel, anthracite tech fabric made partly from recycled PET bottles. In the S line equipment package, the sports seats are upholstered with Dinamica microfiber material and artificial leather; consisting of up to 45 percent polyester fibers, Dinamica still looks and feels like suede. The fibers used are obtained from recycled PET bottles, old textiles, or residual fibers. In contrast to the previous microfiber quality, the production of Dinamica is also solvent-free – a further contribution to environmental protection.
This also marks the first time that safety-relevant components are used which have been produced in part from mixed automotive plastic waste via a chemical recycling process: the plastic covers of seatbelt buckles. As part of the PlasticLoop project, Audi and plastics manufacturer LyondellBasell took the findings from a pilot project and established an innovative process that will employ chemical recycling for the first time to reuse mixed automotive plastic waste for the series production of the Audi Q8 e-tron. For this process, the two companies will first dismantle plastic components from customer vehicles that are beyond repair, then clean the components of foreign materials, such as metal clips, before being shredded and processed via chemical recycling into pyrolysis oil, which is then used as a raw material for the production of new plastics using a mass-balance2 approach. The plastic granulate obtains is used for the production of the Q8 e-tron seatbelt buckle covers. In this way, Audi and its project partner have succeeded in cycling another material stream, which today is usually only suitable for energy recovery. This allows Audi to use fossil raw materials for longer and reduce the purchase of additional primary materials for the Q8 e-tron accordingly. The components made from pyrolysis oil have the same high quality and technical properties as virgin materials. As such, chemical recycling represents a viable alternative to energy recovery and complements Audi’s mechanical recycling efforts.
Market launch in the spring of 2023
The market launch for the new Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron is scheduled for late February 2023 in Germany, and the most important European markets. The model is scheduled to hit the U.S. market at the end of April. The SQ8 e-tron/SQ8 Sportback e-tron will be launched in Europe at the end of May. The base price for the Audi Q8 e-tron in Germany starts at €74,400.
1 Audi understands net-zero carbon emissions to mean a situation in which, after other possible reduction measures have been exhausted, the company offsets the carbon emitted by Audi’s products or activities and/or the carbon emissions that currently cannot be avoided in the supply chain, manufacturing, and recycling of Audi vehicles through voluntary offsetting projects carried out worldwide. In this context, carbon emissions generated during a vehicle’s utilization stage, i.e., from the time it is delivered to the customer, are not considered.
2 At least 70 percent of the plastic granulate for the seatbelt buckle covers (including fillers and additives) consists of the pyrolysis oil produced through the project. This pyrolysis oil was secured through the plastic granulate manufacturing process. The assignment of the waste-based pyrolysis oil is carried out within the framework of a mass-balance approach with a qualified credit transfer. This means that ecocycle, an independent external certification agency, confirms that the project members have replaced the amounts of fossil resources required for the seatbelt buckle covers with pyrolysis oil produced from mixed automotive plastic materials. It is intended to provide sufficient pyrolysis oil in the aforementioned volume for the entire production run of the Q8 e-tron on the basis of the currently planned production figures.
All terms marked in the text are explained in detail in the technology lexicon at www.audi-mediacenter.com/en/technology-lexicon. The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.