First Look: Audi Q8 e-tron
Markus Duesmann, Audi AG’s chairman of the board

If you liked the e-tron, Audi’s first EV released in 2018, odds are you’ll love its replacement, the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron.

The new Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron will become the automaker’s new flagship battery-electric flagship SUVs, replacing the e-tron and e-tron S in the line-up. 

Audi is expecting to sell more than 20 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2026, after which it no longer plans to release vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Audi’s fully electric portfolio currently comprises eight models, including the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron introduced in September.

“The new Audi Q8 e-tron, with its improved efficiency and range and refined design, is another important component in our electric portfolio to get people excited about electromobility with emotional models that are suitable for everyday use,” said Markus Duesmann, chairman of the board of Audi AG. “With our corporate strategy ‘Vorsprung 2030,’ we’ve set a fixed date for our withdrawal from combustion engines and clearly decided that Audi will be a fully electric brand within 11 years.”

Audi’s design makeover

Although the new Q8 e-tron is an evolution of the present day e-tron SUV, it debuts new styling that exchanges Audi’s usual eloquent, elegant simplicity for a visually noisier design aesthetic on its front fascia. S trim models have a body-colored grille. Digital Matrix LED headlights are optional. In the rear, the design is far more prosaic. Audi has also added its name to the model’s B-Pillar, just in case you forget your car’s name. 

Audi’s rear styling is a lot less fussy than its revised fascia design.

The Q8 e-tron new vehicle measures 193.5 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 63.7 inches tall riding on a 115.3-inch wheelbase. SQ8 and SQ8 Sportback trim are 0.08 inches lower and 1.5 inches wider than other Q8s. Cargo space in is fairly good, measuring 20.1 cubic feet in the Q8, 18.6 cubic feet in the Q8 Sportback.

Inside, you’ll find the cabin boasts a large two-piece glass Panoramic roof, four-zone automatic climate control ventilated seating, and wood, aluminum or on S models, carbon fiber trim.

Audi employs recycled materials for carpets, dampening, and insulation. The S line’s sport seats are covered in synthetic leather and the Dinamica microfiber that have polyester fibers fashioned from recycled PET bottles, worn clothing, and fiber waste. Additionally, a number of safety-related parts, such the plastic coverings for seatbelt buckles, are made in part from mixed automotive plastic renants.

Being a flagship BEV, Audi equipped the A8 e-tron with a standard digital instrument cluster, as you’d expect. A head-up display is optional. It’s also fitted with two large standard high-resolution touchscreens that replace nearly all conventional controls. The top one measures 10.1 inches, the other 8.6 inches. Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus is standard, recommends destinations based on previously traveled routes and comes with car-to-X services.

The Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron ups the ante with a larger battery pack and 402 hp, 490 lb-ft of torque and up to 373 miles of range.

Power to the people

Audi will offer the Q8 e-trons with standard quattro all-wheel drive, and either a 95 kWh or 114 kWh battery pack, with the U.S. getting the latter. 

That means we won’t see the dual-motor Audi Q8 50 e-tron and the Audi Q8 Sportback 50 e-tron, which will be offered elsewhere with 335 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Audi says the Q8 e-tron has 305 miles of range, with the Sportback providing 314 miles, although all range estimates use WLTP standards, which are less accurate than EPA ratings, so those numbers are more likely to be closer to 250-mile range.

Our base model will be the Q8 55 e-tron and Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron, which ups the ante with a larger battery pack and 402 hp, 490 lb-ft of torque and up to 362 miles of range in the SUV, and 373 miles of range in the Sportback, according to WLTP test cycles.

The U.S. will also get the three-motor Audi SQ8 e-tron and Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron, which provides the most grunt: 496 hp and 718 lb-ft of torque. But range is lower, with 307 miles for the former, and 319 miles for the latter. This comes courtesy of a 124-kW electric motor on the front axle, and two 98-kW electric motors on the rear axle. 

Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron, left, and Q8 e-tron.

Regardless, all models are a noticeable improvement from the current e-tron’s 222 miles of range.

Audi Q8 e-tron comes standard with an air-spring suspension that allows the height to be adjusted by up to 3 inches. The company says it revised the steering for quicker response and better feedback. 

“In the new Q8 e-tron, we were able to significantly increase both battery capacity and charging performance. This allowed us to achieve an optimal balance between energy density and charging capacity, as well as to increase efficiency,” said Oliver Hoffman, Audi board member for Technical Development. “On top of that, we improved the motors, progressive steering, and chassis control systems – and thus the dynamic driving characteristics that are typical of Audi in all versions of the Q8 e-tron.”

Ordering is anticipated to open in mid-November, with sales planned to start in February 2023 in Europe, priced at €74,400 ($74,518). By comparison, the 2023 Audi e-tron starts at $71,995.