It’s been three years since Audi first introduced the ‘e-Tron’ badge with the e-Tron SUV back in 2019. Since then, the same moniker has graced seven other electric Audis (e-Tron GT sedan, Q4 e-Tron, etc), causing confusion among buyers. But what felt like a lack of foresight into Audi’s electric line-up naming strategy now seems to have been resolved, with the original e-Tron SUV getting rechristened as the Q8 e-Tron along with the Q8 e-Tron Sportback variant respectively.
The facelift which was unveiled yesterday comes with a host of changes, including fresh styling, better range and faster recharge times. Other technical, but major changes include improvements to the rear-axle motor, standard air suspension, improved aerodynamics and what Audi claims to be a “greener manufacturing process.”
Starting with the design, the 2024 Q8 e-Tron facelift gets a completely redesigned front inverted grilled, with air dams on either aide. The new grille which now visually links with the e-Tron GT and Q4 e-Tron features a light bar over the Audi logo, connecting the sleek headlights. The iconic four rings are now lasered into the front bumper, which looks rather err…unique.
Of course, as we mentioned earlier, the visual changes are only half the story, with special attention being paid to aerodynamics as well. With a little bit of tinkering, folks at Audi have managed to cut the drag coefficient from 0.28 to 0.27 CW for the SUV and 0.26 to 0.24 CW for the Sportback. This was done partly with the help of the new grille design and partly with the help of wheel spoilers on the front axles and added spoilers.
On the inside though, changes appear to be minimum with two new interior options being added into the mix – light brown walnut wood and a sustainable material made partially from recycled PET bottles. Audi still employs its MMI touch response operating system, ditching physical buttons for its two large-screen displays.
The biggest change here though comes internally, with the entry-level Q8 getting a bigger 89 kWh battery pack instead of the earlier 69 kWh. Coupled with Audi’s updated battery management system, this helps the all-electric SUV in getting a range of 491km, an increase from earlier 341km. Meanwhile, the range of the Sportback variant has also gone up to 505km (both WLPTP).
Higher up the range, the Q8 and the SQ8 both get a bigger 106kWh battery pack, returning a range of 582km and 600km respectively. This puts it on par with its German competitor, the Mercedes EQE SUV. Charging time will also see some improvement, with the Q8 55 model and the SQ8 model getting a 170kW charger. While that isn’t enough to compete with Hyundai’s 350kW charging capabilities, it should see the Audi models being topped up from 10-80 per cent in 31 minutes.
Power figures have seen a bump up as well, with the base Q8 50 now making 339PS and 664Nm of torque. While the Q5 55 makes 407PS of power and 664Nm of torque, with a top speed of 200kmph, the sportier SQ8 makes 503PS of power and 973Nm of torque.
What’s notable here is the 2025 Audi Q8 e-Tron will be certified as net-carbon-neutral, all thanks to the consious use of recycled material used in the car’s cabin, including the insulation and damping. For instance, the seatbelt covers have been made with mixed automotive plastic waste, while the optional sports seat is made out of 45 per cent polyester fibres manufactured from recycled PET bottles, used textiles and fibre residue.
Bookings of the 2024 Audi Q8 e-Tron and Q8 Sportback e-Tron are supposed to begin this month internationally, with the US launch expected by April 2023. We don’t expect it to arrive on our shores until late next year.
Image credits: Audi