Harry Leahey

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Audi’s E-tron SUV has been renamed as the Q8 E-tron in a move which aims to clearly establish the car as the company’s top of the range EV. 

In addition to the revised moniker is an updated design and a range boost, and can come in the standard squarish design, or as a coupe-like Sportback. 

The exterior features a redesigned front grill, which incorporates Audi’s new electronically controlled cooling ducts, while new tail-light graphics and a revised bumper can be found at the rear. 

Aerodynamically, the Q8 E-tron has a drag coefficient of 0.27 compared to the outgoing e-tron’s 0.28. There is a slightly more sizable difference among the Sportback models, with the latest version boasting a figure of 0.24, compared to 0.26 of the earlier Sportback. 

Both versions also have wheel spoilers beneath the car to help improve airflow around the wheels.

There are three powertrain options and two battery capacities available. 

The base Q8 50 E-tron bound for the UK market has a single motor which sends drive to each axle, and makes 335 bhp and 664 Nm torque. It is powered by an 89kWh lithium-ion battery, which in this configuration has a claimed WLTP range of 281 miles, and 290 miles for the Sportback version. 

Secondly is the Q8 55 E-tron and Sportback, producing 396 bhp and 664 Nm of torque, and comes with a larger 104kWh battery. In this setup, the standard Q8 E-tron is said to deliver a range of 330 miles, while the Sportback version delivers up to 343 miles. 

Finally is the range-topping SQ8 E-tron, which is available in standard and Sportback guise. It comes equipped with three electric motors - two at the rear axle and one up front which collectively produce 496bhp and 973 Nm torque. It uses the same battery as the Q8 55, though provides 284 miles in the standard version, and 295 miles in the Sportback version. 

At a high-powered charging station, the Audi Q8 50 e-tron reaches a maximum charging performance of 150kW. With the Q8 55 E-tron and SQ8 E-tron, the maximum charging performance increases to up to 170kW. 

Under ideal conditions, the larger battery can be charged from 10 to 80 percent during a 31-minute charging stop, which is said to result in a range of up to 240 miles. 

Audi says the batteries used for the Q8 e-tron deliver improved range due to the adoption of more advanced cells as well as a new battery management system, which is claimed to improve their energy density by up to 20 percent.

The interior sees minor changes, with new recycled upholstery and trim options now available. Behind the steering wheel is a 10.1-inch virtual cockpit display, while in the centre of the dash is an 8.6-inch touchscreen running Audi’s multimedia interface (MMI), with the addition of a so-called E-tron route planner now coming as standard. 

Pricing for the new Q8 E-tron SUV is still to be confirmed, though will go on sale in mid November ahead of deliveries from April 2023.

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Harry Leahey 29/12/22