Update: ‘Price & Release Date’ section updated.
The Audi e-tron that debuted as the brand’s first all-electric SUV in September 2018 has received its mid-life facelift. In addition to a cosmetic refresh and technical revisions, it goes by the name Audi Q8 e-tron. In this story, we take a detailed look at the differences between the old and new electric SUV models:
In what can be described as an unusual move, Audi has changed the name of the e-tron series in the middle of its lifecycle. The refreshed Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback have arrived as the Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron, respectively. Moving ahead, odd numbers will be designated for combustion-powered Audis, while even numbers will be used for electric vehicles.
In late 2021, Audi confirmed that the next-gen Audi Q8 e-tron would be introduced in 2026, manufactured at Audi’s plant in Brussels. As the 2024 e-tron has received comprehensive changes, and the Q8 brand is associated with a high-end SUV, Audi’s marketing division may not have felt the need to wait until 2026 for a car worthy of the Q8 e-tron nameplate.
“e-tron” suffix set to continue
Audi won’t have to use a suffix in the future to distinguish EVs from gasoline models, since gas models will no longer exist in most of its markets. Even so, Audi does not intend to remove the name ‘e-tron’ from its electric vehicles.
That (e-tron) “is a very clear differentiation,” Marc Lichte, Head of Design, Audi, said in January 2023, as per a Top Gear report. In fact, the company plans to introduce another suffix in the future, Lichte indicated, saying “there will be one differentiation more.” We’re certain it won’t be “h-tron,” as the company has given up on hydrogen. Maybe it has something to do with synthetic fuels, as that technology is still in the picture.
Besides conveying that a model is powered by electrons, e-tron signifies a high-tech product. Through Sony’s Trinitron TVs, the Tron movies, and the Transformers comics and movies’ imaginary Cybertron planet, the word Tron has become synonymous with innovation and futurism. The Audi e-tron series of electrified cars (first PHEVs, then BEVs) have further amplified that perception.
2023 Audi Q8 e-tron Design
The 2023 Audi Q8 e-tron features a new 3D Singleframe grille that is flatter and has bigger, honeycomb-shaped openings and inserts. It connects the headlights, creating one unit and highlighting the SUV’s width. The new grille is available in different colors, which gives customers a greater degree of personalization. A new projection light integrated into the upper edge of this panel visually forms a connection with the horizontal DRL stripe inside the headlights.
The Audi logo has a flat look in a new, two-dimensional design. New pentagonal, visibly more prominent pentagonal housing for the air curtains follows the structure of the headlights. The front bumper is also new, and it gives the Q8 e-tron a sportier and more assertive styling. Even the headlamp washer is a new, rectangular piece, which shows Audi’s attention to detail.
On the sides, the Q8 e-tron features new alloy wheels. Like its predecessor, the Q8 e-tron is available with virtual mirrors in select markets. Developed and supplied by Spanish company Ficosa, the digital mirrors work in tandem with 7-inch OLED displays sourced from South Korea’s Samsung Display. In the U.S., these futuristic mirrors aren’t available, and we don’t expect them in the Q8 e-tron either, as NHTSA hasn’t approved their use. At the rear, the Q8 e-tron has a revised bumper with a new blade and a new diffuser with four vertical fins.
With a drag coefficient value of 0.27 Cd, the Q8 e-tron is slightly more aerodynamic than the e-tron (0.28 Cd). These figures are slightly higher in the U.S., though, with the Q8 e-tron rated 0.29 Cd and the e-tron at 0.30 Cd.
The Q8 e-tron is the first Audi featuring a self-healing system in the area around the grille. This system, which is in addition to the powered shutters, further improves the airflow at the front of the vehicle and prevents undesired losses. Another point worth noting is that the spoilers on the front wheels of the Q8 e-tron are larger.
The interior design of the Audi Q8 e-tron is no different from the e-tron. Audi offers light brown walnut wood and Tech Layer as two new decorative inlay options. The latter is available with a new anthracite-colored sustainable technical material partially made from recycled PET bottles. Also new are the plastic covers for the seatbelt buckles, which partially consist of mixed automotive plastic waste treated through a chemical recycling process.
Safety & driver assistance
Audi has used improved digital Matrix LED headlights on the Q8 e-tron. The orientation light of these optional headlights marks the vehicle’s position in the lane to assist the driver in keeping the vehicle centered. Plus, there are three new features: enhanced traffic information, the lane light with a direction indicator, and the orientation light on country roads.
Audi equips the Q8 e-tron with up to five radar sensors, five cameras, and 12 ultrasonic sensors, which work together to let the EV’s 40-odd driver assistance systems do their work. Unlike the e-tron, the new model features remote park assist plus (2023-release), with which the vehicle can maneuver itself into even the tightest parking spaces. Customers can use remote park assist plus through the myAudi smartphone app to control their Q8 e-tron’s parking procedure. Once parked, the EV automatically turns itself off, puts on the parking brake, and locks the doors.
The Audi Q8 e-tron, like the model it replaces, comes in three variants, namely 50 (unavailable in the U.S.), 55, and S. The 50 and 55 variants use two motors, while the S variant sports three motors, which means there’s no change in this aspect. However, the power and torque figures have improved, albeit only in the base, 50 variant.
While the e-tron 50 powertrain produces 230 kW and 540 Nm of torque, the Q8 e-tron 50’s powertrain generates 250 kW in boost mode and 664 Nm of torque. The former doesn’t feature a boost mode. While the old model has a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph), the new model can go further up to 200 km/h (124 mph).
Audi has modified the asynchronous motor concept on the rear for the Q8 e-tron. There are 14 coils generating the electromagnetic field, instead of 12 in the case of the e-tron. As a result, the magnetic field is stronger while the electricity input is at a similar level, and that means there’s more torque available. If the extra performance isn’t needed, the electric motor requires less energy to generate torque, which means lower consumption and a higher range.
Range and charging
A big improvement in the Q8 e-tron is in the range aspect, thanks to new battery packs with a higher energy storage capacity. Instead of the e-tron 50’s 64 kWh battery pack, the Q8 e-tron 50 has an 89 kWh battery pack. Thus, while the former can travel up to 341 km (212 mi) on a full charge (WLTP), the latter has a much higher range of 491 km (305 mi). As we stated earlier, this variant isn’t available in the U.S., so there’s no question about its EPA-est. range.
The Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron share a 106 kWh battery pack instead of the e-tron 55 and e-tron S’ 86 kWh unit. While the old models manage 441 km (274 mi) and 372 km (231 mi), respectively, the new models’ range figures are 582 km (362 mi) and 494 km (307 mi), respectively (WLTP).
As for the EPA-est. range, the e-tron 55’s rating is 226 miles, while the e-tron S can travel up to 208 miles on a full charge. The Q8 e-tron 55 has an EPA-est. range of 285 miles, which is 26% higher than that of the model it replaces. The SQ8 e-tron’s EPA-est. range will become available later.
In the U.S., the e-tron is among the least efficient BEVs on sale, and the Q8 e-tron can’t come sooner. The e-tron 55 and e-tron S consume 43 kWh/100 mi and 46 kWh/100 mi. The e-tron’s range figures are terribly low, with the 55 variant capable of 226 miles and the S variant depleting at 208 miles.
The e-tron 50 can accept DC charging at up to 120 kW, while the Q8 e-tron 50 charges at up to 150 kW on direct current. The Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron’s maximum DC charging input is 170 kW, which is an improvement of 20 kW over the e-tron 55 and e-tron S. Below are the charging times:
|Charging Rate\Charging Time||Audi Q8 50 e-tron||Audi Q8 55 e-tron||Audi SQ8 e-tron|
|USA: 9.6 kW (0-100% SoC)||Not Applicable||~13 hours||To Be Announced|
|Europe: 11 kW (0-100% SoC)||9.25 hours||11.5 hours||11.5 hours|
|USA: 19.2 kW (0-100% SoC)||Not Applicable||~6.5 hours||To Be Announced|
|Europe: 22 kW (0-100% SoC)||4.75 hours||6 hours||6 hours|
|Europe/USA: 150 kW/170 kW (10-80% SoC)||28 minutes||31 minutes||31 minutes|
Ride & handling
In addition to performance, range, and charging improvements, the Q8 e-tron offers improved handling. The gear ratio of the progressive steering system is different, which has resulted in improved responsiveness. The new model has a different tuning for the springs of its air suspension. Moreover, the suspension bearings on its front axle are more rigid, which has led to more direct transmission of steering movements to the wheels. The feedback on the steering wheel is also better in the new model, says Audi. All chassis control systems of the new model have some revisions.
|Aspect||Audi Q8 e-tron (50/55/S)||Audi e-tron (50/55/S)|
|No. of Motors||2/2/3||2/2/3|
|Maximum Combined Power (with Boost Mode if applicable)||250 kW (335 hp)/300 kW (402 hp)/370 kW (496 hp)||230 kW (308 hp)/300 kW (402 hp)/370 kW (496 hp)|
|Combined Torque (with Boost Mode if applicable)||664 Nm (490 lb.-ft.)/664 Nm (490 lb.-ft.)/973 Nm (718 lb.-ft.)||540 Nm (398 lb.-ft.)/664 Nm (490 lb.-ft.)/973 Nm (718 lb.-ft.)|
|Top Speed||200 km/h (124 mph)/200 km/h (124 mph)/210 km/h (130 mph)||190 km/h (118 mph)/200 km/h (124 mph)/210 km/h (130 mph)|
|Battery Pack||89 kWh/106 kWh/106 kWh||64 kWh/86 kWh/86 kWh|
|Max. AC Charging Power||22 kW/22 kW/22 kW||22 kW/22 kW/22 kW|
|Max. DC Charging Power||150 kW/170 kW/170 kW||120 kW/150 kW/150 kW|
|WLTP Range||491 km (305 mi)/582 km (362 mi)/494 km (307 mi)||341 km (212 mi)/441 km (274 mi)/372 km (231 mi)|
|EPA-est. Range||Not Applicable/285 miles/TBA||Not Applicable/226 mi/208 mi|
Price & Release Date
The Audi Q8 e-tron’s prices in the U.S. start at USD 74,400 (excl. USD 1,195 destination charge). We’ve seen the new electric SUV in stock (as per their websites) at various U.S. dealerships, including Chandler, Arizona-based Audi Chandler, Garfield Township, Michigan-based Audi Traverse City, Houston, Texas-based Audi North Houston, and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-based Audi Mechanicsburg.
The Audi SQ8 e-tron will begin arriving at U.S. dealerships later in 2023, and we expect the prices to be announced in the second half of 2023.
|Trim||2024 Audi Q8 e-tron (55) price|
|Premium Plus||USD 78,800|
|Launch Edition||USD 87,550|
Production of the Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron kicked off on December 14, 2022. Audi makes the SUVs at its Brussels plant in Belgium, the same facility where it was making the e-tron series since 2018. The company ships the Q8 e-tron’s electric motors to this factory from Hungary using rail transport.
On December 14, 2022, when Audi announced the start of production of the Q8 e-tron series, it said it has delivered around 160,000 units of its first electric model since 2018. The company sold 81,894 units of the all-electric Audi e-tron range in 2021, which was a growth of 57.5% compared to 2020.
In the United States, Audi enjoyed a record year for electric vehicle sales in 2022, with an impressive increase of 47.3% over 2021 – 16,177 units. 10,397 of those 16,177 EVs were units of the Audi e-tron series, with 7,503 units coming from the SUV version and 2,894 units coming from the SUV-coupe (Sportback) version. Compared to 2021 (9,695 units), that marked a year-over-year growth of 7.2%.
Audi launched the e-tron as its first global electric SUV in 2018 and isn’t abandoning the conversion electric vehicle in pursuit of newer and modern e-trons based on the PPE or MEB platforms. By adding style, efficiency, range and giving it space to operate above the upcoming Q6, Audi is rather setting new expectations from its oldest electric SUV!
Audi Q8 e-tron FAQs
What is the Audi Q8 e-tron release date?
The Q8 e-tron is available at dealerships in the U.S.
What is the Audi Q8 e-tron price?
The 2024 Q8 e-tron starts at USD 74,400 (excl. USD 1,195 destination charge).
What is the Audi Q8 e-tron range (EPA-est.)?
The Audi Q8 e-tron can deliver an EPA-est. range of up to 285 miles.
Featured Image Source: Audi