Ingolstadt renames its e-tron SUV – and increases range substantially thanks to huge new 106kWh battery
Due in Australia next year, the facelifted Q8 e-tron uses a whopping new 106kWh lithium-ion battery which, together with improved aerodynamics, helps increase the range of the 55 Sportback to more than 600km on the WLTP cycle.
Audi has upgraded the base model’s 71kWh battery pack to 89kWh, extending the range of the Q8 50 e-tron to 491km, compared to 341km of the previous e-tron 50 quattro.
With the larger 106kWh battery pack, the Q8 55 e-tron boasts 582km of range, up from the 440km of the previous 95kWh e-tron 55 quattro.
On the 106kWh SQ8 e-tron, which replaces the 95kWh e-tron S, range has increased from 364km to 494km.
Audi engineers said improving aerodynamics was a “top priority”. Front spoilers were enlarged, while the Sportback models now have additional rear wheel spoilers.
The Q8 e-tron is the first Audi to be fitted with a “self-sealing system” which uses electric shutters in the front grille, in conjunction with existing active aero shutters, to optimise aerodynamics when less cooling is required. Aerodynamics of the SUV have improved from 0.28 to 0.27Cd, while the “coupe” Sportback drops from 0.26 to 0.24Cd, helping extend the range further.
Continuing to be built on the converted-for-electric MLB Evo combustion architecture, the Q8 e-tron replaces the e-tron as an electrified model in the Q8 range, sitting alongside internal combustion equivalents. Three variants of the Q8 e-tron will be available – a 50, 55 and high performance SQ8.
Power of the base dual-motor Q8 50 e-tron increases by 20kW to 250kW, while torque is up 124Nm to 664Nm.
Power outputs of the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron have not increased compared to the e-tron 55 and S. The Q8 55 e-tron produces 300kW and 664Nm, while the triple-motor SQ8 e-tron produces 370kW and 973Nm. Audi has not released 0-100km/h figures for the new cars.
Audi says the Q8 e-tron’s asynchronous rear axle motor now uses 14 coils instead of 12. A stronger electromagnetic field can be produced with a similar electricity input, resulting in more torque – or more efficiency during normal driving situations.
The 89kWh Q8 50 e-tron accepts up to 150kW fast-charging, whereas the 106kWh 55 and S are good for up to 170kW. The bigger battery can recharge from 10 to 80 percent in as little as 31 minutes. The Q8 e-tron accepts a maximum AC charging rate of 11kW as standard, but can be upgraded to 22kW as an option.
Handling should also be sharper, Audi revealing that the air suspension has been retuned for better dynamics; while there’s a new, sportier ESC calibration and a new, more aggressive gear in the steering rack quickening the ratio – and response. Supporting the quicker steering are more rigid bearings on the front axle, which also improve steering feel.
There’s also a new front bumper, updated interior and new wheels.
Inside there are three screens. A 10.1-inch infotainment display sits above an 8.6-inch touchscreen housing additional controls like the air-conditioning and heated seats. Behind the steering wheel is Audi’s well-known Virtual Cockpit display.
Local pricing is a long way from being revealed. In Australia, the e-tron 50 costs $139,900, the 55 $148,900 and the S, $168,400. The Sportback models cost more. Expect prices to increase with the switch to Q8 e-tron.
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