2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron debuts: New name, more variety


It’s been almost three years since Audi’s original special electric car E-Tron SUV, set off first. That’s almost forever in automotive technology, which means it’s time for an update. The updated version debuts with a refreshed look, a slightly wider lineup and a new, less confusing name: Meet the 2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron and SQ8 E-Tron SUV and Sportback.

Audi’s lineup of electric vehicles includes the smaller Q4 E-Tron crossover, the electric Sportback models, the E-Tron GT and RS E-Tron GT sports sedans, as well as the A6 and Q6 E-Tron models. And that’s just in the US; the globally mixed Chinese market also includes Q2L and Q5 E-Trons.

Simply calling its first electric SUV “E-Tron” became less and less adequate as the family grew, so for a mid-cycle update, Audi named its original EV the 2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron. In the crossover, the sporty E-Tron S becomes the SQ8 E-Tron, and Sportback models follow suit. The change aligns the SUV’s moniker with the naming structure of both the electric and current stable. combustion models.

The new nomenclature can be found laser-etched on the Q8 E-Tron’s black B-pillars, a new branding element for Audi, as well as black lettering on the rear hatch. Up front, the automaker’s single-frame grille features a new honeycomb design and a contrasting black or aluminum surround that integrates the SUV’s headlights. At the top of the single bezel, a new LED projector bar illuminates the grille and highlights the four-ring badge. The SUV’s front and rear bumpers have also been reshaped, but overall the mid-bike design changes are minimal.

Increasing the range

Underneath the updated design are improved aerodynamic parts — new turbulence-reducing wheel spoilers and aero-design wheels that are literally glued under the body of the Q8 E-Tron — giving the E-SUV a smoother drag coefficient.

Power output for the dual-motor Q8 E-Tron 55, the flagship here in the U.S., is unchanged at 402 hp (300 kW) and 490 lb-ft of torque in Boost mode. A 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds and an electronically limited 124 mph top speed are also unchanged. However, a tighter winding on the rear motor’s stator allowed Audi engineers to squeeze in two more windings, increasing efficiency and generating more torque from less current input.

The biggest change comes in the form of a larger battery, or rather a 114 kWh battery pack that requires more power to fit in the same space as the old 95 kWh unit. This is thanks to a new stacked prismatic design and new cell chemistry. Between the larger battery, more efficient engine and improved aerospace engine, Audi expects a 30% increase in range, estimating 361 miles for the SUV and 372 miles for the Q8 E-Tron Sportback, according to the European WLTP standard. (Interestingly, the Sportback is now the more efficient of the two body styles, the opposite of previous model years.)

Like most electric cars, the Q8 E-Tron retains some capacity to increase longevity, so only 106 kWh can be used by the owner.

Audi

We expect the EPA’s estimated numbers to be lower, but US coverage estimates have not yet been released. Still, we can expect an improvement over the current model’s 222 and 218 mpg estimates for the SUV and Sportback configurations.

Carter Balkcom of Audi Product Marketing briefed us how important it is to have a serial number starting with a “3” and so I can tell you that about 300 miles is what we set. we have a goal and we are working hard to get there.”

SQ8 E-Tron models

The three-motor E-Tron S models also return, as does the SQ8 E-Tron and SQ8 E-Tron Sportback dynamic duo. Peak power for these models is again unchanged from last year at a combined 495 horsepower and 718 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph still takes just 4.5 seconds in boost mode.

SQ8 models don’t have new front wheel underspoilers — Audi reckons the air flaps won’t make much of a difference with wider wheels and more aggressive front aero — but do get a new, higher-capacity battery. WLTP range for the SUV and Sportback are rated at 306 miles and 318 miles, respectively, so my guess is that the SQ8 models will likely fall short of the EPA estimate of 300 miles.

Peak DC fast charging speeds increase to 170kW, although fast charging times haven’t changed much with the larger battery.

Audi

Faster DC fast charging

Road trip pit stops will also be slightly shorter in the Q8 E-Tron thanks to improved DC fast charging speeds. Peak speed increases from 150 to 170kW for all models — a small but welcome bump. The SUV can now go from a 10% charge to 80% in about 31 minutes. That’s about the same time as last year’s 20-80% charge, but with a bigger battery to charge. Plug & Charge capability is still standard, enabling automatic authentication and billing at compatible stations via charging cable communication.

AC home and public charging is unchanged, and the included 11 kW adapter takes about 11 and a half hours for a full charge. An optional 22kW AC charger or an equally powerful Level 2 AC public charger reduces this time to around six hours.

Other improvements

Inside, the Q8 E-Tron’s interior sees new available trim colors and materials join the options list. The SUV will also make more use of aftermarket materials, such as a new anthracite-coloured ‘Tech Layer’ inlay material made from recycled plastic bottles and synthetic leather sports seats and a new microfiber material called Dinamica made from recycled plastic bottles. , whatever the textile and “fiber scraps” used are. Dinamica is also manufactured without the use of solvents, further reducing its environmental impact.

The E-Tron’s MMI technology is unchanged and should still be pretty good. The dual-display center stack features a 10.1-inch primary touchscreen above and an 8.6-inch screen below, in addition to the standard Virtual Cockpit full digital instrument cluster.

A new LED projection bar illuminates the grille and four-ring badge from above.

Audi

The forbidden fruit

Outside the US, Audi will continue to sell the single-motor Q8 E-Tron 50, dropping the 70 kWh battery in favor of the 55’s old 95 kWh pack. The 50 gets a small power bump to 335 hp and a WLTP-estimated 305 miles of range by 40%.

On American roads, the Q8 E-Tron still doesn’t make full use of Audi’s Digital Matrix LED projector headlights due to our current legal restrictions. So we don’t get a beam-forming light around oncoming traffic to increase visibility without dazzling other drivers or the “light carpet” with directional arrows. In Europe, the 2023 Q8 E-Trons can now indicate lane change intentions by extending the light carpet laterally, and can even project traffic and warning indicators onto the road surface based on connected data.

We’re still not getting camera-based Virtual Side Mirrors, but I’m not one bit salty about it.

Read more: Smart Headlights are just around the corner, for the convenience of your blind driver

Next spring is coming

Orders for the 2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron and SQ8 E-Tron SUV and Sportback models are expected to open in the coming weeks, with first European deliveries beginning in February. The first samples in the US should arrive in late April. Local pricing has not been disclosed, but standard equipment, packaging, etc. we expect slightly higher prices for the 2022 E-Tron model due to the changes. More details will no doubt be revealed closer to the on-sale date.



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