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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Renamed and revised Audi Q8 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron debuts

Now forming part of the Q8 range, subtle changes to the e-tron and e-tron Sportback have filtered through to their respective S models as well.

The initiator of its electric transition four years ago, Audi has unveiled the new look e-tron and e-tron Sportback, together with their respective S models, albeit now part of the Q8 range hence the change in moniker to Q8 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron.

Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback

Very much still a midlife overhaul as Ingolstadt continues its switch to become a wholly electric vehicle brand by 2026, the revisions to the standard Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback, names aside, consist of a new 3D sealed Singleframe grille with electric shutters, restyled LED or optional Digital Matrix LED headlights, updated front and rear bumpers and new alloy wheel designs.

Along with a new rear styling blade above the diffuser and vertical daytime running LEDs on the flanks of the bumper on the Sportback, buyers can also specify an illuminated grille bar with a further new addition being the Q8 e-tron moniker laser etched into the B-pillar.

Dimensionally, both the Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback are unchanged from their respective predecessors, with boot space amounting to 569-litres for the former and 528-litres for the latter, plus an additional 62-litres underneath the bonnet.

New Audi Q8 e-tron revealed
Little has changed at the rear

Audi has made more subtle changes to the interior by retaining the trio of displays made-up of the 12.3-inch digital instrument clusters, the 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system and the 8.6-inch climate control panel.

The sole interior adaption is a new material option called Tech Layer made largely out of recycled plastic bottles and, as part of the optional S line pack, faux leather seats with the material itself originating from polyester fibres obtained, once again, from recycled plastic bottles.

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Elsewhere, quad-zone climate with a new three-stage ventilation system can be had in place of the standard dual-zone, with a further option being a two-part glass panoramic sunroof, massage function for the seats, Head-Up Display and no less than six decorative inserts; brown walnut, porous wood, a so-called technical material made from recycled plastic, grained ash, aluminium and carbon fibre on S line equipped models.

New Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback revealed
Exterior changes to the Sportback are a bit more prominent

Underneath, Audi has made more extensive changes by fitting the Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback with a new rear axle electric motor as a means of improving the torque vectoring system, and retuning the springs of the air suspension as well as tweaking the Electronic Stability Control.

In addition, the steering has been sharpened up, the chassis itself adjusted and the aerodynamics improved on the Sportback as a result of enlarged spoilers and wider rear wheels.

On the all-important power front, the Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback are offered, once again, in two trim levels; 50 and 55 with the former receiving a bigger 95-kWh battery capable of producing a maximum of 250kW/664Nm.

New Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback revealed
… as are the adaptions at the rear

The uptakes, 20kW/124Nm, translates to 0-100 km/h taking six seconds instead of 6.8 seconds, with the claimed top speed improving from 190 km/h to 200 km/h. Max range is 491 km and 505 km for the Sportback.

Topping the range, 55 also benefits from an enlarged battery, now outputting 104kWh instead of 91kWh. While outputs figures are unchanged at 265kW/561Nm, or 300kW/664Nm in S mode, the claimed range improves to 582 km and 600 km for the Sportback.

As before, only 55 sports all-wheel-drive as a result of two electric motors mounted on each axle. Charging-wise, the 50 can now plugged into a 150 kW fast charger capable of offering a 10% to 80% capacity in 30 minutes.

New Audi Q8 e-tron revealed
Interior changes are just as subtle

The 55 meanwhile supports charging up to 170 kW, but both can still be charged using an 11 kW outlet that requires a waiting time of 11 hours and 30 minutes and at a 22 kW point that cuts waiting to four hours 45 minutes. The use of an AC charger meanwhile requires a wait of nine hours and 15 minutes.

Now available for ordering in Europe with delivers commencing towards the end of February this year, pricing for the Q8 e-tron kicks-off at €74 400 (R1 324 660) with the starting sticker for the Sportback being unknown.

While not confirmed for South Africa at present, chances are that both will become available, in 55 guise only, at some stage in 2023.

SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron Sportback

New Audi SQ8 e-tron revealed
e-tron S now becomes SQ8 e-tron

By adding to the Q8 prefix to the previously titled e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback, Audi has also completed the methods of propulsion available for its flagship SUV by way of supplementing the already on-sale petrol and diesel versions with a fully electric.

Compared to their respective standard siblings, the exterior changes to the SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron Sportback are even smaller bar the S specific side sills, bumpers and alloy wheels.

New Audi SQ8 e-tron revealed
Rear facia has not undergone a lot of changes

In fact, the enlarged spoilers and wheels offered on the Sportback has been deleted from the SQ8 version, however, both S models are 39 mm wider and two millimetres lower dimensionally.

Inside and underneath, Audi has applied the same changes that were made on the Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback to the SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron Sportback, while also revising the power unit albeit without any power gains.

New Audi SQ8 e-tron Sportback revealed
Newly renamed SQ8 e-tron Sportback sports some of the biggest enhancements outside.

This means the retention of the same upsized 104-kWh battery as on the Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback 55 quattro, but with unchanged outputs, from the e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S, of 320kW/808Nm that increases to 370kW/973Nm on overboost.

The claimed top speed remains limited to 210 km/h as does the 4.5 second sprint from 0-100 km/h. With the increased battery comes a better range of 494 km and 513 km for the Sportback.

New Audi SQ8 e-tron Sportback revealed
Enlarged wheels available on the standard model doesn’t feature on the SQ8.

Still to be confirmed for South Africa, the SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron Sportback are set to on-sale at the same time as their siblings in Europe with pricing still to be confirmed.

Expect both to become available on local soil though sometime in 2023.

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