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The year 2018 was a milestone for Audi as they entered the EV age with the e-tron and this model has been setting standards in the EV luxury-class SUV sector of the market.

Now, the arrival of the new Q8 e-tron will build further on the success story of this electric pioneer. The flagship EV SUV and Sportback boast an optimised drivetrain, improved aerodynamics, higher charging performance, and battery capacity and an increased range of up to 530km (330 miles) in the SUV and up to 552km (343 miles) in the Sportback. This range will be welcomed by many as lack of range for many has been a barrier to switching to pure electric power. A number of design changes at the front of the vehicle, give the new flagship SUV a much fresher appearance and both models are immediately identifiable as fully electric models, marked out by the new front and rear designs that carry Audi’s electric design language forward.

As a prestigious EV SUV model, the Q8 e-tron ushers in the new corporate identity with a two-dimensional design of the four rings on the exterior and the model lettering with an Audi logo on the B-pillar is a new feature. Three drivetrain variants with electric all-wheel drive are available, driven by two motors, the base models of the Q8 50 e-tron and the Q8 Sportback 50 e-tron generate 250kW (340PS) in boost mode and 664Nm of torque, and they get a WLTP range of up to 452km (281 miles) (SUV) and up to 467km (290 miles) (Sportback). Sitting above in the line-up is the Q8 55 e-tron and Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron, which are also driven by two electric motors. These models generate 300kW (408PS) in boost mode and 664Nm of torque. Their ranges are up to 530km (330 miles) for the SUV and up to 552km (343 miles) for the Sportback and the top speed of the Q8 50 e-tron, is limited to 200kph (124mph). Meanwhile the top-end SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron are driven by three motors and their boost performance amounts to 370 kW (503PS) and 973 Nm of torque. The range of the S models is up to 457km (284 miles) for the SUV and up to 475kmn(295 miles) for the Sportback, while speed is limited to 210kph (130mph). The new model comes standard with an air-spring suspension with controlled shock absorption and the height of the car body can be varied by a total of 76mm, depending on the driving situation and the electronic stability control (ESC) will allow for even more adjustability, especially in tight corners. I was not at all surprised to learn that there are some forty driver assistance systems available in the Q8 e-tron. Up to five radar sensors, five cameras and twelve ultrasonic sensors provide environmental information that’s then analyzed by the central driver assistance control unit. Remote park assist plus is a new feature, which will be available to order later next year and it allows the Q8 e-tron to manoeuvre into even the tightest parking spaces. Customers can control the parking procedure through the myAudi app on their smartphones. When the car reaches its final position in the parking space, it automatically switches off, puts on the parking brake, and locks the doors. To leave the parking space, the Q8 e-tron is powered on through the myAudi app, and then the vehicle moves out enough for comfortable entry. With a vehicle length of 4,915mm, a width of 1,937mm, and a height of 1,619mm for the Sportback and 1,633mm for the SUV, the Q8 e-tron offers a maximum amount of space and comfort and the SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron are each two millimetres lower and 39 millimetres wider and its wheelbase of 2,928mm allows for plenty of legroom in the back seats. It has a generous storage volume of 569 litres for the SUV and 528 litres for the Sportback. There are also 62 litres available in the front storage area, which Audi name as the“frunk”.

Finally to the all important charging; the battery of the Q8 50 e-tron has a storage capacity of 89kWh (95kWh gross), while the more powerful versions of the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron boast a battery storage capacity of 106kWh (114kWh gross). Thanks to an adjustment to the battery management system, the battery capacity usable for customers has increased as well. At a high-powered charging station, the Audi Q8 50 e-tron reaches a maximum charging performance of 150kW, while the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron, the maximum charging performance increases to up to 170kW. The larger battery can be charged from 10 to 80 percent during a 31 minute charging stop and under ideal conditions, this corresponds to a range of up to 393km (240 miles). With an AC charging station or wallbox, the Q8 e-tron charges at up to 11kW and Audi offers an optional AC charging upgrade of up to 22kW. Under ideal conditions, the Q8 50 e-tron can completely charge in around nine hours and 15 minutes on a 11kW power source and in around four hours and 45 minutes on a 22kW power source, while the 55 e-tron’s larger battery will charge in around 11 hours and 30 minutes at 11 kW and six hours at 22 kW.

Ian Lynas


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