2024 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron
Audi Gives The e-tron A New Name And Better Performance
At Audi, the e-tron name has been used for some time. But it officially became a standalone sub-brand when Audi attached it to their first all-electric SUV for 2019. Well, now that they are rapidly expanding their EV portfolio, it’s time for the original e-tron to get a new name. It’s now the Q8 e-tron. But that’s not all that’s new.
With so many e-trons now in the Audi line-up, it was definitely time for Audi to give the original production e-tron SUV more distinction. That’s where the new Q8 designation comes from, positioning the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron as the flagship SUV in their EV lineup. Better news, they’ve done much more than just change the name; as the Q8 e-tron has more range, faster charging, improved styling, and better performance than the e-tron.
As before, it is available in regular SUV and this Coupe-like Sportback, both with standard all-wheel-drive. The front motor remains the same, but the rear motor gets upgraded with additional windings which deliver the double benefit of both producing more torque faster, and working more efficiently. Total output, however, remains at 402-horsepower and 490 lb-ft. of torque.
As before, it operates mostly with that rear motor, engaging the front motor to aid in slippery conditions, or for additional performance when you put the shifter in Sport mode. The physical size of the battery also remains the same, but internal updates help capacity grow from 95-kWh to 114-kWh, which boosts range from 226-miles to 285 for the SUV, and up to 300 here in the more aerodynamic Sportback with the optional Ultra package.
Without the Ultra package our results were not quite there; we’d put real world mileage more in the 250 to 260-mile range; still a significant improvement. The revised battery can charge faster too; now handling up to 170-kW, keeping you in the 30-minute time frame for an 80% charge.
It also still feels plenty roomy inside, and still just 2-row, with 27.2 cubic-ft. of cargo space, barely less than the boxier SUV’s 28.5 cubic-ft. Max cargo space is 54.5 cubic-ft., plus, there’s a handy removable storage bin below the floor to easily take items with you, and a small frunk space under the hood. Seats are more plush than typical Audi, and materials are as exquisite as ever. The 10.1-inch multimedia screen may seem small by today’s standards, but it’s easy to read and works well, so no complaints here; we’ll save those for the frustrating lower touch panel for climate controls. And everyone that’s been in an Audi knows that the fantastic virtual cockpit gives you all the info you need right in front of you without having to look over at the center stack. S Line aluminum trim is available, as are sunshades and touch panel controls for rear seat passengers.
Exterior tweaks are quite extensive, and were done largely to improve aerodynamics, including new rear spoilers here on the Sportback. But both feature a slightly wider body, and redesigned face with new lighting that looks better too. There are some additional undercarriage aero treatments, and even the new wheels are more aerodynamic.
At our Mason Dixon test track, it was quick off the line, but not overpowering as some high-end EVs can be. It has more of a smooth and effortless feel to it. But that rear-motor update helps shave a tenth off the 0-60 time to 5.1-seconds. Great grip at launch, and it really pulled hard the whole way down the track, with no drop off in power. We finished the ¼-mile in 13.8-seconds at 103 miles-per-hour. It remained plenty stable and quiet at that speed too.
Not that it was a bad handler before, but Audi has addressed things there as well, with stiffer bushings and lower steering ratios to heighten response. And we could definitely feel some additional eagerness on turn in, as it was borderline darty; but you really have to mistreat it to upset the chassis, for the most part it just scooted through the cones gracefully with little effort. 5,800-lbs. of weight here, but the Q8 e-tron’s brakes had no problem dealing with it; stopping in just 103-feet from 60 miles-per-hour.
Pricing starts with Premium trim at $78,995, the SUV even less at $75,595; and prices include 2-years of Electrify America fast charging. Special Launch Edition Sportbacks are still available, starting at $93,145.
There are perhaps faster and more luxurious EVs out there, but as Audi has done for years, long before they ventured into EVs before most, they find a way to put it all together in a highly desirable package that truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts. If nothing else, the additional range of the 2024 Q8 Sportback e-tron will definitely attract more attention…and more buyers!