It has been about three years since Audi’s unique devoted electrical automobile, the E-Tron SUV, first hit the highway. That is nearly an eternity in automotive tech time, which implies it is time for an replace. The refreshed model debuts with an up to date look, a bit extra vary and a brand new, much less complicated identify: Meet the 2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron and the SQ8 E-Tron SUV and Sportback.

Audi’s lineup of electrical automobiles has grown to incorporate the smaller Q4 E-Tron crossover, electrical Sportback models, the E-Tron GT and RS E-Tron GT sport sedans, with A6 and Q6 E-Tron models proper across the nook. And that is simply right here within the States; globally, the combo additionally consists of the Chinese language market Q2L and Q5 E-Trons.

Merely calling its first electrical SUV the “E-Tron” has turn out to be much less and fewer ample as its household grows, so for its midcycle refresh, Audi has rechristened its unique devoted EV the 2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron. Within the transition, the sporty E-Tron S turns into the SQ8 E-Tron, with Sportback fashions following swimsuit. The change brings the SUV’s moniker in line each with the naming construction of its present steady of each electric- and combustion-powered models.

The brand new nomenclature could be discovered laser-etched onto the Q8 E-Tron’s black B-pillars, a brand new branding aspect for Audi, in addition to in black lettering on the rear hatch. Up entrance, the automaker’s single-frame grille contains a new honeycomb design and a contrasting black or aluminum encompass that integrates the SUV’s headlights. On the high of the single-frame, a brand new LED projector bar shines gentle onto the grille and highlights the four-rings badge. The SUV’s entrance and rear bumpers have additionally been reshaped, however total the midcycle design adjustments are minimal.

Vary enhance

Beneath the up to date design are improved aerodynamic bits — the brand new turbulence-reducing wheel spoilers and aero-design wheels are tucked, actually, beneath the Q8 E-Tron’s physique — netting the E-SUV a extra slippery drag coefficient.

Energy for the dual-motor Q8 E-Tron 55, the bottom spec right here within the US, is unchanged at a mixed 402 horsepower (300 kW) in Enhance Mode and 490 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds and electronically restricted 124 mph high pace are additionally unchanged. Nonetheless, a tighter winding on the rear motor’s stator has allowed Audi’s engineers to squeeze in two extra coils, bettering effectivity and permitting extra torque era from much less present utility.

The largest change comes within the type of a bigger battery, or slightly, a extra energy-dense 114-kilowatt-hour battery pack that matches into the identical area because the outdated 95-kWh unit. That is because of a brand new stacked prismatic design and new cell chemistry. Between the extra capacious battery, extra environment friendly motor and improved aero, Audi expects a 30% enhance in vary, estimating 361 miles for the SUV and 372 miles for Q8 E-Tron Sportback, each on the European WLTP normal. (Curiously, the Sportback is now the extra environment friendly of the 2 physique types, a reversal of earlier mannequin years.)

Like most EVs, the Q8 E-Tron reserves some capability to spice up longevity, so solely 106 kWh is usable by the proprietor.


Audi

We anticipate the EPA-estimated numbers might be decrease, however US vary estimates haven’t but been introduced. Nonetheless, we are able to anticipate an enchancment over the present mannequin’s 222- and 218-mile estimates for SUV and Sportback configurations.

“We all know how necessary it’s to have a spread quantity that begins with a ‘3,’” mentioned Carter Balkcom of Audi Product Advertising in a briefing, “and so I can inform you that round 300 miles is what we have set as our objective and we’re pushing onerous to get there.” 

SQ8 E-Tron fashions

The three-motor E-Tron S fashions additionally return because the SQ8 E-Tron and SQ8 E-Tron Sportback dynamic duo. Peak energy for these fashions is, once more, unchanged from final yr at a mixed 495 hp and 718 lb-ft of torque. Zero-to-60 mph sprints in Enhance Mode nonetheless take simply 4.5 seconds.

The SQ8 fashions lack the brand new front-wheel underspoilers — Audi reckons that with their wider wheels and extra aggressive entrance aero, the air flaps would not make a lot distinction — however are powered by the brand new higher-capacity battery. WLTP vary for the SUV and Sportback are estimated at 306 miles and 318 miles, respectively, so my guess is that the SQ8 fashions will seemingly fall in need of a 300-mile EPA estimate.

Peak DC fast-charging charge will increase to 170 kW although, with the larger battery, fast-charging time hasn’t modified a lot.


Audi

Quicker DC quick charging 

Street journey pit stops can even be a bit shorter within the Q8 E-Tron because of improved DC fast-charging speeds. The height charge grows from 150 to 170 kW for all fashions — a small however welcome bump. The SUV can now increase from a 10% state of cost to 80% in round 31 minutes. That is across the similar time as final yr’s 20-80% cost however with a bigger battery to fill. Plug & Cost functionality remains to be normal, permitting automated authentication and billing at suitable stations through charging cable communication.

AC house and public charging is unchanged with the included 11-kW adapter taking round 11 and a half hours for a full cost. An optionally available 22 kW AC charger, or equally highly effective Stage 2 AC public charger, shrinks that point to about six hours flat.

Different enhancements

Inside, the Q8 E-Tron’s cabin sees new out there trim colours and supplies becoming a member of the choices record. The SUV can even make much more use of postconsumer supplies, reminiscent of a brand new anthracite-colored “Tech Layer” inlay materials comprised of recycled plastic bottles and sport seats upholstered in artificial leather-based and a brand new microfiber materials referred to as Dinamica, composed of recycled plastic bottles, used textiles and “fiber residue,” no matter that’s. Dinamica can be produced with out using solvents, which additional reduces its environmental affect.

The E-Tron’s MMI tech is unchanged and may nonetheless be fairly good. The twin-display middle stack contains a 10.1-inch fundamental touchscreen up high and an 8.6-inch display under, along with the usual Digital Cockpit full-digital instrument cluster.

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


Audi

Forbidden fruit

Outdoors of the US, Audi will proceed to promote a single-motor Q8 E-Tron 50 mannequin, discontinuing the 70-kWh battery in favor of the 55’s outdated 95-kWh pack. The 50 will get a small energy bump to 335 hp and a 40% vary bump to a WLTP-estimated 305 miles. 

On American roads, the Q8 E-Tron additionally nonetheless would not take full benefit of Audi’s Digital Matrix LED projector headlamps as a result of our present authorized restrictions. So we do not get beamforming gentle round oncoming visitors to spice up visibility with out dazzling different drivers or the “gentle carpet” with route indicator arrows. In Europe, 2023 Q8 E-Trons can now point out the intention to alter lanes by increasing the sunshine carpet laterally and may even mission visitors and warning indicators onto the highway floor primarily based on linked information.

We additionally nonetheless do not get the camera-based Digital Facet Mirrors, however I am a bit much less salty about that.

Learn extraSmart Headlights Are Around the Corner, to the Relief of That Driver You’re Blinding

Coming subsequent spring

Orders for the 2023 Audi Q8 E-Tron and SQ8 E-Tron SUV and Sportback fashions are anticipated to open within the coming weeks, with the primary European deliveries beginning in February. Within the US, the primary examples ought to begin arriving in late April. Native pricing hasn’t been introduced, however we anticipate barely greater costs than the 2022 mannequin yr E-Tron as a result of adjustments in normal gear, packaging and so forth. Extra particulars will, little question, be revealed nearer to the on-sale date.



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