- A new name and subtle restyling for the Audi e-tron, the brand's biggest fully electric SUV.
- Range is up to an EPA-estimated 300 miles.
- Changes to steering and suspension components deliver more responsive handling.
Driven: 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron Is More Than Just a New Name
A bigger battery and increased efficiency should see it crack the real-world 300-mile barrier
Despite the new name, the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron is very much the Audi e-tron SUV that came before it, albeit with a number of improvements in key areas. The e-tron was one of the first fully electric luxury SUVs that came to the U.S. market, and for 2024 it's getting a raft of updates that include that new Q8 moniker. It keeps its floor-mounted battery, standard all-wheel drive thanks to front and rear electric motors, and two-row five-passenger layout. From there, the 2024 model receives more range, sportier handling and a few other tweaks. Read on to find out if this renewed e-tron is now good enough to be a worthy competitor to the BMW iX, Mercedes-Benz EQE, Rivian R1T and Tesla Model X.
More power – and efficiency
For 2024, the Q8 e-tron is available with a single powertrain configuration. Under the floor sits a battery pack with a usable 106 kWh, and it sends power to two electric motors, one on each axle. The peak output of those motors is a combined 402 horsepower. The Q8 e-tron's all-wheel-drive system is rear-biased, which means most of the power goes to the rear motor most of the time. In low-traction situations or during dynamic driving, the front motor gets more power to help with traction.
Small changes to the electric motors (like the addition of two more coils for a total of 14, creating a stronger magnetic field) mean the motors make more power but require less energy to do so, making the car more efficient. And even though the more powerful battery isn't substantially bigger, upgrades in efficiency and thermal management mean major range gains.
Big wins on the range front
Range is a big area of improvement for the Q8 e-tron. The old model served up a 222-mile EPA-estimated range for the standard SUV and 218 miles in Sportback form. For the 2024 Q8 e-tron, the EPA estimates it's good for 285 miles for the SUV and 296 miles for the Sportback model. An optional Ultra package, available only with the Sportback, features a smaller wheel and tire package with low-rolling-resistance rubber and retuned suspension that gives it a lower ride height for added efficiency, and this setup delivers the magical 300-mile EPA estimate.
The new Q8 e-tron also charges quicker than its predecessor. Audi says that, under ideal conditions, the Q8 e-tron will be able to charge at up to 170 kW at a compatible DC fast-charging station (up from 150 kW previously) and can fill from 10% to 80% capacity in roughly 31 minutes. This is decently quick for a luxury EV and comparable to the BMW iX's time.
Charging at home or on a Level 2 charger has been improved as well. There's a standard 9.6-kW onboard charger with an option for a 19.2-kW unit. The latter ensures a full charge can be had in as little as 6.5 hours while the former will take 13 hours, Audi says. There's also a second AC charge port available for added convenience.
Composure and not-so-bonkers power
While the big news for the Q8 e-tron is the bigger battery and increased range, Audi has tweaked the steering and suspension as well. Most notable is the new, quicker steering ratio for the Q8. More responsive steering makes this nearly 5,800-pound SUV feel more nimble than you'd expect, but Audi hasn't gone so far as to make it feel darty or overly responsive to minor inputs. If we had one want with the Q8 e-tron, it would be the addition of rear-axle steering. We think it would go a long way toward improving this SUV's maneuverability in tight spaces and handling on twisty roads.
Audi has retuned the Q8 e-tron's suspension. Changes to various mounting points and suspension components have been made in an effort to increase stiffness, which in turn makes the Q8's body motions more predictable. The Q8 e-tron exhibited excellent composure at a variety of speeds and never felt too soft or overly firm even in its most dynamic settings.
As strange as this might sound, and as strange as it is to write it, we're somewhat happy to see the Q8 e-tron's relatively modest power numbers. These days, it's all too easy to give EVs massive amounts of power in order to impress buyers new to the EV experience, so it's refreshing to drive an EV that's not bent on accelerating as far as some exotic cars. As a result, the big Audi's acceleration will never really snap your head back but there's ample power to move through city traffic as well as pass on a two-lane road. We do lament the lack of true one-pedal driving capability; you'll still need to rely on the mechanical brakes to bring the Q8 to a full stop.
Audi estimates the Q8 e-tron will hit 60 mph in about 5.3 seconds, and from our time behind the wheel, we don't doubt that claim. If you do want an electric SUV with more sauce, there's a tri-motor SQ8 e-tron in the pipeline that should deliver an altogether more sporty experience.
A little same-same on the inside
Very little has changed on the inside. The design is identical to the e-tron that came before, and the biggest differences will be to the open-pore wood inlays on the dashboard and some additional options for interior appointments. The lower ride height and large door openings make it a cinch to get into and out of, and the supportive seats don't offer any impediment to access either. Eschewing a third row of seats ensures the second row has ample legroom. Four-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof are standard features, and the Q8 e-tron can be outfitted with massaging front seats and dual-pane acoustic glass for added comfort and serenity. It's worth noting that the Q8 e-tron isn't saddled with any unnecessary synthetic noises once up to speed. The cabin remains quiet, which makes the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system that much more impressive.
Audi's MMI system is still equal parts attractive and somewhat overwhelming. The split-screen setup for infotainment and climate control are not to everyone's taste, but the graphics are crisp even if the menu structure can be a little bit convoluted. Thankfully, most of the settings you're likely to change more often are never more than one layer deep in any particular menu.
The Q8 e-tron's tech game
Audi loads up the Q8 e-tron with a fair amount of standard tech. There's the aforementioned split-screen setup — the larger of the two screens is 10.1 inches — front and rear parking sensors, digital instrument panel (Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus), wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and front and rear auto braking and side assist, which senses vehicles alongside the Q8 and can take corrective action to avoid a collision.
Optional features include a surround-view camera, an upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio system, head-up display and cross-traffic detection. There's also an available trailer hitch, allowing you to pull up to 4,000 pounds. It also includes a trailer brake controller.
The original e-tron wasn't lacking much when it came to the driving experience. But what it did lack was range, a fact that became more and more obvious as competitors like the BMW iX and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV arrived. For 2024, Audi has sought to address the biggest deficit with its e-tron as well as fine-tune the already impressive driving experience. There's more than just a new name and a redesigned badge in this thorough refresh, and after some considerable seat time in the new Q8 e-tron, we think it's a genuine improvement on an already impressive EV. Stay tuned to Edmunds for our full review and real-world range test of the Q8 e-tron once it becomes available.