The Audi e-tron has recently disappeared into obscurity with all the hype surrounding its all-electric brand brothers. The large E-SUV is anything but a slow seller: since its presentation in 2018, around 150,000 drivers have opted for the Stromer. The e-tron has a bit of the reputation of being an ecological fig leaf, an electromobility quick shot, since the Stromer is based on the MLB-evo platform, which is mainly used for vehicles with combustion engines such as the Audi A6 (C8) or the Audi Q7 is used. However, the Ingolstadt are not alone with this trick. Mercedes with the EQC and BMW with the i4 proceeded in a similar way.
Since it will still be a while before the introduction of the thoroughbred electric architecture PPE and the e-tron is not a slow seller, the large e-crossover, which is still available as a Sportback and classic SUV, is given a facelift. This goes hand in hand with a name change or extension so that the vehicle fits into the electromobility nomenclature. So now Audi Q8 e-tron. It doesn't stop there. "In the new Q8 e-tron, we have once again been able to significantly increase both the battery capacity and the charging capacity," says Audi CTO Oliver Hoffmann, summing up two improvements that were made as part of the facelift. It should also be mentioned that the beefed-up e-crossover is fresher than before with a three-dimensional single-frame grille, a light bar and larger air intakes.
A lot more happens under the cover. With the facelift of the Audi Q8 e-tron, the 71-kilowatt-hour battery is no longer required. In the basic version of the Q8 50 e-tron, this is replaced by the former "larger" version with 95 kWh (net 89 kWh). In the Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron, Audi offers a new battery with a capacity of 114 kWh (net 106 kWh). While the current base battery is inherited from the pre-facelift model, there are some changes to the larger energy stores that reach down to the cell chemistry. Audi is now using lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum-oxide (NCA) with a lower cobalt content instead of the previous lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and exclusively on prismatic cells, which are now stacked instead of previously wound. procedures are manufactured. This stacking of the cell material means that the available installation space is better used, so that there is now around 20 percent more active material in the cells.
Since the dimensions of the cells remain the same, there are still twelve cells in each module. The new chemistry increases the capacity per cell. So there are still 12 cells per module. However, the capacity per cell increases from 60 to 72 Ah. In addition, there are slightly improved drag values (by 0.02 and 0.01 respectively): 0.24 for the Sportback and 0.26 for the SUV. With the asynchronous motor on the rear axle, the number of copper windings in the stator has increased from 12 to 14, which results in an identical torque with reduced current and therefore lower consumption. With the larger battery capacity, the Q8 e-tron 55 achieves a standard range of around 600 kilometers (WLTP), which corresponds to an increase of around 30 percent. The Q8 e-tron 50 is around 505 km and the S version around 513 km
The higher energy density plus the changed cell chemistry also have a positive effect on the peak charging power, which increases from 120 to 150 kW for the small battery and from 150 to 170 kW for the large one. Neat, but compared to the vehicles that are equipped with 800 volt technology. However, in order to fill up the power storage quickly, not only the peak is important, but that charging takes place at the highest possible level for as long as possible. Audi is still working on making this plateau distinct. The 106 kWh storage is filled from 10 to 80 percent after around 31 minutes. The Audi Q8 e-tron draws 11 kW of electricity from an AC charging station, and up to 22 kW if desired, which should make home charging happy.
When sprinting from zero to 100 km/h, the 2.6-ton e-crossover is still quite fast. The entry-level Q8 e-tron takes 6.0 seconds, the 55 5.6 seconds and the top S variant 4.5 seconds. At the top, Audi lets the S version off the leash at 210 km/h, the other two have to be content with 200 km/h. Audi has sharpened the chassis. The steering should be more direct, more informative and the handling more sporty and agile. The fact that something is still missing was determined by the Audi technicians in comparative tests with competitors such as the BMW iX and sharpened accordingly.
With a price of at least 74,400 euros for the Q8 50, 85,300 euros for the 55 and 95,800 euros, the Audi Q8 e-tron, which will be available from dealers in February 2023, is still not a bargain. Nevertheless, the Ingolstadt company want to offer more money for the car and have thrown the basic equipment overboard and replaced it with the former next higher variant (Advanced). "This means there are no more unpainted components," states product manager Carter Balkcom. And that with a premium vehicle. After all, the Audi Q8 e-tron drivers can look forward to 40 assistants, including a parking assistant in the course of next year, with which you can use an app to maneuver the SUV into a gap.