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Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback: A suv that runs

In the Q8 family since 2022

The e-tron luxury SUV, presented in 2018, was the first electric Audi. The update arrived in 2022: slight aesthetic and technical changes were introduced and the abbreviation was added to the name Q8, so as to combine these current-powered models more directly with the petrol and diesel-powered SUVs of the same name. And now it’s time for the sporty version too Audi SQ8 e-tronnatural continuation of the previous e-tron S.

As in the past, theAudi Q8 e-tron it is available in two formats: “sedan”, which Audi simply define as “suv”, or coupé, in other words Sportback, according to Ingolstadt customs. The latter, among other things, is the favorite on our market, where it is requested in 55% of cases. Ultimately, the extra 2,300 euros required for purchase are not a lot for a car of this category, and the more streamlined line entails minimal sacrifices from the point of view of space: the luxurious passenger compartment remains welcoming even behind and the trunk , with the sofa in use, goes from 569 liters to 528.

The “base” is also expensive

L’Audi SQ8 e-tron it costs 104,550 euros, while the Sportback costs 106,850 euros. But we’re only talking about the “basic” trim levels, which are flanked by the sport attitude versions, which for an extra 17,450 euros add the Bang&Olufsen hi-fi, 21-inch rims, four-zone “climate” instead of two , matrix headlights (instead of full led ones), leather upholstery, panoramic roof and much more. And in any case, there is a substantial list of options available.

Charging improves (a little)

The purely mechanical part of theAudi SQ8 e-tron it does not change compared to the e-tron S, but there are important innovations on the electric one. There drums has an increased capacity of 20 kWh (now reaches i 114 kWh gross, which become 106 net) and this, with the same size, brings thedeclared autonomy of the SQ8 e-tron Sportback a 471 km (458 km for the “suv”, which is slightly less aerodynamic and consumes more electricity). Even refueling becomes faster, because it can take place at up to 170 kW in direct current, against the 150 of the old e-tron S. According to Audi, in ideal conditions the SQ8 e-tron recovers 104 km of range in 10 minutes. Even with these improvements, it must be said that there are electric SUVs that offer more range and the possibility of recharging more quickly.

Then there is another interesting novelty, especially in perspective, which mitigates one of the inconveniences linked to the recharging operation: it is the Plug&Charge function. Just connect the car to the column and at the end of refueling the amount is automatically charged. The advantage is that you no longer need to keep your credit card or that of the energy supplier handy. The Plug&Charge function can already be used in Ionity stations, but will soon be extended to the Enel-X circuit as well.

Double rear engine

There are three engines: one at the front and two at the rear, to give the rear wheels greater dynamics, also aimed, if desired, at obtaining a moderate power oversteer when the Dynamic driving mode is selected. According to Audi, with the electric all-wheel drive of theAudi SQ8 e-tron the variation of the torque distribution between the front and rear wheels according to needs takes place twice as fast as a traditional system, while the distribution between the two rear wheels adapts four times faster.

The weight is there but it is not noticeable (too much)

Even with only the driver, theAudi SQ8 e-tron exceeds 2700 kg. Between the curves the weight is felt, but Driveability is very good for an SUV almost five meters long and with this mass. Although the steering has a somewhat artificial sensitivity, it is not difficult to exploit the total 503 HP (the same as the previous e-tron S), which are delivered with great fluidity and naturalness. With the Dynamic driving program, the sprint and recovery are almost violent and it is perceived that the rear wheels have a prevalence in discharging the driving torque to the ground (the maximum value of which reaches a good 973 Nm); in tight corners, this can actually lead to a slight oversteer (held at bay by the electronics) if you insist on the accelerator. The adjustment of the intensity of the energy recovery in deceleration using the paddles on the steering wheel also allows you to simulate a sort of downshift, which is appreciated when driving more committed.

Seven driving programs

Thrust becomes softer and more relaxing if you switch from Dynamic mode to Auto, Comfort or Efficiency. In addition there are the Allroad and Offroad functions intended for off-road driving and the Individual for an individual setting of steering, accelerator, suspension and traction. And the official data tell of a maximum speed of 210 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.

L’Audi SQ8 e-tron it offers as standard the adaptive air suspension which adjusts the ground clearance according to use, to optimize aerodynamics and consumption at speed or to increase the ground clearance in some occasional trips beyond the asphalt. The steering is variable gear ratio, while the rims are 20″ for the entry-level version and 21″ for the sport attitudes; 22-inch wheels are available upon request.

ADAS: the right ones are on the sport attitude

The endowment standard of driving assistance systems is only discreet for a car of this price but can be integrated by drawing on the optional list, while in the case of theAudi SQ8 e-tron sport attitude there is everything that is needed for this category. As in the past, virtual rear-view mirrors are available on request: two external cameras that transmit images through as many displays mounted on the upper edge of the front doors. In an area which, however, is not of immediate consultation and requires a little getting used to. They promise better visibility when weather conditions are not ideal and improve aerodynamics and, consequently, also acoustic comfort. But they are expensive: 1,570 or 2,000 euros depending on the layout.

In our opinion

> Habitability. It’s what you’d expect from a car nearly 5 meters long. Also for those on the back side and for luggage. This applies to both versions, even if the Sportback has a more elusive tail.
> Comfort. The electronically controlled air suspension absorbs road irregularities well while limiting roll and pitch.
> Finishes. They are top notch. Worthy of an Audi worth well over 100,000 euros.

> Boot access. The loading sill is almost 80 cm from the ground and loading heavy objects requires some extra effort.
> Endowment. The standard set-up, especially for electronic driving aids, could be richer in relation to the price.
> Virtual rear view mirrors. They are expensive and the position of the monitors in the doors is a bit distracting.

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