2024 Audi SQ8 E-Tron Review: A Silent Powerhouse Dances Through the Curves

2024 Audi SQ8 E-Tron Review: A Silent Powerhouse Dances Through the Curves

Critique: The 2024 Audi SQ8 E-Tron Electric Vehicle glides swiftly in silence

Today’s market is flooded with large, potent electric high-end SUVs that boast under five seconds in the 0-60 mph sprint and can travel over 300 miles on a single charge.

In 2019, when Audi began delivering the E-Tron, the situation was quite different. Back in 2017, Siegfried Pint, who leads Audi’s powertrain and chassis development, assured me that the E-Tron’s three-motor system would enable it to maneuver with the agility of a predator in pursuit of its prey.

With the debut of newer high-end electric SUVs, the initial range and power metrics of the E-Tron were surpassed. However, the 2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron SUV and Sportback have leveled the playing field by incorporating a larger battery, enhanced agility, and an increased focus on aerodynamic design.

Luckily, the various enhancements didn’t interfere with the top-tier tri-motor feature. Just last week, I had the chance to experience firsthand the superior control that Pint had mentioned, as I navigated a challenging route through the canyons of Southern California.

Upcoming 2024 Model of the Audi SQ8 E-Tr

The experience improved further, particularly for the SQ8 E-Tron. When I began my journey, a heavy rainstorm ensued, turning the mountain roads treacherously slippery, a situation that demands careful driving regardless of the car.

I soon realized that the SQ8 E-Tron’s setup was eager to perform to the best of its abilities, given the grip available from the tires.

The upcoming Audi SQ8 E-Tron for 2024 will feature a trio of motors, with a single one allocated for the front and a pair situated at the back for the rear wheels, which operate independently from each other. This setup delivers a combined output of 396 horsepower and 718 pound-feet of torque, which represents an increase of 94 horsepower and 228 pound-feet over the standard Q8 E-Tron model.

Upcoming 2024 Audi SQ8 Electric Model

The SQ8 E-Tron’s standout feature: Agile rather than simply fast

Audi points out that the SQ8 has the ability to accelerate from 0-60 mph in a mere 4.2 seconds, compared to the Q8 E-Tron’s 5.1 seconds. While that’s fast, it’s not the most impressive aspect in an era where the Model X Plaid boasts a 2.5-second sprint and there’s an emphasis on raw power. Instead, the SQ8 shines with its remarkable agility when navigating turns.

The setup enables the pair of back motors to efficiently work in tandem during turns, providing as much as 162 lb-ft of additional torque to the wheel on the outer rear compared to the inner one. Concurrently, it activates the friction brakes on the front wheel on the inner side to assist with the turn. Additionally, the response time is approximately 20% of what a similar system with a traditional gas engine would take. This ensures that the vehicle continues to smoothly accelerate even as it is gently steered in the intended direction.

The Audi SQ8 E-Tron is equipped with a three-motor setup.

It transcends mere entertainment value. In essence, the system grants the E-Tron an incredible sense of speed that, rather surprisingly, comes with a lack of theatrics. Most impressively, it allows the E-Tron to maneuver as though it’s much lighter than its actual 6,118-pound weight would imply.

The SQ8 E-Tron features an identical motor structure to that of the Q8 E-Tron, with Audi highlighting the benefits of its asynchronous (induction) motors, which essentially have zero drag when idle. By default, the SQ8 favors the rear wheels, yet its motor setup permits Audi to shift operation to the front wheels under certain low-demand scenarios to enhance efficiency. This conserves the dual rear motors for initial acceleration, improved grip, and high-performance instances.

Upcoming 2024 model of the Audi SQ8, named

During a vigorous 70-mile drive that included steep inclines, swift descents, and occasional traction challenges, the SQ8 E-Tron reported an average consumption of 1.7 miles per kilowatt-hour. Under these intense driving conditions, it suggests the vehicle could cover approximately 180 miles. Normally, the SQ8 E-Tron can travel up to 253 miles on a single charge when equipped with 20-inch wheels. However, the model I tested had larger 22-inch wheels with a titanium finish and high-grip Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 tires, which reduces its official range to 218 miles according to EPA standards.

The Q8 E-Tron series sees an approximately 20% increase in battery size compared to the original E-Tron, now offering 106 kwh that can be utilized (114 kwh in total), up from the previous 84 kwh useable (95 kwh total). This enhancement is due to improved energy density in the cells and a reconfigured cell layout within the modules. Additionally, enhanced aerodynamics and various technological adjustments have enabled these vehicles to achieve a minimum of 20% greater driving distance than their predecessors.

It’s important to remember that the high-performance variants typically do not achieve the same driving range as other models in the series. This is evident when comparing to the Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV with a 235-mile range and the BMW iX M60 that reaches 274 miles. However, the Tesla Model X equipped with three motors does manage to secure a 311-mile rating.

If you choose the two-port charging option for the E-Tron, you can enhance the integrated charger to 19.2 kW, allowing for a quick full charge overnight, provided you use an 80-amp charger either at your residence or workplace. Every SQ8 E-Tron comes with a portable charger. Regarding quick charging during long drives, the E-Tron’s charging rate can reach a maximum of around 170 kW, enabling it to charge from 10% to 80% in approximately 31 minutes. Additionally, Audi offers two years of complimentary charging at Electrify America stations and the convenience of Plug & Charge technology.

Upcoming 2024 Audi SQ8 Electric Model

Handling, deceleration, and overall performance: Everything meets expectations

Similarly, the SQ8 E-Tron incorporates the Q8 E-Tron’s outstanding braking mechanism, which utilizes up to 0.3 g of regenerative power through the electric motors, switching to the actual brake pads for more intense stopping power or when coming to a complete halt.

The latest versions of the Q8 E-Tron stand out for their enhanced responsiveness, thanks to an improved steering ratio and updates to the front suspension setup. This results in a noticeably more dynamic driving experience across various scenarios, from navigating a parking space to cruising along rural routes during a leisurely weekend outing.

The SQ8 E-Tron features various driving options such as Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual modes. I predominantly used the Dynamic mode, which unlocks the maximum 496 horsepower and provides greater leeway in terms of traction and turning with the back motors, though the stability control system remains actively engaged.

Upcoming 2024 model of the Audi SQ8 E-Tr

The Q8 E-Tron lacks feedback to the person behind the wheel. The vehicle is engineered to such a level of refinement that driving it aggressively requires a leap of trust. While it consistently offers an impressive amount of traction and stability, discerning when you’re nearing its performance threshold is notably more challenging compared to other high-powered cars.

At the outset, what appeared to be a disadvantage eventually turned into a benefit with increased driving experience, especially on roads other than those in the canyons. The vehicle boasts an exceptionally quiet cabin, enhanced by double-layered acoustic glass on the sides, which, according to Audi’s own assessments, is even more silent than the interior of its premier A8 sedan model.

Upcoming 2024 Audi SQ8 Electric Model

Upcoming 2024 Model of Audi’s SQ8 E-Tr

Upcoming 2024 model of Audi’s SQ8 E-Tr

The comfort level within the cabin is excellent across the board. The SQ8 E-Tron models boast enhanced quilted leather seats and a carbon-fiber patterned dashboard. However, it’s the outstanding support from the seats that really becomes noticeable after spending time behind the wheel. The rear seating area is spacious enough for adults, and the flat cargo area offers ample room for smaller pieces of furniture when the back seats are folded down. It’s important to note, though, that the sleeker roofline of the Sportback model does reduce some cargo space height and makes the rear door entry a bit snug in terms of headspace. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the gear shifter seems more like a prototype than a finished product.

The SQ8 variant of the E-Tron series bears a strong resemblance to the Q8 model in terms of exterior design, albeit with a few enhancements. It features a track that is wider by 1.5 inches, leading to a slight increase in the overall width of the body. Additionally, it boasts larger grille openings and employs a matte-metallic finish for its decorative accents, which offers a subtle sheen.

Upcoming 2024 Model of the Audi SQ8 Electric Variant

Are you content with the cost and mileage of the SQ8 E-Tron? If so, the process is simple.

The anticipated 2024 Audi SQ8 E-Tron is set for release, with the base price for the SUV model at $90,995 and the Sportback at $93,795, both in the higher-end Premium Plus category. Opting for the luxurious Prestige variant will offer you features like advanced LED matrix headlights, doors that gently close themselves, and a display projected onto the windshield, along with other premium additions. The Prestige version of the SQ8 E-Tron SUV I reviewed had a total price of $102,345.

Should the cost of over a hundred dollars or less-than-stellar reviews not deter you, the SQ8 E-Tron proves to be a treasure that delivers. It serves as a testament that the top performer isn’t necessarily the one with the most impressive specs – it’s also about the agility and speed with which you navigate the twists and turns of the journey.

Audi’s earlier statement appears rather insightful now, considering the emergence of high-performance and enduring electric SUVs. While there might be challenges on the horizon, Audi is well-equipped with a robust contender.

— Green Car Reports was able to provide this direct account thanks to Audi, who paid for the travel and accommodation expenses.

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