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Audi Q8 e-tron in the test: Faster, further, more expensive

2023-02-03T05:39:05.703Z


Audi has improved its first, often maligned electric car: the luxury SUV is faster, but also more economical. However, the manufacturer urgently needs to rework the exterior mirrors.


The first impression:

Attention, risk of confusion!

The Q8 e-tron is by no means an offshoot of the colossal Audi SUV flagship Q8, but the brand's first electric car, previously only known as the "e-tron".

He starts the second half of his run with an added model designation and fresh make-up.

That's what the manufacturer says:

Electromobility is becoming the norm, which is why electric vehicles are gradually being sorted into the normal nomenclature of the manufacturers.

"With its new model designation, the Q8 e-tron makes a clear statement that it is the top model of electric SUVs and crossovers," says Audi marketing man Florian Tatzel.

What Audi does not (yet) say: With the renaming, the Bavarians are preparing their overdue offensive in electric vehicles and creating a naming logic for the phase in which diesel, petrol and electric vehicles exist side by side and in the end only battery cars are left remain.

It is high time for this at Audi.

Because after the VW subsidiary was at the forefront with the e-tron at its premiere in 2018 and had led the segment in the meantime, the company has now fallen far behind.

While Mercedes has its own electric architecture for the luxury class and BMW has received a lot of praise for the E-series iX and i7, Audi only has the e-tron GT in addition to the debut in the luxury class.

And it's not much more than a disguised Porsche Taycan and is only built in homeopathic quantities.

It's going to start soon, the Audi management dismisses and refers to the so-called PPE kit: This

premium electric platform

was developed together with Porsche.

Numerous luxury models for the VW Group are to be created from it – above all at Audi.

A Q6 this fall and a new A6 next year, which will first be available as a sedan and then as a station wagon.

Unlike the freshly launched e-tron, these models are based on a space-saving skateboard platform, have 800 volt technology and maximum charging power of almost 300 kW - so they are competitive.

We noticed that

in the revised Q8 e-tron everything stays the same for the driver - and that's a good thing.

The car is quiet and strong, comfortable and confident.

This includes digital instruments, posh workmanship and almost perfect ergonomics.

The exception to this is the unusual aircraft throttle-inspired direction selector.

The changes are homeopathic: the assistance systems support more sensitively than before, the colossus looks a bit more agile overall - thanks to modified steering assistance and newly programmed traction electronics.

Autonomous driving is also making progress, at least on a small scale and in stationary traffic: before the end of the year, the Q8 e-tron can be maneuvered into tight parking spaces remotely from a cell phone.

The gap that the silverback among the Stromers now has is only noticeable when loading.

Yes, the engineers have slightly increased the charging capacity to 170 kW at best.

That means: The Q8 e-tron is connected to the DC connection for at least 31 minutes until the on-board computer shows 80 percent.

Newer competitors are faster there.

What you need to know:

The biggest changes are in the drive.

In some cases, Audi has greatly increased the battery capacity, installed more economical engines and thus increased the range significantly in some cases.

With the basic model, this was comparatively easy because more cells were simply installed there, so that the data sheet now shows 89 instead of 64 kWh.

In order to store even more electricity in the battery higher up in the model hierarchy, a new generation of cells was needed, the engineers explain.

The now prism-shaped energy stores with newly layered cell material can be arranged to save space.

The energy density increases and the capacity increases from 86 to 106 kWh with almost the same space requirement.

Because the fine-tuning of the designers also has a positive influence on the drag coefficient, at least in the case of the Sportback variant,

The Q8 e-tron is available with either a conventional SUV rear end or as a Sportback with a flatter end in three versions: As the Q8 e-tron 50, it has a range of up to 505 kilometers with a net 89 kWh battery and a 250 kW motor.

For the Variant 55 there are two electric motors with 300 kW and Quattro drive as well as a net 106 kWh battery for a range of up to 600 kilometers.

And in the top model SQ8 e-Tron, Audi installs three motors with a total of 370 kW.

Then the now somewhat heavier car (well over 2.5 tons) accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 210 km/h – it is therefore faster than its predecessor.

With the thorough revaluation, the price also rises, and that sharply.

Especially with the basic model, which is now in the list at 74,400 euros (previously 69,100 euros).

A surcharge of 2250 euros is charged for the sleek Sportback, the 55 starts at 85,300 euros and the SQ8 e-tron costs at least 95,800 euros.

Deliveries start in February.

We won't forget that:

the digital exterior mirrors with the screens in the doors.

They bring a range of around ten kilometers because of the reduced air resistance.

But the displays sit too low, are often covered by your own arm and, above all, direct your gaze in the wrong direction.

Thomas Geiger is a freelance author and was supported in his research by Audi.

Reporting is independent of this.

Source: spiegel

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