2023 Audi SQ8 E-tron tops line-up at £115,000

Audi E tron facelift front three quarter

Facelift adds new front end and increases range

Tri-motor performance EV caps updated E-tron line-up, which opens at £68,000

Audi has unveiled face-lifted versions of the E-tron and E-tron Sportback, topped by the £114,500 tri-motor S performance version which brings 496bhp and up to 717lb ft of torque. 

The models, which also gain a longer range and more efficient battery, will carry the Q8 nameplate to position them as the brand’s new flagship SUVs.

As well as technical upgrades to their drivetrains, the two electric-powered SUVs receive a series of subtle exterior and interior styling changes. 

The line-up stays the same, starting from £67,800 for the entry-level Q8 50 e-tron quattro Sport (plus £2500 in Sportback guise).

Among the styling changes made to the three-year-old car is a new-look grille featuring Audi’s two-dimensional ring emblem and altered electronically controlled cooling ducts. It is set within a re-profiled bumper and is bookmarked by headlights with new functions, including an orientation light for country roads and a lane light with a direction indicator. At the rear, there are new tail-light graphics and a revised bumper. 

The German car maker has also added new spoilers within the underbody to smooth airflow around the wheels, helping to reduce drag coefficient by a factor of 0.2. 

Inside, Audi’s electric SUVs receive new recycled upholstery and trim options in a lightly revised cabin that also features changes to the multimedia interface (MMI). The system comes with MMI Navigation Plus as well as a so-called E-tron route planner as standard. 

The upgraded drivelines use a revised electric motor for a reduced current and lower power consumption under constant cruising conditions. 

As before, both SUVs’ 50 and 55 models (the latter starting from £77,800) use two asynchronous motors (one at the front, one at the rear) with the more potent S variant continuing with a third additional motor at the rear. 

Power and torque for the 50 models increase to 335bhp and 489lb ft but stay the same for the 55, which offers 396bhp and 489lb ft. 

Further changes are focused on the battery, which continues to operate at 400V. Audi says the adoption of more advanced cells and a new battery management system increases the battery pack’s energy density by up to 20%. A revised stacking process, with altered electrode placement, is also said to increase overall energy efficiency. 

With its reworked 89kWh lithium ion battery, UK-bound versions of the E-tron 50 and E-tron Sportback 50 achieve a provisional range on the WLTP test cycle of 281 miles and 290 miles respectively. The larger 104kWh unit in the E-tron 55 and E-tron Sportback 55 provides respective ranges of 330 miles and 343 miles. The same battery in the SQ8 gives 284 miles in the conventional SUV and 295 miles in the Sportback.

Charging can be achieved at up to 11kW on an AC system and either 150kW (E-tron 50 and E-tron Sportback 50) or 170kW on a DC system. 

Audi claims charging times (from a 10% to 80% state of charge) of 28 minutes for the 89kWh battery and 31 minutes for the 104kWh battery under optimal conditions.

Source: Autocar

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