Perhaps it’s the nature of the expertise and the strain of change, however EVs appear to age extra quickly than their now doomed ICE forebears. Can it actually be 5 years since WIRED first tried the Audi E-tron?
Nearly. So it’s time for a significant refresh, one thing this huge Audi may actually use as key rivals such because the BMW iX and Mercedes EQE have since entered the fray. Notice that they’re each purpose-built, clean-sheet EVs that share little to nothing when it comes to their structure with current combustion-engined siblings.
Nevertheless, though the Q8 E-tron is renamed to cement its standing on the high of an EV line-up that features the Q4 E-tron and the incoming Q6 E-tron, it’s nonetheless primarily based on the identical platform that you simply’ll discover beneath the fossil-fuel-powered Q7 SUV and the associated Porsche Cayenne, each of the VW family.
The exterior visible modifications introduce some EV-ness into Audi’s more and more expressive design language, to the extent that even non-brand aficionadoes ought to be capable of spot that change is afoot. There’s a brand new grille, the Audi brand is extra distinguished, and the bumpers entrance and rear are redesigned. A light-weight bar now stretches between the headlights, and there’s a brand new alloy wheel design.
The E-tron can also be accessible as a Sportback, although I can’t assist pondering that each one SUV-coupes are considerably specious. WIRED wouldn’t commerce the common automobile’s longer rear and better versatility for this supposed fashion assertion.
Extra vital are the tech upgrades. 5 years is a very long time on the earth of electrification, and battery power density is all the time bettering. The entry-level 50 model sees its usable capability rise from 71 to 89 kWh, whereas the 55 mannequin (and performance-oriented SQ8 E-tron) goes from 89 to 106 kWh, which can be greater than the approaching Kia EV9. Now we’re speaking.
The motors have additionally been revised, and the automobile’s aerodynamic effectivity additional optimized. Audi claims a variety of “as much as 330 miles” for the 55, and DC charging speeds are improved too. These have gone from 150 to 170 kW, although that’s nonetheless a way off the 240-kW restrict loved by the wonderful Genesis GV70 and others. The battery will go from 10 to 80 p.c cost in 31 minutes, however this time that may’t beat the EV9’s 800V electrical structure, which might do the identical in below 25 minutes.
The Q8 E-tron has additionally gained some dynamic enhancements. The steering is quicker and extra alert, the suspension has been finessed—all variations journey on air springs—and the steadiness and traction management algorithms have been tweaked. The 55 has a complete of 402 bhp and 490 pound-feet of torque, and it sits between the 335-bhp 50 model and the 496-bhp SQ8. That one beneficial properties a 3rd motor.
Imperious, Not Interactive
The twin-motor 55 is a automobile that has an imperious really feel with out being what you would possibly name interactive. However then no electrical SUV is really working off a mission assertion to entertain—not least as a result of, whatever the chassis wizardry or engineering smarts at play, the E-tron weighs north of two.5 tons, and the physics at work are immutable.