- Three-motor electric drivetrain improves acceleration and traction capabilities, and delivers more power than Q8 e-tron
- The addition of a second rear drive motor elevates total peak output to 496 hp and 718 lb.-ft. of torque in boost mode, and allows for intelligent torque vectoring, improving turn-in and cornering capabilities
- Form follows function; widened body, wheels and track combine with standard quattro® all-wheel drive to amplify the SUV’s surefooted agility
The 2024 Audi SQ8 e-tron has arrived, adding an extra dose of performance to Audi’s flagship luxury electric SUV. Augmenting the sophisticated luxury and everyday usability found in the new Q8 e-tron, the SQ8 e-tron provides improved acceleration, increased handling dynamics, and elevated traction capabilities thanks to its three-motor quattro® drivetrain. The new model expands enthusiast appeal for an SUV already engineered to set benchmarks in seamless electrified vehicle ownership; making it the fully electric SUV for the customer that enjoys taking the winding road to their destination.
Three electric motors power the new Audi SQ8 e-tron and Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron – one at the front axle and two positioned in the rear – offering 94 more horsepower and 228 more lb.-ft. of torque than the 2024 Q8 e-tron. The three motor drivetrain offers superior straight-line performance, along with improved dynamics and traction capabilities thanks to standard electric torque vectoring. The additional rear motor also increases the SQ8 e-tron’s peak output to 496 hp (370 kW) and 718 lb.-ft. of torque (973 Nm). In its boost mode, the 2024 Audi SQ8 e-tron can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 4.2 seconds (0-100 km/h in only 4.6 seconds).
Image Credit: Audi Media
Desirable S design interior and exterior
The 2024 Audi SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron are immediately identifiable by distinctive silver rocker-panel accents and aluminum-look exterior mirror housings, matched by similar treatments on the front fascia and rear diffuser. When compared to the 2024 Q8 e-tron, the SQ8 e-tron is also differentiated by flared fenders that widen the body overall by 1.5 inches (39 mm).
This broader stance gives the SQ8 e-tron a truly striking appearance; visually anchoring the SUV to the ground and underscoring its improved performance and athleticism, particularly when paired with the available 22-inch 5-arm-interference design wheels in titanium finish. 20-inch 5-V-spoke design wheels are standard.
Six-piston fixed aluminum red calipers at the front clamp 15.7-inch (400mm) diameter two-piece steel brake rotors to provide stopping power. In the rear, sliding single piston red calipers are mated to 13.8 inch (350mm) diameter ventilated steel brake rotors.
The SQ8 interior features standard 12-way adjustable power S-logo embossed front sport seats wrapped in Valcona leather with contrast diamond stitching, with available colors of Black, Rotor Gray, and Arras Red. Inside, SQ8 e-tron models are further differentiated with the addition of a performance themed Carbon square structure interior trim finish as standard, replacing the open pore wood offerings of the Q8 e-tron.
As in the Q8 e-tron, the SQ8 e-tron offers standard four-zone automatic climate control with a heat pump and comfort pre-conditioning.
The SQ8 e-tron incorporates the Audi MMI touch response operating system as standard. Its two large high-resolution displays – an upper 10.1-inch and lower 8.6-inch display with haptic touch technology – provide a clean, uncluttered interior design. Beyond operation with the two touch displays, many features can be activated through natural voice control.
The digital display and user experience in the SQ8 e-tron are complemented by the standard Audi virtual cockpit with full HD resolution display. Specific graphics depict all the important aspects of electric driving, from charging performance to range; various driver assistance functionalities, such as Adaptive cruise assist with lane guidance; and of course basic driving information, like vehicle speed. All SQ8 e-tron models also come standard with a Bang & Olufsen® sound system with 3D sound.
Power and handling gains via three-motor setup
The drivetrain of the 2024 SQ8 e-tron features three electric motors that increase total power and torque, as well as add additional handling and traction capabilities, over the core Q8 e-tron. The front axle is driven by an asynchronous electric motor (when unpowered, asynchronous motors induce no drag, helping to improve efficiency), while the rear axle features two asynchronous electric motors that each power a rear wheel. In boost mode, the front-axle motor produces up to 210 hp (157 kW), and the two rear motors up to 185 hp (138 kW) each. Total boost power is limited to 496 hp (370 kW) by battery output, allowing the SUV to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 4.2 seconds (0-100 km/h in only 4.6 seconds). Top speed is limited to 130 mph.
The two rear electric motors on the SQ8 e-tron also provide handling advantages over the single rear motor Q8 e-tron. Since there is no physical connection between the rear wheels (apart from their shared cooling system), the two electric motors can distribute drive torque to either wheel with complete variability, and do so in fractions of a second. Electric torque vectoring can direct drive force to the appropriate wheel in five milliseconds or less, an extremely low latency, responding around five times quicker than that of mechanical differentials.
When cornering at speed, distributing power so swiftly and effectively between the rear wheels eliminates the need for torque vectoring by braking to improve agility. When accelerating quickly out of a corner, the outside rear wheel can receive up to 162 lb.-ft. (220 Nm) more torque than the inside wheel. When multiplied by the electric motors’ gearing, this can equate to a difference at the wheels of around 1,550 lb.-ft. (2,100 Nm). The added torque sent to the outside wheel can help improve vehicle turn-in without the use of the brakes as in more conventional torque vectoring systems. As the SQ8 e-tron’s handling limit is approached, the unloaded inside front wheel is slowed slightly, helping make the SQ8’s handling both more agile and neutral, minimizing both oversteer and understeer conditions.
Another advantage of the three-motor drivetrain in the SQ8 e-tron is its ability to improve traction on acceleration. If one rear wheel is on a low friction surface (e.g., a patch of ice, wet grass or gravel), torque can be distributed precisely and quickly between the other two motors. The higher-traction wheel receives almost the entire available torque, while the lower-traction wheel can receive almost none, helping the SQ8 to improve traction on lower friction surfaces.
Intelligent driving aids, solid performance platform
Aided by an EV’s low center of gravity and tuned for optimized lateral dynamics, all SQ8 e-tron models benefit from Audi’s legendary quattro® all-wheel drive system, and are equipped with air-sprung, five-link, front and rear independent suspensions with electronic damper control. This permits the SQ8 e-tron to be configured for different road conditions, with a ride height adaptable by as much as 3.0 inches (76 mm) depending on the driving situation.
The four-stage electronic stabilization control (ESC) system in the SQ8 e-tron is fully integrated with the power electronics and electrified powertrain to help balance handling and control. Along with the normal driving mode, the ESC system offers sport and offroad modes. Driving characteristics can also be tuned via the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system, permitting choices between seven pre-set profiles: auto, comfort, dynamic, efficiency, individual, allroad, and offroad.
Due to the location of the high-voltage battery, the SQ8 e-tron features an almost equal 50:50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles. The SQ8 e-tron’s body features a mixed steel/aluminum hybrid construction. Including the housing for the high-voltage battery, the aluminum content of the body is around 40 percent. The high-voltage battery and body form a strengthened hybrid structure, netting 45 percent greater torsional stiffness than a conventional internal-combustion SUV. This stiff construction pays off in better handling as well as reduced noise levels. The central components forming the core of the SQ8 e-tron’s passenger compartment – A- and B-pillars, roof members, center tunnel, interior sills, floor cross members, and rear longitudinal members – are all made of ultra-high-strength steel.
Incorporates significant Q8 e-tron model line improvements
The 2024 SQ8 e-tron retains all the usability gains of the 2024 Q8 e-tron announced for the U.S. in March 2023. The SQ8 e-tron benefits from increased driving range, higher-power and faster charging capabilities, and efficiency gains via aerodynamic advancements and improvements to both battery cell chemistry and packaging over the previous 2023 Audi e-tron S that it replaces.
As with the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron, owners of the 2024 SQ8 e-tron also receive the same two years of DC fast charging included at no additional cost via the Electrify America network. The SQ8 e-tron also incorporates true customer conveniences such as Plug & Charge functionality which eliminates the need to present a separate payment card at Electrify America charging stations across the country.
With a 23-percent greater net battery capacity of 106 kWh (114 kWh gross) from the previous e-tron S, and a host of aerodynamic and other efficiency updates, the EPA-estimated range of new 2024 SQ8 e-tron sees an increase of around 20 percent compared to the e-tron S models from 2023. The EPA estimated range for the 2024 Audi SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron is 253 miles with the standard 20-inch wheels, and 218 miles with the optional 22-inch wheels. These range and charging improvements greatly expand the everyday flexibility and usability of the SQ8 e-tron, allowing owners to travel farther and get back on the road faster, making BEV ownership even more seamless.
Further to this, one week of complimentary Audi on demand rental benefit through the Always Audi program is also provided at no additional charge to give customers a way to experience the range of Audi ICE and BEV vehicles with flexible short term rental and long term test-drive options at the touch of a button through an app.
Audi’s electrification commitment
Audi has sold more than 150,000 e-tron SUVs globally since its introduction as the brand’s first BEV in 2019. In 2022, Audi ended the year with its most BEV sales ever in the U.S., finishing the year with an increase of 47 percent over 2021. The 2024 Audi SQ8 e-tron represents another portion of the second-generation of Audi’s electrified U.S. portfolio, contributing toward the brand’s goal of achieving a 30 percent electrified model portfolio globally by 2025, including fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
From 2026, all new models introduced for the global market from Audi are planned to be fully electric. Audi was one of the first automotive manufacturers to publicly support and align its actions towards the goal of full net carbon neutrality globally across the lifecycle of its vehicles by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Availability by Q4 2023
The 2024 Audi SQ8 e-tron is anticipated to arrive in U.S. showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2023; additional details of the SQ8 will be shared closer to its arrival in U.S. showrooms.
|2024 SQ8 e-tron||Three asynchronous electric motors
114 kWh battery
|quattro® all-wheel drive
|2024 SQ8 Sportback e-tron||Three asynchronous electric motors
114 kWh battery
|quattro® all-wheel drive
* Prices exclude destination, taxes, title, other options and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.
… notes from SP