Meet the SQ8 e-tron, Audi’s new “Sportback” small-size SUV. Wait, it’s a crossover. No, it’s a full-size hatchback. No, it’s a hatched sedan — oh boy. The first glance at this car makes it difficult to categorize.
Under the hood, there’s a lot to love. The German automaker says the SQ8 will be a high-performance small SUV. Around 496 horsepower makes up the new car’s motor. Having the comfort of the Q8 instills a comfortable driver and passenger experience. It’s a highly advanced electric car, complete with the most up-to-date infotainment and sound systems.
The chassis is a combination of the old Audi S class SUVs and the Q8. The new additions include the “Sportback” feature. This sqaureback frame allows for better aerodynamic performance, giving the car modest acceleration for an SUV.
“Car and Driver” hasn’t track-tested the car yet, but early estimates point to it can go 0–60 mph in 4 seconds. “Top Gear” suggests the 0–60 time is closer to 4.5 seconds. It’s relatively fast for a 2.7-ton car. There are boosts in the drivetrain that can propel the SQ8 to 130 mph.
Battery range is always the real kicker with an electric SUV. The official webpage for the U.K. model shows it can get up to 270 miles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates suggest it’ll be closer to 240 miles based on drag and other factors, but nothing official has been named yet. European models may have a longer range.
Photo Courtesy Audi
When it comes to charging, a 106-kW battery is powering the drivetrain. Audi says fast charging can get the battery from 10% to 80% in just 31 minutes. “Car and Driver” also say it will have around 73 MPGe in the city and 78 MPGe on the highway. The myAudi app can track charge rates, notifying drivers about charge times and routes to find charging stations.
The inside comes standard with Audi’s modern infotainment system, a heads-up display, a digital dashboard with GPS capabilities, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, and heated seats.
The car’s music and climate control can be controlled in the myAudi app. Drivers can stop and start the car, change the temperature, and heat the steering wheel. It comes with Sport mode and Comfort mode.
The coolest feature of the SQ8’s interior is the sound system. A Bang & Olufsen sound system provides one of the best musical experiences on the road. You can listen to Fred Again, Skrillex, and Four Tet’s Coachella set and feel the bass vibrating in your seat. It’s like having a private concert in your car.
Photo Courtesy Audi
When it comes to handling, “InsideEVs” says it does have great turning. Writer Seyth Miersma tried it out on the open road and said it matched what he expected from a luxury electric vehicle (EV). He also notes how its new branding could attract new customers.
Of course, the SQ8 will not be cheap — estimated pricing for the base mode range from around $91,000 to $98,000. Still, the SQ8 could challenge Tesla and Mercedes’ grip on the European EV market. The 2023 model is available now, and the 2024 model arrived in April. It should be available for purchase in September.