Audi Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar takes electric SUV to new heights

Audi has built a more rugged version of its 2024 Q8 E-Tron electric SUV to highlight its efforts in the Dakar Rally, where it competes with the bespoke RS Q E-Tron series plug-in hybrid.

The rugged Q8 E-Tron is known as the Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar, and at present it has only been confirmed for Germany where it goes on sale shortly with a price tag that will start close to 120,000 euros (approximately $131,000). Buyers will be able to choose between the colors Siam Beige metallic, Mythos Black metallic, and Magnetic Gray.

Though it offers decals that create a livery inspired by the RS Q E-Tron, the Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar isn’t simply a styling exercise. There are genuine off-road upgrades, such as an extra 1.2 inches of ground clearance that takes the total to 8.1 inches. The vehicle is also fitted with General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires (buyers will also receive a set of regular summer tires), and Audi said it revised the suspension system to suit off-road conditions.

With the modifications, the Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar boasts approach and departure angles of 20 degrees and 26 degrees, respectively. Its breakover angle is 19 degrees and its wading depth is 11.8 inches.

2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar

2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar

There is also a standard roof rack with a load capacity of 88 pounds.

The Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar is based on the Q8 E-Tron’s 55 grade. That means it features a dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain that delivers a maximum 402 hp, or enough for 0-62 mph acceleration in 5.8 seconds with summer tires and 5.9 seconds with the all-terrain tires. The top speed is capped at 124 mph. The battery is a 114-kwh unit that for the regular Q8 E-Tron delivers an EPA-rated 285 miles of range. An EPA-rated figure for the Q8 E-Tron Edition Dakar hasn’t been published, though would likely come in lower due to the reduced efficiency of the tires.

2024 Audi RS Q E-Tron rally car

2024 Audi RS Q E-Tron rally car

The RS Q E-Tron that later this month will take on the grueling Dakar Rally for the third time is a very different beast than the Q8 E-Tron. As a series plug-in hybrid, it features a small combustion engine to charge a battery that powers an electric drive system, in this case a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup delivering a peak of 383 hp.

This year’s Dakar Rally runs Jan. 5-19 in Saudi Arabia.

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