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First Drive Review of the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron

Image Source: Traveller70 / Shutterstock

When you take the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron for a spin, it feels like stepping into a scene from the animated classic by Walt Disney, “Fantasia.” Picture the majestic moment when the large creatures gracefully move to Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda. It’s almost magical to believe that such massive beings can twirl with such elegance!

Admittedly, it may seem like a fairy tale. Yet, a similar suspension of disbelief is necessary when envisioning yourself at the wheel of the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron. Once you’re in control, you’ll be convinced that a voluminous vehicle can maneuver like a swift performer, despite weighing in at 6,118 pounds. Although Audi has the Q8 e-tron and the Q8 e-tron S-Line in its lineup, the latter boasting a sportier appearance but lacking the extra power, the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron stands out.

This variant represents the most athletic iteration of Audi’s largest electric SUV, powered by one electric motor on the front axle and two at the rear, ensuring all-wheel drive. Together, the trio of motors generates 496 horsepower and 718 pound-feet of torque from the 106-kWh battery. In contrast to the standard Q8 e-tron with its 86.5-kWh battery, there’s an additional 94 horses and 228 pound-feet of torque on tap. With this power, the vehicle can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 130 mph. Moreover, it can tow up to 4,000 pounds with a tongue weight of 400 pounds.

What about the driving experience? To uncover this, we navigated the twisting roads in the hills overlooking Malibu, California.

Is it rapid? Without a doubt! Nevertheless, what truly leaves an impact is its performance on the bends. The quattro all-wheel-drive setup in this Audi is calibrated to favor the rear, allowing the two rear electric motors to independently adjust the torque they deliver to each wheel. During cornering, the outer rear motor provides 162 lb-ft more torque than the inner one, allowing for torque vectoring. This means that when entering a curve, the vehicle can swiftly maneuver, thrilling and captivating the driver.

This agility owes itself to the precise steering and finely-tuned suspension of the SQ8 Sportback e-tron. The steering feel is spot-on, especially when in Dynamic mode. However, the optional 22-inch wheels, although enhancing handling, come at the cost of comfort and range, reducing it to 218 miles from the standard 20-inch wheels’ 253 miles.

Despite the hefty price tag of $98,600, our model ended up at $105,740 with added features such as the Black Optic Package for $3,500, the AC Charging Package for $1,895, and metallic paint for an extra $595. Nevertheless, the high-speed prowess of the vehicle is complemented by a cabin that remains serenely quiet, featuring luxurious materials and cozy seating.

The infotainment system, comprising a 10.8-inch touchscreen and an 8.6-inch display for climate control, functions seamlessly. Yet, the real amusement stems from piloting the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron. This vehicle offers all the joy you need to relish the journey.

Image Source: Traveller70 / Shutterstock

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