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2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron First Drive Review

Image Source: Traveller70 / Shutterstock

Driving the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron is reminiscent of a scene from the Walt Disney animated feature, “Fantasia.” Specifically, it’s the one where hippos dance to Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda. It’s a fantasy to believe that such large creatures can pirouette!

OK, it’s a fantasy. But a similar suspension of disbelief is needed when considering driving the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron. Once behind the wheel, you will believe that a large vehicle can handle like a nimble dancer, despite its weight of 6,118 pounds. While Audi already offers a Q8 e-tron and a Q8 e-tron S-Line, which has the appearance of a faster model but lacks the extra power. The 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron, however, is different.

This is the sportiest version of Audi’s largest battery-electric SUV, featuring one electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear, providing all-wheel drive. Collectively, the three motors produce 496 horsepower and 718 pound-feet of torque from its 106-kWh battery. When compared to the base Q8 e-tron with its 86.5-kWh battery, there’s an additional 94 horses and 228 pound-feet of torque available. This power allows the vehicle to reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and achieve a top speed of 130 mph. Additionally, it can tow 4,000 pounds with up to a 400-pound tongue weight.

So, what’s the driving experience like? To find out, we took it to the winding roads in the hills above Malibu, California.

Is it fast? Absolutely! But what really impresses is its performance in the curves. This Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system is designed to favor the rear, and with no physical connection between the two rear wheels, the two electric motors can adjust the torque they deliver to either wheel. When cornering, the outside rear motor provides 162 lb-ft more torque than the inside one, offering torque vectoring. This means that when pushed into a corner, the vehicle can whip around, exciting and captivating the driver.

This agility is thanks to the SQ8 Sportback e-tron’s precise steering and well-tuned suspension. The steering is just right, particularly when set to its Dynamic driving mode. However, the optional 22-inch wheels, while enhancing handling, result in a reduction in ride comfort and range, down to 218 miles from the standard 20s’ 253 miles.

Despite its high price of $98,600, our vehicle ended up costing $105,740 with additional features like the Black Optic Package for $3,500, the AC Charging Package for $1,895, and metallic paint for an extra $595. However, the high-speed agility of the vehicle is complemented by a cabin that remains remarkably quiet, filled with premium materials and comfortable seating.

The infotainment system, consisting of a 10.8-inch touchscreen and an 8.6-inch screen for climate control, works flawlessly. Nevertheless, the real entertainment comes from driving the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron. This vehicle provides all the entertainment you need to enjoy the ride.

Image Source: Traveller70 / Shutterstock

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