It is inspired by the world’s premier desert rally: the Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1. On the exterior, the special model’s raised chassis and the optional decals are reminiscent of the RS Q e-tron designed for the Dakar Rally and featuring an electric drive system and an energy converter. The off-road capabilities of this exclusive SUV, combined with its high and instantly available torque, are perfect for adventurous people who also want to drive off the beaten path electrically. The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar can be ordered in the first quarter of 2024. In Germany prices start from around 120,000 euros.

  • Optimized off-road capability: Ground clearance raised by 31 millimeters
  • A unique design language: Striking exterior and optional decals inspired by the RS Q e-tron from the Dakar Rally
  • More grip: Off-road ready General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires improve acceleration and braking on loose surfaces

Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar

It is inspired by the world’s premier desert rally: the Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1. On the exterior, the special model’s raised chassis and the optional decals are reminiscent of the RS Q e-tron designed for the Dakar Rally and featuring an electric drive system and an energy converter. The off-road capabilities of this exclusive SUV, combined with its high and instantly available torque, are perfect for adventurous people who also want to drive off the beaten path electrically. The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 can be ordered in the first quarter of 2024. In Germany prices start from around 120,000 euros.

The Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 is based on a Q8 advanced 55 e-tron quattro2. The net battery size is 106 kWh (gross: 114 kWh) and the quattro drivetrain, with its two motors, delivers 300 kW in boost mode with a torque of 664 Nm. This means the vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.8 seconds with the standard tires. With the General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires, the car reaches 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds. The range according to the WLTP is up to 487 kilometers. The top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124 mph). 

Compared to the base model, the electric SUV with General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires has 31 millimeters higher ground clearance and is designed for better handling on loose surfaces such as gravel or snow. In the base setting, the vehicle has a ground clearance of 206 millimeters. At higher speeds, the vehicle gradually lowers – by 15 millimeters at 85 km/h (53 mph), 17 millimeters at 100 km/h (62 mph), and 13 millimeters at 120 km/h (75 mph). This optimizes driving stability at high speeds for improved aerodynamics and range. In conjunction with the front angle of approach of 20 degrees and the rear angle of approach of 26 degrees, the electric SUV is well prepared to tackle light off-road terrain. The vehicle has a ramp angle of 19 degrees. 

The control strategy for the air suspension was also revised to meet the requirements typical of off-road driving. The wading depth is 300 mm.

Distinctive exterior accentuates sporty off-road look

The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 is available in Siam Beige metallic, Mythos Black metallic, and Magnetic Gray. The Singleframe always comes in body color. As an option, the projection light in the Singleframe, with its light strip, creates a visually consistent connection between the headlights. The Bottom Line also comes finished in Mythos Black metallic, giving the vehicle a touch of stability and grip. Widened and continuous wheel arch trims at the front and rear lend the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 a confident stance on the road. When the driver’s door is opened, LED lights project the words “edition Dakar” onto the street. The individual class of the edition Dakar is also reflected in the exclusive key cover with a special branding. A convenience key (with anti-theft alarm system) is available as an option, which can be used to open the doors and luggage compartment lid via wireless communication between the key and the vehicle. The key can also lock the vehicle via sensors on the door handles.

The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 can be fitted with a unique decal package inspired by the legendary RS Q e-tron. Starting with the body color Mythos Black metallic, the car receives a partial embellishment. This means that the wrap uses purposeful transparencies and does not mask the entire surface, even though all exterior components are treated. The wrapped models are limited to 99 units. On the D-pillar, the special model’s serial number can be seen in frosted lettering.

The edition Dakar features extensive standard equipment

The special edition model rolls off the production line with Matrix LED headlights and taillights as standard for precise and high-resolution road illumination. Standard equipment also includes tinted sun visors for the tailgate, rear door, and side windows. On the inside, the S line interior is now standard : This package includes deeply contoured sports seats upholstered in Dinamica microfiber and artificial leather. The vehicle also features a multifunction sport leather steering wheel, an elegant black roof lining, stainless steel pedals, and a comfort center armrest. The decorative inlays come in brushed matte aluminum, while the door sills feature aluminum inserts. The upper part of the instrument panel and the lower interior elements are finished in black artificial leather. The Audi Sport stitching package in red is available as an option. It adds contrasting accents with colored stitching on the sport seats, steering wheel, knee pads, and door armrests. The seat belts are also trimmed in red to blend in perfectly with the cabin’s sporty feel.

A head-up display supplements the screens. It projects important information right onto the windshield – the projections seem to float front of the driver. Another new feature is a display in the MMI operating system that displays information the vehicle’s tilt angle. Plus, Audi offers MMI background images on the MMI display created especially for the edition Dakar1.

In the MMI display, Audi offers theme worlds generated especially for the Edition with MMI background images and coordinated ambient lighting. The spirit of the vehicle is represented here in three scenes: from desert thunderstorms and tire tracks to a dune landscape. The Audi phone box makes phone use very convenient. It connects the driver’s smartphone, which it charges inductively, to the car antenna. The edition also comes standard with the City and Tour assistance packages.

The robust equipment of the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 offers further proof of its practicality. The storage and luggage compartment package is also a standard feature. The durable luggage compartment liner and the sturdy floor mats feature edition lettering. The special edition also comes standard with a roof rack. With its load capacity of 40 kilograms (88 lbs.), the roof rack can be used to store a variety of items. A bag for the roof rack and straps for attaching accessories are included. A second charging socket can be used to charge the high-voltage battery using the Combined Charging System Type 2 (CCS2). What’s more, the e-tron charging system offers everything adventure-seekers need to charge their vehicle – whether at home, with friends, or at a vacation home.

The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 is delivered with eight tires. The car comes fitted with General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires for excellent off-road resilience. The tires also ensure improved grip on a variety of surfaces including gravel, stony terrain, mountain and forest paths, and snow. The special tread pattern optimizes acceleration as well as braking and lateral control quality while also enabling the tires to efficiently self-clean, especially when driving on muddy surfaces. The Grabber AT3 also have excellent driving characteristics and low noise emission on asphalt roads for significantly increased driving comfort. The all-terrain tires have an M+S marking, meaning they are suitable for year-round use. A set of summer tires on 20-inch wheels in an attractive 5-V spoke S design is also included with the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1.

More light, visibility, and sound: Special features

The optional ambient light package plus with six predefined color profiles stages the interior to great effect. Featuring extensive contour lights in up to 30 colors, it precisely traces the elemental lines of the interior. As an alternative to the standard two-zone automatic air conditioning, Audi offers four-zone automatic air conditioning. The system can use an optional second high-voltage heater to noticeably increase the heating power. This means that the interior warms up faster in very cold conditions, while the additional battery heater ensures that the battery is ready for charging in very low temperatures. The optional Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 3D sound makes the electric SUV an even greater high-end sound experience. It drives 16 speakers with 705 watts of power. The optionally available virtual side mirrors with cameras reduce the overall width of the vehicle by 15 centimeters, improving the drag coefficient.  The virtual mirrors provide clearer visibility than conventional mirrors in dusty or wet off-road conditions. 

The Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 draws inspiration from a remarkable source: On the exterior, the lifted chassis and the optional decals of the special edition model, which is available in limited numbers throughout Europe, are reminiscent of the RS Q e-tron. It was designed for the Dakar Rally featuring an electric drive system and an energy converter. When evaluating the off-road capabilities of the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1, Carlos Sainz Senior, a two-time World Rally Champion and three-time Dakar winner, stands as one of the foremost experts. He is also a successful works driver in the Dakar Rally with the RS Q e-tron. Fermín Soneira Santos, head of the A- to C-segment electric model series, is equally qualified. Together they tested the off-road edition.

What do you both find fascinating about electric cars for off-road use?

Carlos Sainz: First of all, it’s a great privilege for me to be part of the evolution of motorsport. Throughout its involvement in the sport, Audi has consistently pushed boundaries with its new technologies. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed an electric drive could compete in rallying. I’m fascinated that I’m now able to win special stages in the RS Q e-tron and hopefully finish the Dakar at the front of the pack. I’m impressed by the overall advantages of electric drive systems, such as the ability to use the right propulsion in every driving situation without having to change gears. Of course, the sustainability of the electric drive system in off-road use also convinced me. It’s a great experience to be part of this project and to help advance the technology.

Fermín Soneira Santos: To me, driving an electric car is fascinating. It’s not just about the characteristics that are enjoyable, but also the emotions that a car like our top electric model, the Audi e-tron GT quattro2, inspires every day. When discussing the off-road capabilities of an electric car, we are talking about the torque, the specially adapted chassis, and the drive system. In the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1, our customers will be able to experience what an electric drive system can achieve in off-road conditions. This model offers the best combination of reliability and performance off the beaten track.

What additional features does a model need to have to deserve the name edition Dakar?

Fermín Soneira Santos: This project was, of course, inspired by the RS Q e-tron and our participation in the Dakar Rally as well as Carlos. Both vehicles represent sustainable off-road driving. We aimed to transfer some of the RS Q e-tron’s capabilities to a production model. First and foremost, this means ground clearance. Compared to the Q8 e-tron, we raised the chassis by 67 millimetres (2.63 in). The edition Dakar also comes with special off-road tires. The car has a power output of 300 kW and delivers 664 Nm of torque. In addition to the extensive range of standard equipment, there is also an optional special wrap. At first glance, it makes it clear that the edition Dakar was inspired by the styling of the RS Q e-tron.

How rugged is the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 compared to the standard model?

Fermín Soneira Santos: The increased ground clearance enables the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 to go where normal production vehicles can’t. The extra 67 millimetres (2.63 in)can be used up to a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). On highways, the body automatically lowers back down. Of course, the tread design of the tires also contributes to the car’s off-road capabilities. Not only does it provide a better grip on loose surfaces such as gravel and snow, but it also absorbs some of the forces acting on the chassis. We also reinforced the suspension elements.

Carlos, what skills does a rally driver need to have to secure a top position in the Dakar?

Carlos Sainz: The Dakar is one of the toughest competitions in probably the most difficult terrain a rally driver can imagine. Also, the rally lasts two weeks, which is an unique duration in the sport, featuring extensive special stages. That’s why you must be very well prepared, both physically and technically. Besides endurance, the Rally is all about teamwork. All the experience we gained in the Dakar was crucial in developing the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1. The special model is perfect for people who also want to drive off the beaten track electrically.

What additional advantages can Audi customers look forward to when driving the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1?

Fermín Soneira Santos: The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 embodies the quintessential Audi DNA, characterized by a balance of solidity, control, connectivity.It relies entirely on the interplay of various components such as the chassis, steering, and drivetrain as well as the braking and control systems. The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 is a premium C-segment model. Drivers can sense the quality of materials in the interior, along with the driving comfort and acoustics. And it is a quattro, which is particularly important for an off-road vehicle.

What synergies exist between Audi’s participation in rallying and its production vehicles?

Fermín Soneira Santos: Our collaboration with Audi Sport is integral to developing production cars, drawing on the expertise gained. In addition, our colleagues test the technology we develop for production cars in extreme weather conditions. So, our unreserved, close cooperation is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Both departments have an open collaboration, which benefits Audi Sport and production development.

Carlos, what are the off-road characteristics of the RS Q e-tron?

Carlos Sainz: First of all, I had never seen a drive system like this used at a rally. This groundbreaking experience has been incredibly exciting. Its electric drive concept instills reliability, a responsive driving feel, and, most importantly, confidence — vital attributes for Rally drivers. The car reacts the way I expect it to. After two years with the RS Q e-tron, we are very well prepared and are looking forward confidently to the next Dakar.

What is most important when driving off-road?

Carlos Sainz: It’s important to judge the surface correctly. Familiarity with your vehicle and its available off-road features, as well as an understanding of your personal abilities and limits is key.

What do the RS Q e-tron and the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 have in common?

Fermín Soneira Santos: When it comes to the RS Q e-tron, we’re talking about a car designed for extreme use, driven by motorsport professionals. The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1, on the other hand, is a road-legal special edition, typically not driven by motorsport professionals. However, both share a spirit of adventure and a desire to explore and push limits. The electric drive systems of both models make them ideally suited for off-road driving.

What role do the tires of the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 play?

Carlos Sainz: On the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 the tires must work both in off-road and on-road settings. In my opinion, the off-road tires offered by Audi, available in addition to the standard tires, perfectly complement the potential of this special model.

Back to the rally: In your opinion, is a new era of electric power dawning or will combustion engines continue to dominate?

Carlos Sainz: We can already compete with the combustion engines. I am hopeful that the new Dakar regulations will enhance our competitiveness and provide more opportunities of achieving an overall victory. For example, we are penalized for short-term power surpluses, for example when the wheels have little or no contact with the ground. Just four years ago, most experts – including myself – doubted the viability of electric drive systems in endurance rallies. Our success with the RS Q e-tron shows that a manufacturer who focuses on sustainable drive technologies can also be successful in motorsport.

How significant are the successes you’ve had at rallies with the RS Q e-tron for the brand’s image and sales of electric production cars?

Fermín Soneira Santos: Success in motorsport has always been important for Audi and will continue to be so. The RS Q e-tron is the best platform to represent both our history and the future of the brand. Demonstrating the same pioneering spirit showcased in the 1980s with the introduction of the quattro to rallying, the RS Q e-tron at the Dakar underlines Audi’s commitment to innovation. Regardless of the outcome in 2024, we have already made automotive history.

Is the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 the first in a series of electric and off-road ready special editions?

Fermín Soneira Santos: Our dealers express immense enthusiasm for this edition model.I sincerely hope that the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar1 will be a success. If so, it will probably not be the last of its kind.

Short biographies
Carlos Sainz was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1962. He is a two-time World Rally Champion (1990 and 1992) and has finished on the podium in the World Rally Championship (WRC) 97 times. Sainz has won the Dakar Rally three times – in 2010, 2018, and 2020. Sainz drove the 2022 and 2023 Dakar Rally for Audi in the RS Q e-tron. In 2022, the Spaniard finished twelfth in the car class. In 2023, he dropped out after an accident on the ninth of 14 stages. In 2024, the father of Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Junior will return to the Dakar in the further developed RS Q e-tron.
Fermín Soneira Santos was born in 1972 in Gijón, Spain. He studied at the University of Oviedo, Spain, and the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabrück, Germany, graduating in 1998 with a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Automotive Engineering. He then began his career at AUDI AG in chassis development. In 2002, he moved to SEAT, where he spent the next twelve years in various technical development roles. In 2014, he returned to AUDI AG and took over product strategy and brand positioning for the luxury class models. Since September 2002, he has headed up the A- to C-segment electric model series.

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