There is no shortage of machines jumping on the off-road bandwagon as of late. Rigs like the Porsche 911 Dakar and Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato get big grins and all the ink but jacked up machines like the Wilderness line at Subaru are pushing these builds well into the mainstream. Audi is dipping a toe into these muddy waters with the all-electric Q8 e-tron Edition Dakar.
We mused exactly how long it would take a manufacturer to kit one of its EVs with off-road gear which is sure to sap range faster than a hungry teenage kid wolfs down dinner after hockey practice (this may be a strangely specific example taken from events in the Guy household). Whilst it is true these safari-ized vehicles – particularly the outrageous ones – are often bought with the heart instead of head, electric vehicles are unique in that an outsized emphasis is often placed on total driving range with OEMs going through great lengths to eke even a partial mile out of the electrons onboard.
The Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar is obviously based on a Q8 55 e-tron quattro in Advanced trim, complete with a net battery size of 106 kWh (gross: 114 kWh) and two electric motors good for a total of 402 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque. Part of the off-road cosplay are a set of General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires, a set of rubber which allegedly blunts acceleration by just 0.1 second when compared to the 5.8-second run from 0 – 62 mph on standard street tires. And, yes – the Dakar does indeed come with two sets of tires as standard gear.
As for range, Audi says the AT3s will shave about 30 miles off total driving distance thanks to their knobby tread design and extra rolling resistance. Range with street tires in place is a claimed 280 miles. A height-adjustable suspension can also help this metric (or hinder it, depending on if the driver chooses to jack the thing skyward and bro-doze their way around town – or through 12 inches of water, according to Audi. If you’re wondering, the Dakar rides 2.5 inches higher than a stock Q8 e-tron, with total ground clearance sitting at 8.1 inches.
Price? Look for a sticker of around 120,000 Euros ($131,000 USD) in Germany when Audi opens the order books in the first quarter of 2024.
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