Inspired by Dakar

Additional equipment, capabilities and its own unique look mark the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar as a special, limited edition model.

The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar draws inspiration from the brand’s RS Q e-tron machines which are once again preparing to do battle in the Saudi Arabian desert in the world’s toughest off-road rally.

4 January, 2024

With this year's Dakar Rally just around the corner (January 5th-19th), the announcement of a limited edition Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar is particularly timely. This special ‘Dakar Q8’ is based on the Audi Q8 55 e-tron which launched in Australia last October, but adds significant additional equipment and capability as well as unique visual changes not only to differentiate the model, but to appeal to those looking for greater versatility from the luxurious all-electric SUV.

The powertrain utilised in the Q8 55 e-tron remains the same with its dual electric motors (one each on the front and rear axle) producing 300kW of power on boost and 664Nm of torque. This is powered by a net 106kWh battery (114kWh gross) with power to all four wheels through the electric quattro system. The sprint from 0 to 100km/h takes just 5.9 seconds and the Dakar Q8 e-tron has a governed top speed of 200km/h.

Where it begins to differ from the ‘standard’ Q8 55 e-tron is in the addition of General Grabber AT3 all-terrain rubber which offers superior grip in a wide variety of terrain and gives the vehicle greater versatility in off-road applications. 

The special Dakar model utilises the same dual-motor drivetrain of the Q8 55 e-tron with its 300kW on boost and 664Nm of torque

Visually the Dakar Q8 e-tron stands apart from other Q8 e-tron models with its optional graphics package inspired by the RS Q e-tron’s race livery

The Grabber AT3 rubber is rated for all-year use but the Dakar Q8 e-tron also comes with a set of ‘summer tyres’ to go on the 20-inch rims with 5-V spoke S design.

The Dakar Q8 e-tron is aimed squarely at those with a taste for adventure so in addition to its approach angle of 20 degrees and departure angle of 26 degrees, it also features 31mm higher ground clearance, as well as a ramp angle of 19 degrees and a wading depth of 300mm. The control strategy for the air suspension was also revised for improved handling on loose surfaces, with the base setting of 206mm up or down depending on speed and driving dynamics. At 85km/h for example, the vehicle drops by 15mm, then 17mm at 100km/h for greater stability and improved aerodynamics. Slowed right down for negotiating tricky terrain and the Q8 e-tron Dakar ‘steps up’ to provide greater ground clearance.

Visually the Dakar Q8 e-tron stands apart from other Q8 e-tron models with its optional graphics package inspired by the RS Q e-tron’s race livery, though in a much more subtle design for everyday use. It will be available in Siam Beige metallic, Mythos Black metallic and Magnetic Grey, with the Singleframe grille always finished in the body colour. 

As an option, the projection light usually only available on the SQ8 e-tron models can be incorporated to link the standard Matrix LED headlights and give the vehicle a distinctive light signature. The visual package includes widened and continuous wheel arch trims at the front and rear, while a unique decal package can be fitted. The wrapped models are limited to just 99 units and see the vehicle receive what’s called 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. 

Then there is the storage and luggage compartment package which is also a standard feature. The durable luggage compartment liner and robust floor mats feature edition lettering and the special edition also comes standard with a roof rack with a load capacity of 40 kilograms, complete with roof rack bag and straps for attaching accessories. 

Other little touches include the LED light projection from the driver’s door which shines the words ‘edition Dakar’ onto the ground on entry or exit, while even the vehicle’s key cover features a special Dakar finish.

Other little touches include the LED light projection from the driver’s door which shines the words ‘edition Dakar’ onto the ground on entry or exit

Instrumentation inside includes the addition of a tilt angle display and images on the MMI display created especially for the edition Dakar

Inside the vehicle too the changes continue with a standard S line interior including sports seats upholstered in Dinamica microfibre and artificial leather. Pedals are stainless steel while the decorative inlays and door sills are all finished in brushed matte aluminium. Technology such as the heads-up display, Audi phone box with inductive charging is standard, while MMI background images on the MMI display have been created especially for the edition Dakar and include new features in the MMI operating system like displaying the vehicle’s tilt angle.

Indeed in the MMI display, Audi offers theme worlds generated especially for the Edition with MMI background images and coordinated ambient lighting. The inspiration behind the vehicle is represented here in three scenes – from desert thunderstorms and tyre tracks to a dune landscape.

In additional to the considerable standard equipment, a list of options also exists to allow customers to further tailor their Dakar Q8 e-tron to suit their needs and lifestyles. These include everything from virtual wing mirrors to four-zone automatic air conditioning and a 705 watt Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system. 

At time of writing, the Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar is still being evaluated for potential Australian release.