Q8 E-Tron Confirmed as Facelifted E-Tron Prototype Reveals Minor Changes

The E-Tron EV will be revised for 2022, but will be replaced in 2026 by the new Q8 E-Tron

Audi is not backing down from electrification. Just recently we learned that the RS6 Avant E-Tron should launch in 2023 and not even a week after that, the company launched the China-only Q5 E-Tron, basically a rebadged Volkswagen ID.6X. And, while all these new models are cool, we can’t forget about existing models, like the original E-Tron – Audi’s largest electric SUV to date. That’s why the company is hard at work to refresh it for 2022 – a move that will keep it fresh until its successor arrives. That successor, we just learned will be coming in 2026.

Q8 E-Tron Confirmed as Facelifted E-Tron Prototype Reveals Minor Changes Exterior Spyshots
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Before I dive too deep into news about the E-Tron’s successor, let’s take a better look at what we can expect from the E-Tron’s facelift. As expected, the spy shots reveal that only a mild nip and tuck is coming, with the most prominent update being the new, slimmer headlights along with the redesigned grille with hexagonal elements. There are also side view cameras instead of traditional mirrors, something that probably won’t survive the transition to the United States, while the rear features updated taillights with a new LED matrix. But the facelift could bring more than aesthetic updates.

According to reports, Audi engineers have managed to cram a revised battery pack into the E-Tron’s existing structure. This will, reportedly, make the E-Tron more efficient and increase range a bit. The E-Tron Sportback should receive the same updates when it’s updated in 2022 for the 2023 model year. It, however, will also be retired in 2026. As you might expect, the E-Tron’s update is just the tip of the iceberg as the new Q6 E-Tron will be arriving in 2022, riding on the PPE platform that’s shared with the next-generation Porsche Macan. What’s happening in 2026, though, changes everything.

Q8 E-Tron Confirmed as Facelifted E-Tron Prototype Reveals Minor Changes Exterior Spyshots
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We now have confirmation that the Audi E-Tron SUV will be retired and replaced in 2026. The new model will go by the Q8 E-Tron moniker and will be considered a direct successor. We don’t have a lot of details on the Q8 E-Tron, Audi Boss – Markus Duesmann – explained the plan to RTL Info.

“The future will be electric. Our factory in Forest is carbon neutral. And when we deliver a new vehicle, it is with a 'zero emissions' perspective. Based on this experience, the next car produced here will be the Audi Q8 E-Tron, the electric successor to the current E-Tron. This choice is explained by the current success.”
Q8 E-Tron Confirmed as Facelifted E-Tron Prototype Reveals Minor Changes Exterior Spyshots
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So, the new Q8 E-Tron will ride on a dedicated EV platform – likely the aforementioned PPE platform – and will be an entirely different vehicle. For the sake of comparison, the current E-Tron SUV rides on a modified version of the same MLB architecture that underpins models like the Volkswagen Touareg and the Bentley Bentayga. To put it simply, the current E-Tron is at a disadvantage because its bones weren’t designed for full electrification. So, the Q8 E-Tron, riding on a dedicated electric platform should be a big improvement to not only performance and handling but also interior space and range.

Source: Picture credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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