Few racing fans will drive a million-dollar-plus trophy truck in the Dakar Rally desert race in Saudi Arabia. However, for drivers who aspire to take their daily driver on more moderate off-road adventures, the new Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar will let you scratch the desert-racing itch.
The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar was inspired by Audi’s non-production RS Q e-tron in the image below and developed specifically to run in the Dakar Rally.
No one expects Q8 e-tron edition Dakar buyers to compete in the grueling Dakar Rally, the Las Vegas Mint 400, or other hard-core desert racing competitions. If you want to start running with the big dogs of desert racing, you’d be better off with a Ford F-150 Raptor R purposely designed to withstand high-speed beatings from jumps and landings.
At heart, the Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar is still a family SUV, albeit one powered by dual electric motors that combine for a maximum of 402 horsepower and 448 pound-feet of torque. With higher ground clearance than the base Q8 e-tron, improved loose surface handling, and all-terrain tires, the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar will make the most of the EV’s quattro drivetrain and net 106 kWh battery.
The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar’s ground clearance is 8.1 inches, about 1.2 inches higher than the standard model. The SUV’s air suspension adjusts automatically based on vehicle speed for less drag and more excellent power economy. The edition Dakar can continue to travel in water 11.8 inches deep.
Audi delivers it with eight wheels and tires to emphasize the edition Dakar’s dual on-road/off-road capabilities. The primary Grabber AT3 mud and snow tires have a unique tread pattern designed to self-clean accumulated mud and other debris while optimizing acceleration, braking, and handling. Audi says the Grabbers are also effective at driving on quiet. For periods when owners spend most of their time on pavement, the included second set, four summer tires on 20-inch wheels, will be more appropriate.
The Q8 e-tron edition Dakar includes supportive contoured sports seats and offers a range of upgrades. Upgraded matrix LED headlamps and taillights add extra illumination, and a standard roof rack with straps and a rack storage bag enable drivers to carry extra gear on the SUV’s exterior.
Owners who want to celebrate the looks of the RSQ e-tron can also order accessory packs of decals and other styling options.
Audi expects to take orders for the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar in Germany in early 2024, with prices starting at about 120,000 euros ($131,279).
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