Skip to main content

New Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar is a stylish, off-road-ready luxury EV SUV

Audi has a desert-racing-inspired EV SUV that won't scare your neighbor's dog

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar driving on a desert road directly toward the viewer.

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.

Non-production Audi RS Q e-tron racing across desert dunes.

Why the Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar matters

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.

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar climbing a rough off-road rise

What gives the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar its off-road chops?

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.

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar driving on a desert road

If you want an Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar

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).

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
Mitsubishi DX concept previews future for outdoor enthusiasts: A compact EV as comfortable in the city as off the beaten path
Large RVs will still exist of course, but we're all for more flexible options as well
Mitsubishi DX Concept lifestyle van right rear three-quarter view with a clear image of a rooftop luggage carrier.

We expect electric vehicle campers and vans will spark new interest in off-grid lifestyles. The recently revealed Mitsubishi DX Concept hybrid adventure van is different enough from current models to prompt consideration of minivans as more than kid haulers. Releasing graphics of the Mitsubishi DX Concept doesn't commit the manufacturer to anything. Still, even suggesting that such a vehicle could prowl the land in the not-too-distant future is inspirational.

The most impressive camper vans available today are based on Mercedes Sprinter vans. Mitsubishi took a different approach for the DX Concept than the typical Sprinter large-box-tricked-out-nicely design style guide. Mitsubishi doesn't reveal the DX Concepts dimensions -- or any other specifics -- but it's obvious the DX sticks to a more-from-less scheme.

Read more
Ford recalls 35,000 Mach-E Mustangs due to major issue with EV battery system
If you have a Mach-E, you'll want to read this
Ford Mustang Mach-E

Mustang Mach-E Ford / Ford

Well, it was bound to happen. While the last couple of years have seen the electric revolution sweep over the country faster than the phrase, "Check out my podcast," it was bound to have a setback or two along the way. One of the more recent setbacks comes by way of a recall issued from Ford regarding its Mustang Mach-E.
More than half of all 2021-2022 Mustang Mach-Es are being recalled
The recall pertains to 2021-2022 Mach-E models, which could potentially affect 34,762 units in total.  The issue stems from a concern that vehicles equipped with an extended-range battery, through the combination of direct current fast charging and repeated wide-open throttle incidents, could see their high voltage main connectors overheat. As per the Ford recall, "An overheated contactor that is prevented from properly closing while driving can result in a loss of motive power, which can increase the risk of a crash."

Read more
Lexus debuts 6 new off-road models with some impressive features outdoor enthusiasts will love
Get off the grid with one of these new vehicles
GX 550 Overtrail from Lexus

Lexus is paying tribute to its offroading community with six new GX builds. The modified SUVs include a version for each generation of GX so far, with a new 2024 GX 550 Overtrail+ AAP Build leading the way.
What's new with the 2024 GX 550
Lexus’ third-gen GX packs a 3.4L V6 engine capable of cranking out 349 horsepower and an impressive 479 lb.-ft of torque. Those buying the new GX 550 will get a number of features as standard, including a tough aluminum skid plate, 10-inch rims, 33-inch all-terrain tires, and black accents on the overdefenders.

When it comes to upgrades, storage space seems to lead the way. Customers can add A Prinsu Roof Rack, Pelican, BX90R Cargo Case, BX55S Cargo Case, and Prinsu Rear Window Accessory Panels to really max out the vehicle’s carrying capacity. You also get the equipment you’ll need to save yourself when your vehicle gets stuck -- like a pair of rotoPax two-gallon containers, a DMOS Delta Shovel, and ARB TRED Pro recovery boards. All in all, Lexus is putting together an expedition-worthy Gen 3 GX.
The GX 460 is also getting an update
The new GX 550 isn’t the only option Lexus is presenting. The GX 460, its older sibling, has also had a bit of a makeover. The treatment is similar to that other all-terrain Lexus vehicles have received but with a distinctive and eye-catching saffron yellow body wrap. The accessories do differ slightly, and a hammock stand comes attached to the GX 460. It’s also packing a 63-quart fridge in the back, which should keep your snacks nice and cool. Underneath it all, a 301-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine brings a respectable 329 lb.-ft. of torque to the table. A full skid plate is also fitted, so that the engine should be protected from even the harshest terrain.

Read more