Every year, brave competitors take on the challenge of conquering Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter in the Dakar Rally, one of the most demanding events in motorsport. Audi, who entered the race in 2022 and 2023 with the RS Q e-tron hybrid, is now celebrating the rally’s spirit with the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar, an enhanced version of their largest electric SUV.
Based on the Q8 55 e-tron, the standard model available in the US with up to 402 horsepower in Sport mode, the Dakar-inspired model features a 106.0-kWh battery to power its dual-motor powertrain. While the motors remain the same, Audi has equipped the special Q8 e-tron with General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires, increasing its ground clearance by 1.2 inches. Audi claims the SUV has a 20-degree approach angle and a 26-degree departure angle.
Audi has also reprogrammed the air suspension for improved off-road performance and boasts an impressive 11.8-inch wading depth for the electric crossover. The use of sturdier tires adds one-tenth of a second to the Q8 e-tron’s 0-to-62-mph time, bringing it to 5.8 seconds. However, the range is reduced from 362 miles to 303 miles on Europe’s WLTP test cycle, while in the US, the Q8 e-tron has a range of 285 miles on a single charge.
The edition Dakar comes in a desert-appropriate Siam Beige metallic paint option, as well as black and gray alternatives. The grille trim matches the body color, while the wheel arches and lower body trim are black. The “edition Dakar” label is projected on the road when the driver’s door is opened, and the model offers a decal package inspired by the RS Q e-tron’s livery. However, this wrap is only available on vehicles painted Mythos Black metallic, and the decal package is limited to 99 units.
Additional features of the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar include tinted sun visors and a standard roof rack that can carry up to 88 pounds, complete with a bag and straps. The cabin is equipped with the S line interior package, which includes sports seats, stainless steel pedals, and a leather steering wheel. There is also the option to add red stitching and seatbelts. The digital gauge cluster displays three special ”scenes” for Dakar, showcasing a desert thunderstorm, tire tracks, or dunes.
Unfortunately, the Q8 e-tron edition Dakar will not be available in the US. In Europe, orders will open in the first quarter of this year, with prices starting at approximately $131,000 in Germany.