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New Audi Q8 plug-in hybrid gets a bigger battery and more power

The 55 TFSI e plug-in powertrain has returned to the range-topping Q8’s line up

Audi Q8 55 TFSI e plug-in

The updated plug-in hybrid version of the Audi Q8 has arrived, six months after Audi's premier coupe-SUV received its mid-life facelift. The Audi Q8 TFSI e gets the same plug-in hybrid system as one in the Q7, with additional tweaks to the chassis and an improved range of equipment. 

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The Audi Q8 55 TFSI e quattro, to give it its full name, was previously available in ‘60’ guise in the pre-facelift model, although this was axed from the range during supply chain issues in the wake of the COVID pandemic. There’s no mention of a higher-spec plug-in hybrid arriving, so the Q8 will solely be offered in ‘55’ form. 

Utilising a 3.0-litre, V6 petrol engine with 334bhp, the plug-in hybrid adds a new electric system which includes an electric motor with 174bhp and 460Nm of torque for a total output of 388bhp and 600Nm (13bhp more than before). The 0-62mph sprint is the same as the Q7 PHEV at 5.7 seconds - reaching a top speed of 149mph. 

Placed under the boot floor is a 25.9kWh battery (an upgrade on the old PHEV’s 17.3kWh unit), but crucially Audi says it’s more energy-dense and eliminates the need for additional space so we shouldn’t see any encroachment on the old car’s 505-litre boot capacity. With this new battery, the Q8 PHEV can cover 51 miles on electric-only power - up from 28 miles in the previous car. It can also run on electric power at speeds up to 84mph. The maximum charge rate for the battery stands at 7.4kW with a 0-100 per cent recharge taking three hours and 45 minutes. 

Audi has added a new feature to the plug-in hybrid Q7 and Q8 with the possibility of recharging the battery on the move. This is done via the braking system, recovering energy through the brakes at speeds over 40mph and only with the driving mode set to ‘charge’. In order to maintain battery health, this function isn’t available when the battery is at 75 per cent charge or above. 

Rear-wheel steering and electromechanical active roll stabilisation are two more new features for the Audi Q8 PHEV. The rear wheels can turn up to five degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels - helping to reduce the turning radius by one metre. They can also angle the same direction during fast corners to aid stability. As for the electromechanical active roll stabilisation, that uses electric motors on both axles to help reduce body roll and movement on rough roads. 

Audi hasn’t announced pricing for the Q7 or the Q8 plug-in hybrids just yet although we expect them to start from around £75,000 with the top-spec Vorsprung versions possibly going above £100,000. 

Can't wait for the new Q8? These are the best large SUVs to buy right now...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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