Looks like the Volkswagen Group is revealing or announcing a new electric vehicle every week. Take for example Audi, which introduced the Q5 E-Tron last Friday, and now it’s unveiling plans for a new flagship electric vehicle. In an interview with RTL Info, the big boss of the Four Rings has shared his intention to launch the Q8 E-Tron in 2026.
The 52-year-old executive added that the zero-emission SUV will replace the E-Tron, Audi’s largest electric model on sale today. Its successor will be an entirely different vehicle as it will run on a dedicated EV platform while the E-Tron uses an adaptation of the MLB architecture, which has underpinned everything from the VW Touareg to the Bentley Bentayga.
Like the E-Tron, the Q8 E-Tron will be assembled in Belgium, more precisely at the factory in Forest, a town located in Brussels. At the same factory, Audi builds the Swoopy E-Tron Sportback, with both body styles giving rise to a high-performance S version with a three-engine setup. Before being replaced in about four years, the E-Tron will be finalized in 2022, as evidenced by our new spy photos.
Despite the camouflage, it’s easy to see that the prototype has slimmer headlights and a redesigned grille with hexagonal elements replacing the horizontal and vertical lines of the current E-Tron. The side profile shows that the vehicle was fitted with cameras instead of traditional mirrors, while the rear reveals slightly updated LED graphics for the taillights.
The changes will go beyond the typical pinch, as reports say Audi engineers will install a new battery pack while making electric motors more efficient to achieve more range. The E-Tron Sportback is going to receive the same updates and both are expected to be revealed next year before being retired in 2026 to make way for the Q8 E-Tron. It’s too early to say if the latter will also benefit from the Sportback treatment, but knowing the Ingolstadt modus operandi, a coupe-style derivative seems like a safe bet to make.
Next year, the Q6 E-Tron, Audi’s first model to run on the EPI platform co-developed with Porsche, which will launch the next-gen Macan exclusively as an electric vehicle and likely with a different moniker. .