Audi rolls out a rugged Q8 electric SUV and Skoda provides a first look at the updated Octavia.

This is AM Drive, Motor1's daily look at the news you need before you get in your car.

Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar

Audi blended electrification with off-road chops with the RS Q E-Tron, a purpose-built Dakar racer. It scored four stage wins during its inaugural Dakar Rally outing in 2022. The German luxury brand is now piggybacking on what it calls the already "legendary" RS Q E-Tron with a special edition of the Q8 E-Tron.

While Mercedes is months away from introducing an electric G-Class, Audi is giving the Q8 E-Tron a minor off-road treatment with a factory lift kit. Riding on General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tires, the Q8 E-Tron has an extra 1.2 inches of ground clearance than the standard model. It offers a maximum ground clearance of 8.1 in before gradually decreasing depending on speed. The rugged Q8 automatically lowers itself by 0.59 in (15 mm) at 53 mph, by 0.66 in (17 mm) at 62 mph, and by 0.51 in (13 mm) at 75 mph.

Audi's engineers have modified the air suspension for off-road driving and a maximum wading depth of 11.8 in. The Four Rings claim the 20-degree approach and 26-degree departure angles are enough to "tackle light off-road terrain." The ramp angle - the maximum angle at which the vehicle can travel over a ramp without the underbody touching the edge of the ramp – is 19 degrees.

Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar

Beyond the hardware changes, the Audi Q8 E-Tron edition Dakar also gets an optional decal package to echo the RS Q E-Tron. Only 99 units are planned with this look, all of which come painted in Mythos Black combined with a partially transparent wrap on some body surfaces. Alternatively, customers can order the electric SUV in Magnetic Gray, Siam Beige, or Mythos Black. There's also the possibility to add a light bar in the grille while the roof rack comes as standard and supports up 88 pounds.

Audi is charging €120,000 (about $131,000 USD) in Germany where it will begin to accept orders during the first quarter of the year. For your money's worth, a complete set of summer tires comes bundled with the vehicle.

2024 Skoda Octavia Facelift Teased For The First Time

We're only a few days into 2024 and Skoda is already teasing its first major debut of the year. Come February, the mid-cycle facelift for the Octavia will break cover. For now, the teaser shows redesigned headlights with the daytime running lights extending lower on the bumper.

Skoda's best-selling car is expected to premiere shortly after the mechanically related Golf Mk 8.5. VW has already teased its compact car ahead of a potential release later this month. Both are likely to receive cleaner and more efficient combustion engines updated to meet incoming Euro 7 regulations. Spy shots have already revealed the cars will get bigger touchscreens. In the case of the Golf, VW has promised next-gen infotainment and software, along with new driver assist systems. These goodies are likely to be shared with the bigger and more practical Octavia.

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