Audi Q8 e-tron review: highly refined, but hardly efficient EV
As Audi’s flagship electric SUV, the Q8 e-tron offers superb performance, comfort and refinement
In the name switch from Audi e-tron to Audi Q8 e-tron the car also gained a substantial range boost thanks to larger batteries and more power. However, the new Q8 e-tron moniker doesn’t change the car’s core characteristics; it’s still quiet, comfortable and beautifully built, plus it comes laden with all the latest tech.
The Q8 e-tron is practical, too, with loads of space for the family and all their luggage, albeit without a seven-seat option and oddly less boot space than the pre-facelift model. But despite the on-paper improvements, Audi’s luxury electric SUV can’t match the range of key rivals like the BMW iX, nor is it particularly efficient in the real world.
About the Audi Q8 e-tron
The e-tron was Audi’s very first all-electric production car and one of the first electric SUVs on the market, albeit trailing the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace into UK showrooms. But things have come a long way since 2019, with the flagship electric SUV renamed as the Q8 e-tron, which is now just one of a rapidly growing range of electric Audis that includes the impressive e-tron GT saloon, and the Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback family SUVs. A larger Q6 e-tron SUV, A6 e-tron saloon and A6 Avant e-tron estate are also coming soon.
The choice of luxurious electric SUVs has also grown in recent years, with the Q8 e-tron’s closest rivals being the aforementioned Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X, the BMW iX, Mercedes EQC and newer EQE SUV. There are plenty more on the horizon though, namely the Lotus Eletre, Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3.
Car group tests
- Audi Q8 e-tron vs Genesis Electrified GV70: 2023 twin test review
- BMW iX vs Audi e-tron Sportback: 2022 group test review
The Q8 e-tron slots in between the Q5 and Q7 in terms of size and interior space, and while its styling is fairly conservative, it’s instantly recognisable as a member of the Audi SUV family. Of course, if you don’t mind losing a bit of boot space, then the Q8 e-tron Sportback (formerly the e-tron Sportback) is offered with the same trim levels and powertrains as the regular SUV, but gets a slightly higher range thanks to its trendy coupe-esque sloping roofline being slightly more aerodynamic.
Speaking of the big electric Audi’s running gear, as well as its new name, the Q8 e-tron got more power and a larger capacity battery pack as part of its facelift. There are three powertrains to choose from, starting with the entry-level Q8 e-tron 50, which gets a pair of electric motors for quattro all-wheel drive and a 95kWh (89kWh usable) battery.
The mid-range Q8 e-tron 55 gets a power boost and an even larger 114kWh battery (106kWh of which is usable). The maximum charging speed for this version also jumps from 150kW to 170kW, so despite the bigger battery, a 10 to 80 per cent top-up still takes about half an hour.
Finally, serving as the replacement for the e-tron S is the SQ8 e-tron, available in both SUV and Sportback forms. This uses three electric motors (just like a Tesla Model X Plaid) to produce 496bhp and 973Nm of torque, and is powered by the same battery as the Q8 e-tron 55. Being the high-performance version with the emphasis on power rather than efficiency, the electric range is unsurprisingly reduced.
Five trim levels are available for the Q8 e-tron – Sport, S line, Black Edition, Vorsprung, and SQ8 e-tron – with prices starting from around £67,000 for the regular SUV, while the equivalent Sportback coupe-SUV will cost about £2,500 more. Every model comes with 20-inch (or larger) alloy wheels, Matrix LED lights, a power-operated tailgate and adaptive air suspension, plus dual-zone climate control, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display and the firm’s MMI infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
For an alternative guide to the Audi Q8 e-tron, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingAs Audi’s flagship electric SUV, the Q8 e-tron offers superb performance, comfort and refinement
- 2Electric motor, drive and performanceWhile not as rapid as a Tesla Model X, the Q8 e-tron offers more than enough power and performance for most buyers
- 3Range, charging and running costsThe Audi Q8 e-tron gets more range and faster charging speeds than its predecessor, but its efficiency lags behind rivals
- 4Interior, design and technologyTechnology in the Q8 e-tron is first rate, and the cabin is beautifully finished
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Audi Q8 e-tron is a spacious and comfortable electric SUV, but rivals offer more boot space
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Audi Q8 e-tron (formally e-tron) should be a very safe car; the brand’s Driver Power score has fallen
- 7Long-term testFinal report: petrol or electric? It doesn’t matter, as the Audi e-tron is a great car