Audi Q8 e-tron review - Interior, design and technology
Technology in the Q8 e-tron is first rate, and the cabin is beautifully finished
Audi played it safe with the Q8 e-tron’s styling. It’s instantly recognisable as one of the firm’s family SUVs – slotting in somewhere between the Q5 and Q7 in terms of size. It uses a similarly sculpted front grille, revised when the model gained the Q8 tag with a wider grille surround and a light-up element behind the four rings, as well as an LED rear light bar lifted from the current A7. Its dimensions aren’t too vast, either, so despite weighing around 2.5 tonnes, it doesn’t look like a huge car on the road.
Inside, the Q8 e-tron feels as beautifully built as any modern Audi, with quality materials covering every surface. There are swathes of leather, polished plastic and high-grade metal trim; the fully digital cockpit gives it a high-tech edge in the SUV class, too.
On Vorsprung cars, that fully digital dashboard is flanked on either side by a pair of swish virtual door mirrors. The tech replaces the conventional mirrors with two hi-resolution cameras, which feed images to a set of small screens in the doors. It’s also available as a cost option (£1,750) on standard models, but in our experience the tech just isn't quite there yet. The main issue is with the placing of the displays, which are much lower than you’d normally look into conventional mirrors, while the displays are quite small too – though you can touch the screen to adjust them, which is a neat feature. The aerodynamic benefit they bring, however, is said to eke out a little extra range.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Following the transformation of the e-tron into the Q8 e-tron, there was no significant update for the infotainment tech. However, there was no real need to change much anyway; despite its age, the MMI Navigation Plus set-up remains slick, looks good and is easy to use.
The 10.1-inch central touchscreen seems fairly modest in size compared with that of its rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Genesis, but a second display just below is used for controlling the climate and other secondary features. It’s a neat system, because unlike some other touchscreen-based systems, the on-screen keys are large and a permanent fixture. Haptic features give the feel of pressing a real key, but thanks to that lack of genuine feedback, weoften find ourselves prodding the screen harder than necessary.
Every Q8 e-tron also comes with Audi's familiar Virtual Cockpit digital dials that are large, clear and easy to read, plus you can make the more traditional dials smaller to prioritise mapping if you prefer.
A three-year subscription to Audi Connect online infotainment services, DAB radio, Bluetooth and wireless mobile phone charging is standard too, along with Audi Smartphone Interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The mapping software comes installed with available charging points, so it’s possible to plan journeys around necessary stops.
The top-of-the-range Vorsprung trim is loaded with even more kit, including a head-up display, Audi's Virtual Cockpit Plus system and a Bang & Olufsen audio system, which are all available as part of the optional Technology pack on the rest of the Q8 e-tron line-up.
In this review
- 1Audi Q8 e-tron reviewAs 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 costsAudi’s flagship electric SUV gets big range boost and faster charging speeds thanks to facelift
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingTechnology 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 SafetyAudi usually fares pretty well for reliability and safety, and given the Q8 e-tron is fully electric we expect this trend to continue
- 7Long-term testFinal report: petrol or electric? It doesn’t matter, as the Audi e-tron is a great car