Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Audi Q8 hybrid review

The most expensive Audi plug-in hybrid SUV you can buy, the Q8 TFSI e promises to be a sportier equivalent to its boxier Q7 counterpart

Audi Q8 TFSI e
Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • High-quality interior
  • Sleek and sporty looks
  • Both powerful and efficient

Cons

  • Not very involving to drive
  • Practicality reduced further by battery
  • BMW X5 is cheaper and more efficient
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid28 miles97mpg66g/km

A large coupe-SUV like the Audi Q8 can seem a bit counter-intuitive. If one of the main reasons for buying a vehicle of this size is to maximise interior space, why would you go lopping half the boot off with a rakish rear hatch? The car-buying public doesn't agree, however: coupe versions of popular SUVs – both electric and combustion-engined – have sprung up like mushrooms in recent years, in response to big demand.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Q8 is the coupe equivalent of the more familiar Q7, and evidently Audi thought it special enough to give its own nameplate, instead of just calling it the 'Q7 Sportback'. You can still buy one with a '50 TDI' diesel or '55 TFSI' petrol engine, but, this being DrivingElectric, we're concentrating on the '55 TFSI e' plug-in hybrid.

As the number suggests, it's slightly more powerful than the '50 TFSI e' setup used in the A6 saloon, A7 hatchback, Q5 SUV and even the closely related Q7. Total power output is 375bhp, with a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine working in tandem with a single electric motor, drawing power from a 17.9kWh battery. (An even more powerful '60 TFSI e' option was previously offered in the Q8, but that's now confined to the A8 luxury limousine.)

Working on its own, the 134bhp electric motor also generates 400Nm of torque. That means it's more than sufficient to haul this big car around at lower speeds without the engine getting involved. Some plug-in hybrids struggle to offer enough power or range in electric mode to make truly fuel-free commuting possible, but it's definitely an option in the Q8. Bring the engine into play and an impressive 5.8-second 0-62mph time, along with truly unruffled motorway cruising, are possible.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Throttle response is sharper than in the purely petrol Q8, if not quite as instantaneous as in one of Audi's pure-electric e-tron models. In common with most big and beefy SUVs, it struggles to offer any sense of agility or involvement from behind the wheel. There's no disguising its almost-2,500kg weight when you're trying to attack a series of bends, although it does at least remain stable and grippy in such situations, with precise if numb steering that makes it easy to place on the road.

Back on the daily commute, there's no doubt the Q8 will prove significantly cheaper to run than its purely diesel or petrol-fuelled brethren. The official economy number is not far off 100mpg, and we even managed to exceed that on a 30-mile run that began with a fully charged battery and took in a fair amount of steady motorway cruising. Travel for a significant distance with no charge in the battery and that number will fall, of course, but when you match this capability to a very low company-car tax band, the savings quickly add up.

That is, of course, in the context of some pretty high list prices. The range starts at just under £76,000 for the S line, sporting 21-inch alloys, matrix LED headlights, air suspension, leather upholstery and a three-screen infotainment and driver display setup. Next up is the Black Edition, coming in a shade under £80,000. This gets you larger 22-inch wheels, a black styling pack (seen in our pictures) and polished wood inlays inside. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

The range-topping Vorsprung gets perilously close to six figures, but does add heaps more equipment, such as a 360-degree parking camera, a head-up display, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, ventilated and massaging front sports seats, plus a comprehensive driver-assistance package.

In isolation, then, the Q8 hybrid is a pretty appealing package, offering head-turning sports SUV looks combined with sumptuous interior luxury and impressively low running costs. It falls down slightly in comparison with rivals, though: the BMW X5 xDrive45e is pretty much as powerful, but has a larger battery for a significantly longer electric range of over 50 miles, so it'll be even cheaper to run as a company car.

And the Q8 takes a double hit when it comes to practicality. The model's boot is already smaller than that of the Q7 on which it's based, but adding the hybrid's batteries robs you of another 100 litres' luggage capacity, taking the total down to 505 litres. Whether the tradeoff is worth it for those svelte looks is up to you.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Alfa Romeo Junior review
Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica 280 Veloce - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Junior review

The first fully-electric Alfa is a special yet useable small SUV
10 Jul 2024
New Ford Capri: Ford’s icon revived as an electric coupe-SUV
New Ford Capri - front tracking
News

New Ford Capri: Ford’s icon revived as an electric coupe-SUV

Ford has finally unveiled the the new Capri, but forget the low-slung coupe of old, the iconic nameplate returns as an electric SUV
10 Jul 2024
Where are electric cars most popular? The top UK EV locations revealed
Electric Vauxhall Astra being charged via on-street charging
News

Where are electric cars most popular? The top UK EV locations revealed

Over one million vehicles have been registered since the start of the year, but which areas are leading the EV charge and what are the most popular mo…
8 Jul 2024

More on Q8

Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron review: a solid and ever-so-slightly sportier premium SUV
Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron review: a solid and ever-so-slightly sportier premium SUV

Having had the automotive equivalent of a fresh haircut, the Sportback is simply an Audi Q8 e-tron with ‘just a bit off the top’
2 Feb 2024
Top 10 best electric family cars 2024
Top 10 best electric family cars
Best cars

Top 10 best electric family cars 2024

From hatchbacks to SUVs, here are our top picks for the best family EVs on the market right now
2 Jan 2024
Audi Q8 e-tron review
Audi Q8 e-tron
In-depth reviews

Audi Q8 e-tron review

Audi's flagship electric SUV has been updated with bigger batteries and more range, but it still puts comfort first
16 May 2023
New Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron: prices, specs and range revealed
Audi Q8 e-tron
News

New Audi Q8 e-tron and Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron: prices, specs and range revealed

Audi’s facelifted flagship electric SUV now offers up to 372 miles of range thanks to bigger batteries, plus a tri-motor performance model
4 Dec 2022
Audi e-tron Sportback: Facelifted coupe-SUV readied for late 2022 launch
Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback
News

Audi e-tron Sportback: Facelifted coupe-SUV readied for late 2022 launch

Audi's e-tron Sportback electric coupe-SUV is set for an update in parallel with the standard e-tron SUV model later in 2022
5 Jul 2022
Twin test: BMW iX vs Audi e-tron Sportback
BMW iX vs Audi e-tron
Reviews

Twin test: BMW iX vs Audi e-tron Sportback

The striking-looking BMW iX takes on Audi’s sleek e-tron Sportback in a premium electric SUV showdown
25 Feb 2022
New Audi Q8 TFSI e plug-in hybrid joins the range
Dynamic photoColor: Glacier white
News

New Audi Q8 TFSI e plug-in hybrid joins the range

Audi Q8 TFSI e gets plug-in hybrid power and a 28-mile electric range; prices start at £73,860
13 Oct 2020
Audi e-tron 2020: prices and specs revealed for 50, 55 and S models
Audi e-tron Sportback S
News

Audi e-tron 2020: prices and specs revealed for 50, 55 and S models

High-performance 'S' version tops extended Audi e-tron range; Sportback bodystyle offered alongside standard model
13 Jul 2020
Audi e-tron long-range run: 10 countries in 24 hours
Audi e-tron
News

Audi e-tron long-range run: 10 countries in 24 hours

Think electric cars can’t manage long distances? Think again, as we drive an Audi e-tron 1,000 miles across Europe in a day
1 Nov 2019
Addison Lee adds Audi e-tron SUVs to London fleet
Audi e-tron Addison Lee
News

Addison Lee adds Audi e-tron SUVs to London fleet

Five examples of electric Audi e-tron to be evaluated for pilot Addison Lee project
21 May 2019