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

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Very refined on the move
  • Big battery for long range
  • Impressively high-tech interior

Cons

  • Handling is a bit dull
  • Expensive range-toppers
  • Not very efficient
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
50 e-tron261-281 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 11kW)28mins (10-80%, 150kW)
55 e-tron306-330 miles11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 11kW)31mins (10-80%, 170kW)
SQ8279-284 miles11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 11kW)31mins (10-80%, 170kW)

The Audi Q8 e-tron (previously badged Audi e-tron) is an electric SUV designed to major in comfort and refinement. It’s the brand’s technological flagship, and while there’s no seven-seat option, it rolls the latest battery and charging kit into a typically premium-feeling Audi-like driving experience.

Being the maker’s range-topper, the Q8 sits above the Q4 e-tron and forthcoming Q6 e-tron SUVs. Its rivals span far and wide, and now include everything from the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC, to the Tesla Model X and BMW iX – as well as the new Volvo EX90 arriving in 2023.

Big changes have been made under the metal for this latest Q8. Developments in battery technology mean Audi can now cram much denser cells into the same basic space; the basic 50 e-tron now features an 89kWh battery (usable capacity) up from 64.7kWh in the old car. Meanwhile, the 55 e-tron and SQ8 both get a 106kWh battery (previously 83.6kWh).

That means big jumps in advertised range. The bigger-battery 55 e-tron can now officially return up to 330 miles on a charge, with the sleeker Sportback boasting a 342-mile maximum. Even the basic 50 e-tron will now do 281 miles (WLTP).

Rapid charging speeds have also improved with the e-tron’s mid-life facelift; the entry-level 50 e-tron can charge at speeds of up to 150kW, while the 55 e-tron and SQ8 top out at 170kW. Slower AC charging maxes out at 11kW as standard, though an optional 22kW on-board charger is available.

Performance gets a boost, too. The 50 e-tron can now do 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds flat (down from 6.8s), while the 55 e-tron slashes that to 5.6 seconds (compared with 5.7s before). The triple-motor SQ8 completes the benchmark sprint in the same 4.5 seconds as before, thanks to a huge 496bhp and a near-1,000Nm of torque.

There are four main spec levels: e-tron 50 and 55 models come in Sport, S Line, Black Edition or Vorsprung, with the SQ8 only available in the top two trims. Every car gets at least 20-inch wheels, Matrix LED lights, a power-operated tailgate and adaptive air suspension, plus dual-zone climate control, Audi’s MMI system and its Virtual Cockpit digital instruments.

Practicality is a Q8 e-tron strong point, despite the fact it is built on a platform shared with the petrol and diesel-powered Q7 SUV. The Q8 gets a 569-litre boot and space under the bonnet to store things like the charging cables. Furthermore, the interior gets a completely flat floor, so it’s possible to seat three across the rear bench without too much difficulty.

Audi claims the Q8 is “noticeably more agile” than its e-tron predecessor, though in reality this is still a big, heavy, electric SUV that prioritises comfort and refinement above all else. The Q8 is incredibly quiet at high speeds, and that standard-fit air suspension means there are few more relaxing ways to travel. It’s fast, but this isn’t a particularly dynamic proposition; a Jaguar i-Pace or BMW iX are better for keen drivers.

And yet for those after a high-tech electric SUV with a strong range and fast charging, the changes Audi has made to its new flagship do just enough to elevate the Q8 back to within spitting distance of the best cars in this class. To find out more about the Audi Q8 e-tron, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

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