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
- Very refined on the move
- Big battery for long range
- Impressively high-tech interior
- Handling is a bit dull
- Expensive range-toppers
- Not very efficient
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|50 e-tron||261-281 miles||9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 11kW)||28mins (10-80%, 150kW)|
|55 e-tron||306-330 miles||11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 11kW)||31mins (10-80%, 170kW)|
|SQ8||269-276 miles||11hrs 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 due on sale in early 2024.
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). The SQ8 is quick, but not nearly as efficient – maximum range is 269 miles.
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…
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingAudi's flagship electric SUV has been updated with bigger batteries and more range, but it still puts comfort first
- 2Range, battery & chargingExtensive updates to the e-tron include bigger batteries and faster charging; but the Q8 is still heavy and not very efficient
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe usual electric-car advantages apply here, but there's no getting around the fact the Audi Q8 e-tron is expensive to buy
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Audi Q8 e-tron is comfortable and smooth, but far from the last word in sportiness
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Audi Q8 e-tron has a fantastic interior and features some showstopping technology
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalitySeven seats aren't an option, but in other respects the Audi Q8 e-tron is practical and family-friendly
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Audi Q8 e-tron fares well in both of these areas, with loads of advanced driver aids and a five-star Euro NCAP score