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Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron: performance, motor & drive

Don’t let the Sportback’s sleek shape fool you; all versions, bar the range-topping S, offer very little in terms of driver engagement

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

3.5 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Electric

Model

0-62mph

Top speed

Driven wheels

Power

50 Sportback e-tron

6.0s

124mph

Four

335bhp

55 Sportback e-tron

5.6s

124mph

Four

402bhp

SQ8 Sportback e-tron

4.5s

130mph

Four

496bhp

Big changes were made to the Audi e-tron SUV in late 2022, including bigger batteries and faster charging tech – helping justify the new ‘Q8 e-tron’ name. Audi also fitted more powerful motors to the entry-level 50 e-tron and tweaked the steering for “enhanced agility and adjustability.” In reality, however, the Q8 is still a big, heavy SUV that majors on high-speed refinement. 

Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

No matter which version of the new Q8 Sportback you go for, performance is plentiful. The entry-level Q8 50 Sportback e-tron gets 335bhp and 664Nm of torque; good for 0-62mph in six seconds flat and an electronically limited top speed of 124mph.

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Next up is the Q8 55 e-tron, which bumps power to 402bhp, though torque doesn’t change. The upgraded motor means the Q8’s 0-62mph time tumbles to just 5.6 seconds. Ultimately, these are incremental improvements; buyers are likely to choose the 55 e-tron for its bigger battery and range gains rather than any improvement in straight-line speed.

The range is topped out by the 496bhp SQ8 e-tron. This triple-motor model will perform the 0-62mph dash in 4.5 seconds and carry on to a maximum speed of 130mph. Spend much time at top speed, however, and your predicted range on a full charge will drop like a stone.

Handling

The Q8 Sportback e-tron feels much the same as the standard Q8 e-tron from behind the wheel. That’s to say it’s comfortable and quiet – and not just because it’s an electric car; there’s very little in the way of road noise and the optional digital door mirrors on our test car meant there was next to no wind noise from around the A-pillars, either.

Audi has done everything possible to disguise the Sportback's hefty weight, but there’s no avoiding the fact that this is a 2.5-tonne car. It rides wonderfully, but you’d be hard pressed to call it fun to drive. Grip from the quattro system is excellent, but there’s not much feel through the steering and body control could be better.

That said, the SQ8 Sportback e-tron takes things to another level. This can vary the amount of power being sent to each wheel in order to boost both grip and stability while turning. The end result is an astonishing amount of traction when taking corners at speed, making even the twistiest route a 'point-and-shoot' experience. Extensive suspension improvements and sharper steering compared to the 55 also contribute to the heightened sense of agility you get from the S.

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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.

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