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In-depth reviews

Audi Q8 e-tron interior, dashboard & comfort

The Audi Q8 e-tron has a fantastic interior and features some showstopping technology

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, dashboard & comfort rating

4.5 out of 5

Superb interior fit and finish has been an Audi calling card for years now and the Q8 e-tron – just like the pre-facelift model – shows that's not going to change as the brand shifts to electric cars. Inside, there's no shortage of high-quality material adorning every surface, with leather, polished plastic and high-grade metal trim everywhere you look.

Audi e-tron dashboard

The Q8 e-tron's dashboard is fully digital, ensuring it feels right up-to-date and in step with rivals like the Tesla Model X; even four years after it initially launched, the interior of Audi’s flagship SUV feels cutting-edge and thoughtfully laid-out. Rather than aim for a minimalist aesthetic as is popular with some other manufacturers, Audi has given the Q8 a sharp-edged, sculptural look inside that fits in nicely with the rest of its range. It's trimmed beautifully and overall build quality is excellent.

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An extra element unique to the Q8 e-tron (for now) is digital door mirrors. Standard on the Vorsprung model, this system replaces traditional door mirrors with a pair of high-resolution cameras, which feed their output to a pair of small screens mounted in the top of the doors.

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The novelty value of this setup is undeniable, but in practice it's not great to use: the screens aren't as high up as you'd expect, so taking a quick glance at what's behind you feels less natural than with a conventional mirror. 

Ultimately, we found they limited your peripheral vision, and made changing lanes or joining motorways much harder than normal. We ended up using them far less than we might conventional door mirrors, bringing into question their safety in real-world use. We recommend sticking with a normal mirror setup and saving money in the process.

Equipment, options & accessories

When the e-tron first went on sale in 2019, it was offered in three trims: the standard e-tron, a Launch Edition, and an ultra-exclusive Edition 1, with only 30 of the latter making their way to the UK. After this, Technik, Sport, S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung models were added to the range.

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Then, in late-2022, the e-tron became the Q8 e-tron, and along with new badging, Audi dropped the cheapest Technik trim. This is no great shame, however, as the popular Sport and S line models are well-equipped and actually represent decent value alongside pricier rivals.

The line-up now starts with Sport, which comes with 20-inch wheels, Matrix LED lights, a power-operated tailgate and adaptive air suspension. These cars also get heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control and a 10-speaker stereo, plus wireless phone charging. Audi’s MMI infotainment system is also standard, alongside those fantastic Virtual Cockpit digital instruments.

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Above this, sits S line (+£5,000), which Audi says will account for as much as 40% of Q8 e-tron sales in the UK. These cars get larger 21-inch wheels, sportier styling, privacy glass and S-embossed seats. S line models also get a sportier suspension tune.

Black Edition (around £2,500 more than S line) does what it says on the tin and brings gloss black exterior trim for the door mirrors, roof rails and badges, as well as different, gloss black 21-inch wheels. Vorsprung costs almost £15k more again, and tops the range with 22-inch wheels, ‘Super Sports’ seats, virtual door mirror and fancier lights, plus a panoramic roof, four-zone climate control and a head-up display. This version ticks almost every box – also adding the Tour Pack, City Assist Pack and Parking Assist Pack.

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There is also a more powerful SQ8 offered, with three motors producing a combined 496bhp. The SQ8 comes in Black Edition and Vorsprung specs, adding much the same list of standard equipment, with a few subtle changes.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

The Q8  e-tron uses the same dual-screen infotainment setup found in the latest Audi A6, Audi A7 and Audi A8 luxury models, combined with the brand's Virtual Cockpit dials ahead of the driver. All three screens offer exceptional clarity and scope for personalisation; the digital instruments remain some of the best on the market, almost a decade after launching on the then-new Audi TT. 

The two central screens are both HD, measuring 10.1 inches (upper) and 8.6 inches (lower). They incorporate 'haptic' feedback, vibrating slightly so you know you've pressed a control. It may be a matter of personal taste, but we prefer the feel of physical buttons, and either way, the Audi system isn't quite as intuitive to use as BMW's standard-setting iDrive setup. 

The Audi’s infotainment screens are at least fully featured, though, boasting sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, wireless phone charging and Audi Smartphone Interface (which incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) as standard. And from 2022, the e-tron gets Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, too.

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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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