What is it?
Audi entered the age of electromobility in 2018 with the e-tron. Since then, the model has been setting standards in the electric luxury-class SUV segment.
The introduction of the new Audi Q8 e-tron last year builds on the success story of the flagship electric SUV and Sportback which now feature an optimized drivetrain, improved aerodynamics, higher charging performance, and battery capacity and an increased range of up to 330 miles (WLTP) in the SUV and up to 343 miles (WLTP) in the Sportback. Design changes, especially at the front of the vehicle, give the new flagship SUV a fresher appearance.
Since the introduction of the Audi e-tron around four years ago and sales of 150,000 units, the brand has been been following a systematic electric roadmap with an EV portfolio now comprising eight models. By 2026, it will have more than 20. At that point, Audi says it will only be releasing fully electric models on the global market.
The Q8 e-tron is on sale in the UK priced from £67,800 (OTR). The model range comprises SUV and Sportback bodystyles and three powertrain options: Q8 50 e-tron, Q8 55 e-tron and SQ8 e-tron. All feature a generous level of standard equipment, considerable improvements in electric range and increased battery capacity.
While that entry price looks pretty good, our test vehicle, the Q8 e-tron 55 quattro 300kW Launch Edition comes in at £95,085.00 with Chronos grey, metallic paint adding a further £795.00. Delivery charges and road fund licence push the price north of £96K, but it in terms of equipment, this model is fully loaded.
The Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron lineups comprise four trim levels: Sport, S Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung. The high-performance SQ8 e-tron range is made up of a Black Edition and Vorsprung trim but an on-sale date for these flagship variants will be announced at a later date.
The level of standard equipment across the Q8 e-tron lineup reflects its position as the most sophisticated electric SUV in Audi’s portfolio. Highlights include adaptive air suspension, quattro all-wheel drive and progressive steering, which feature across all models. Further increasing on-board comfort and refinement are heated and electrically adjustable front seats, windscreen with acoustic glazing, Audi Virtual cockpit, keyless-go and two-zone automatic air conditioning including comfort remote preconditioning. This enhanced system now allows customers to heat or cool the car, and activate seat heating and ventilation, and window heating via the myAudi app.
A raft of safety equipment also features as standard including a rearview camera, lane departure warning, Audi pre-sense front and basic, parking system with 360 sensors and camera traffic sign recognition. Matrix LED headlamps are standard across the line-up with Digital Matrix LEDs reserved for top-spec Vorsprung editions.
The number of available options on the Q8 e-tron has been simplified with two technology-focused packs. The Technology Pack (£2,995) comprises a Bang & Olufsen sound system, multi-colour interior ambient lighting pack, head-up display, 360-degree camera and park assist plus with parking aid, which enables the Q8 e-tron to park itself with the press and hold of a button.
The Technology Pack Pro (£5,995) adds exterior ambient lighting (Grille Illumination), four-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, USB-C in the rear, heated rear seats and advanced key.
The familiar Tour Pack (£1,995) remains available and comprises adaptive cruise with active lane assist, emergency assist, predictive efficiency assistant, turn assist and swerve assist, while the City Assist Pack (£1,495) adds Audi pre-sense rear, exit warning, cross traffic assist front and rear, lane change assistant and park assist with parking aid. Audi’s virtual door mirrors can also be added (£1,750).
What do we think?
Well, it’s an Audi and so it’s going to be good so let’s get a couple of issues out of the way – and to be fair these are pretty personal ones:
Cameras instead of door mirrors – while the concept is sound, the screens are mounted on the door panels, just behind the windscreen but the cameras are out on stalks where the mirrors would normally be – so guess where I kept looking first? It’s something I’m sure a new generation will take to immediately but it’s annoying for a motoring dinosaur like me.
Sensors – now these are handy but there are just too many of them. Trying to reverse into a parking space, with cars to the left, right and rear as well as people and traffic passing in all directions set off a cacophony of sound which honestly messed with my head. I simply did not know where to look and ended up driving to a remote part of the car park to park in peace.
Those out of the way, there’s plenty to like about the Q8 if you can afford one. A monthly lease cost will be around £730 but it does have all the executive bells and whistles.
The Q8 e-tron has been upgraded to charge at a maximum of 170kW apparently because the engineers wanted the car to be more dependable to live with. That means charging from 10 to 80% on the smallest battery model can take just 28 minutes or 31 minutes for the larger battery.
In terms of interior space, there’s decent room in the back even though there are hundreds of battery cells under the floor. So, front and rear passengers are not going to be cramped for space.
Behind the wheel, everything feels very smooth as the car glides almost silently around the roads. Steering is firmly weighted and the switch from acceleration to brake regeneration is remarkably smooth. It’s quite easy to get carried away in terms of speed because it is all so smooth. There is a sport option but you’ll burn your range pretty swiftly.
The Q8 is already quite a heavy beast at just over 2.5 tonnes and it is rated for towing up to 1,800kg of braked trailer – impressive for an electric car but the additional weight is again going to suck the juice out of the battery pack.
AUDI Q8 E-TRON SPECIFICATIONS
|Q8 50 e-tron &
Q8 Sportback 50 e-tron
|Q8 55 e-tron &
Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron
|SQ8 e-tron &
SQ8 Sportback e-tron
|Max range (WLTP)||281 miles (SUV)
290 miles (Sportback)
|330 miles (SUV)
343 miles (Sportback)
|269 miles (SUV)
276 miles (Sportback)
|0–62mph||6.0 seconds||5.6 seconds||4.5 seconds|
|Drive system||1x ASM per axle||1x ASM per axle||1x ASM front axle
2x ASM rear axle
|Charging||11 kW AC (0-100%)
150 kW DC (10-80%)
|11 kW AC (0-100%)
150 kW DC (10-80%)
|11 kW AC (0-100%)
150 kW DC (10-80%)
|Unladen weight (excluding driver)||SUV: 2,510kg