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Audi Q8 e-tron (2022 - )

Audi has taken its flagship Q8 e-tron electric vehicle and improved its efficiency, driving range and styling.

Starting price:
£95,085

Why we love it:
  • Beautifully refined with a cushioned ride
  • Spacious and comfortable for all occupants
  • Decent and accurate driving range
Where it could be better:
  • Those camera mirrors! Just why?
  • Feels quite heavy to drive
  • Expensive to buy especially if you factor in optional extras

Introduction

Audi Q8 e-tron

Audi has taken its flagship Q8 e-tron electric vehicle and improved its efficiency, driving range and styling. The larger 114kWh battery results in a range of up to 343 miles between charges and this addresses an area that resulted in a number of grumbles from owners of the outgoing model.

The new Q8 e-tron is available in trim levels called Sport, S line, Black Edition, Vorsprung, plus a range-topping SQ8 e-tron. There is also a limited run Launch Edition and it was that model that we tested.

Customers can choose between an SUV design or Sportback, along with differing powertrains. The base Q8 50 e-tron generates 340PS in boost mode and 664Nm of torque with a driving range of up to 281 miles (SUV) and 290 miles in Sportback guise. Next up is the Audi Q8 55 e-tron with 408PS in boost mode and 664Nm of torque. This has a range of 330 miles for the SUV and 343 miles for the Sportback. At the top of the scale is the SQ8 e-tron SUV and Sportback – both of which are driven by three motors as opposed to two on other models. With boost performance of 503PS and 973Nm of torque, these cars can deliver 284 miles (295 Sportback) and they have a top speed limited to 130mph.

Audi Q8 e-tron

The new Q8 e-tron is easily identifiable as an electric vehicle thanks to its new-look front and rear ends. There is a two-dimensional design of the Audi four rings emblem and the model lettering with an Audi logo on the B-pillar is also new.

The grille design looks striking and there are sweeping light clusters featuring Matrix LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, black roof rails, tinted windows and stunning 21-inch gloss black alloy wheels with red brake calipers.

Our car featured optional virtual mirrors with camera stalks replacing the traditional mirrors and projecting an image onto screens inside the car. Personally, I cannot see the point in these at all and they make it quite difficult to judge distances and speeds of cars coming up on the outside of the car. It seems like technology for technology’s sake. But some people love them so it really is a matter of preference.

Moving inside, the cockpit is elegant, sophisticated and created from high-end fixtures and fittings throughout. The black leather seats with red contrast stitching are powered and can be heated to fend off the winter blues. And, with ample steering wheel adjustment available, it’s easy to get the ideal driving position and save those settings in the memory function.

The main focal point within the cabin are the two touchscreens positioned one above the other. The lower screen offers access to all the climate control settings, while the upper screen is a more traditional infotainment set-up, with features such as navigation, audio, car settings and smartphone access through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Then there is the Virtual Cockpit with configurable dials and readouts, along with a head-up display to keep a watchful eye on the speed. All controls are easy to use on the fly and the Audi virtual assistant can help with tasks such as changing the radio station, making a phone call or adjusting the temperature.

On The Road

Audi Q8 e-tron

Handling & Performance

Our Audi Q8 e-tron 55 featured a 106kWh battery delivering 408PS and 664Nm of torque. With a two-stage, single gear transmission, it could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 6.5 seconds (or 5.6 seconds if using the boost function) and onto a top speed that is limited to 124mph.

There is an improved driving range between charges of up to 322 miles, under WLTP testing, so the latest Q8 e-tron can easily cope with long motorway ventures. And Audi’s designers and engineers have also improved the dynamics and handling thanks to a re-engineered steering system and revised rear axle motor and electric torque vectoring.

There are drive modes called Efficient, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual that alter the driving characteristics of the car. And steering wheel-mounted paddles can be used to increase or decrease the level of regenerative braking as you go along meaning you barely need touch the brakes.

With a weight of just over 2.5 tonnes, the Q8 e-tron feels quite weighty when put to the test, but it’s a car that cruises effortlessly at 70mph on motorways, yet can also put in a shift on twisting B roads.

With air suspension as standard, the vehicle seems to glide across the uneven road surfaces and the ride is beautifully refined with barely a sound filtering into the cabin. Our test car was fitted with 21-inch wheels, and while both smaller and larger wheels are available, these seemed perfect for the comfort and handling of the model.

And the Q8 e-tron features Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system which will offer additional grip in more adverse driving conditions.

Audi Q8 e-tron

Space & Practicality

The Audi Q8 e-tron in SUV styling certainly has a strong road presence stretching 4,915mm in length, 1,937mm across (excluding camera stalks), 1,633mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,928mm. 

Those dimensions translate into a spacious cabin with plenty of room in the back for a couple of adults – of the taller variety - to sit comfortably. Alternatively, a trio of youngsters would be happy enough on longer journeys thanks to the generous amounts of leg, elbow and head room.

The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and is well-sized with a capacity of 569 litres. Drop the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats and the limit increases to 1,637 litres. It’s easy to lower the rear seats too thanks to levers in the boot and there is also another compact storage compartment under the boot floor.

Beneath the bonnet is a smaller storage area which is ideal for accommodating the charging cables and there are a number of convenient storage options scattered throughout the cabin. These include a locking glovebox, a hidden compartment near the driver’s door, front and rear cup holders, door bins, seat back nets, a deep central cubby with a phone holder and some handy trays.

Back seat passengers have their own climate settings and seat heaters for added comfort. 

At a high-powered charging station, the Q8 55 e-tron reaches a maximum charging performance of 170kW meaning it can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 31 minutes. If using a wallbox, it will charge in 11 hours and 30 minutes via an 11kW box or six hours if using a 22kW unit. 

Ownership

Audi Q8 e-tron

Running Costs

The Audi Q8 e-tron line-up costs from £67,800 for the 50 e-tron Sport in SUV styling or £70,300 for the Sportback. The range-topping SQ8 e-tron Vorsprung starts from £114,500 for the SUV and £117,000 for the Sportback model. And these prices are before any of the many optional extras and packs are factored in. 

Our test car – the Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition SUV – was priced at £95,085 and there were no additional extras.

But before we get too critical about the price, we need to remember Audi is a premium brand and the costs are competitive when compared with close rival models.

And, in addition, by adopting the electric route, owners do benefit from a number of financial benefits thanks to its zero carbon emissions. There is no road tax charge and the car is exempt from Congestion Charge and low emission zone fees. There is also no penalty for choosing an EV costing in excess of £40k whereas Owners of non-EV cars pay a subsidy.

And for anyone lucky enough to be considering the Q8 e-tron as a company car, they will be pleased to learn it has a very attractive Benefit in Kind tax savings rate of just two per cent.

On the downside, the Government recently announced that many of these incentives will be cut back or withdrawn completely from 2025.

The Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition model, as tested, sits in insurance group 50.

Verdict

Audi Q8 e-tron

When Audi launched its e-tron all-electric models, there was one major issue that owners were very quick to point out and that was the limited range. Now with a restructuring of the line-up along with a renaming process we get the Q8 e-tron which is a worthy flagship model for the German carmaker. And, most importantly, we see a driving range between charges in excess of 300 miles on certain models.

It boasts more distinctive styling and then there are those optional camera stalk mirrors to consider. These are like Marmite – you will either love or hate them. Personally, I’ve never been particularly partial to Marmite and the same goes for these camera mirrors. 

But that’s my opinion only, others I have spoken to think they are amazing, but I would say this to anyone considering adding them to their wish-list. Test them out first in all settings. See if they are clear enough on motorways, offer good enough visibility in and around town and then try reversing!

By Maxine Ashford
Aug 07, 2023

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