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Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback review

2023 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 2.8 out of 52.8
” Audi's range-topping electric SUV coupe disappoints “

At a glance

Price new £71,900 - £118,750
Used prices £47,624 - £84,260
Road tax cost £0
Insurance group 48 - 50
Get an insurance quote with Mustard logo
Fuel economy 2.2 - 3 miles/kWh
Range 261 - 345 miles
Miles per pound 3.5 - 8.8
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Fully electric

Pros & cons

  • Spacious for an SUV coupe
  • Charging port on both sides
  • Premium build
  • Not very exciting
  • Virtual Mirrors a disaster
  • Terrible touchscreens

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 21 June 2023 Updated: 21 June 2023


The Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback is the five-door coupe version of the firm’s flagship electric SUV, the Q8 E-Tron. Formerly known simply as the Audi E-Tron Sportback, the addition of the Q8 reflects its position at the top of the range and growing number of other 100% electric Audis – when the E-Tron was first introduced it was the only one.

Coupe is a bit of a generous term – this is a large SUV with a sloping rear roofline, meaning you sacrifice a bit of headroom and boot space in the name of what passes for style. Both elements are still well within reasonable limits, however, so you won’t have to leave half your luggage behind and adults can still sit in the back.

In addition to the name change and some updated aerodynamics from 2023, the Q8 E-Tron has also undergone revisions in the battery compartment.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - front, grey
Q8 E-Tron Sportback: Audi’s flagship electric SUV in coupe form.

This results in two options for the regular variants: the Q8 E-Tron Sportback 50 model gets an 89kWh unit promising up to 290 miles of driving range, while the Q8 E-Tron Sportback 55 gets 106kWh and up to 343 miles – both range figures according to WLTP.

The bigger battery is also combined with a more powerful pair of motors, producing 408hp to the small battery version’s 340hp. The Sportback is marginally more efficient than the regular Q8 E-Tron SUV.

There’s also an SQ8 E-Tron Sportback – a performance model with three motors, 503hp and 114kWh of battery. This only manages 284 miles WLTP at best.

What’s it like inside?

The interior of the Q8, considering its premium positioning in the Audi range, is nothing exceptionally special – but there are two significant issues potential buyers should be aware of, both tech related.

Our test car was fitted with cameras instead of traditional door mirrors, a feature that’s optional on all but the range-topping Vorsprung model, which we would now definitively avoid. These Virtual Mirrors, as they’re called, are intended to improve aerodynamics and therefore efficiency, theoretically extending the driving range per charge – although Vorsprung models are actually less efficient on paper than their lesser siblings due to other fitted items.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - interior from driver's side, infotainment screens
Interior is full of toys – not all of them good.

They’d have to deliver one hell of an efficiency boost for us to ever consider them. Displaying the rear view on a tiny monitor below the level of the door top, you have to recalibrate where you look (missing peripheral real-world details in the process), adjust to the difference between a real image and a digital one (which lacks any depth, making distances to cars and other objects difficult to judge), and you have to live without the option of squirming about to increase what you can see in them, as you can do with a conventional mirror.

So, while you might – in time – get used to the system, it simply will never be as good as a conventional set of door mirrors. The implementation here is a travesty.

The other technology issue is the infotainment system. This features a main screen for the sat-nav, media system and other core car-related features, plus a secondary screen lower down for the climate control. Both require not a gentle press but a serious, poke-its-eye-out prod to activate any function. This is not only unnecessarily fatiguing versus almost any other factory-installed in-car infotainment system on the market, it’s also highly distracting when you’re driving.


This is a premium electric car from a German brand, so inside you’ll find supportive seats that seem as if they’ll be too hard but actually prove to be wonderfully supportive. No issues there.

Rear-seat occupants get plenty of legroom, and despite the slopping roof headroom will only really trouble the particularly tall, though it is a little dark back there.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - rear seats
Plenty of space in the back.

Refinement is okay rather than spectacular. We’ve driven much more whisper-quiet electric luxury cars – including the BMW iX, which is a direct rival and frankly outplays the Q8 E-Tron in every department. Even if the BMW’s interior and exterior design is an acquired taste, there’s no mistaking it for anything but a seriously posh piece of kit. In the Q8 it just feels like you’re in another Audi.


The Q8 E-Tron has stacks of safety kit, and received a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP when tested in its previous E-Tron guise back in 2019 – though only the regular SUV was bashed about. You can have up to five radar sensors, five cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors; it will do its best to look after you.

However, it may well need to, given how awful the digital mirrors and the infotainment system’s physical interface are. For the latter you can at least try the Hey Audi voice control to save you breaking a finger.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - Virtual Mirror screen on inside of door
Virtual Mirrors are not something we can recommend.

We will credit that the optional Digital Matrix LED headlights are very fancy. These can even project an ‘orientation light’ onto the road ahead so you can be sure of your lane positioning.

What’s it like to drive?

This is a big, heavy, electric SUV. Even standard-fit four-wheel drive, adaptive air suspension, and modifications to the ‘progressive’ steering and rear axle motor for the change to Q8 E-Tron can’t really help it dismiss those fundamentals. Sure, you can drive it fast, but whether you’ll get any enjoyment out of it is another matter.

Even the more powerful 55 model struggles to feel really quick – though we’ve no doubt the 503hp SQ8 variant redresses this short falling quite considerably (we’ll update when we’ve driven one) – and there’s such a lack of drama to proceedings that it soon becomes a slightly anodyne experience.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - rear, driving round corner, grey
It’s fast, but is it fun?

This can be problematic for staying withing speed limits, because the car carries higher speeds relatively effortlessly. Fine if you’re in Germany on the autobahn, not so great on the A1 when you’re so distracted by the Virtual Mirrors you don’t notice the unmarked police car until its lights are flashing.

Another interesting element is the automatic setting for the variable brake-energy recuperation levels. These can be controlled by paddles behind the steering wheel, allowing you to vary how much the Q8 E-Tron slows when you lift off the accelerator; in automatic mode, the level you may have manually selected resets every time you accelerate again.

Still, if you find this disconcerting you can switch the automatic mode off.

Considering the enormous wheels, ride comfort isn’t bad at all. But as with every element of the driving experience, that pesky BMW iX does it better.

Range and charging

We covered the Q8 E-Tron Sportback’s electric driving range in the intro, but to make the obvious iX comparison again, the Audi’s theoretical 343-mile maximum range falls someway short of the BMW’s 380-mile capability.

In the real world neither is likely to go that far, but that’s an indicator of which is likely to go further before needing a top up.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - charging port
There’s a charging port on each side, behind a powered door. Neat.

Max public charging capability for the Q8 E-Tron Sportback is 150kW DC (versus 195kW for the iX…), which can take the smaller 89kWh battery pack from 10% to 80% in 28 minutes, and allows the larger 106kWh battery to do the same in 31 minutes.

On the kind of 7kW home charger most common in the UK you’ll need at least 14 hours for a full charge.

Neatly, Audi has made room under the bonnet for charging cable storage, so you won’t have to find space for them in the boot. Even better, there are charging ports on either side of the car.

Which models and trims are available?

In addition to the choice of two standard powertrain options – 50 and 55 – the E-Tron Sportback comes in four standard trim levels: Sport, S Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung. There was also a limited Launch Edition based on the S Line for eager initial customers.

Standard equipment on the Sport is comprehensive, including 20-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, adaptive air suspension, electrically adjustable heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker hi-fi system, sat-nav, digital instrumentation and cruise control.

Audi Q8 E-Tron Sportback review - front, driving round corner, grey
Standard equipment is generous throughout.

Upgrade to S Line, and you get 21-inch alloys, adaptive sport air suspension, bespoke S line bumpers, front sports seats and a sportier three-spoke steering wheel. Black Edition adds black detailing and headlights with Audi logo projection.

Vorsprung gets 22-inch wheels, ‘Super Sport’ front seats, power-closing doors, four-zone climate, panoramic roof and the very clever Digital Matrix LED headlights. But you shouldn’t buy it because the Virtual Mirrors are also part of the package.

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