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Audi Q8 e-tron review

2023 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 53.0
” Usefully improved, but not quite at the top of the class “

At a glance

Price new £70,715 - £115,215
Used prices £35,400 - £70,485
Road tax cost £0
Insurance group 48 - 50
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Fuel economy 2.2 - 2.9 miles/kWh
Range 256 - 333 miles
Miles per pound 3.5 - 8.5
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Fully electric

Pros & cons

PROS
  • Competitive range and performance
  • Packed with technology
  • Lots of space and a high-quality cabin
CONS
  • Doesn’t handle as well as a Jaguar I-Pace
  • Virtual door mirrors hamper visibility
  • Overall efficiency is below its rivals

Written by Keith Adams Published: 20 December 2022 Updated: 22 June 2023

Overview

The Audi Q8 E-Tron is a facelift of the outgoing E-Tron, which when launched was the only EV produced by the firm. So, it’s a new name, but it’s far from being an all-new electric car. By 2025, there will be no new engine-driven Audis being launched, and this one will be part of a very wide range of battery-powered cars. Hence the prefix.

Despite its position near the top of the electric SUV tree, rivals to the Q8 E-Tron are plentiful with the Tesla Model X, BMW iX, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV offering comparable levels of size, luxury and EV tech. So, the change from E-Tron to Q8 E-Tron was timely, as the improvements to range and charging speed in particular bring it into line with its rivals.

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Audi Q8 E-Tron review (2023)
Audi Q8 E-Tron interior is easy to use and beautifully built.

What’s it like inside?

In a market sector peppered with some talented players, the Q8 E-Tron stands out for having one of the highest quality cabins around. Material choice for the trim and fascia include walnut, grained ash and carbon, while recycled materials also play a key role.

Two large screens dominate the cabin (in a very similar vein to the A8 saloon), with the upper touchscreen display (10.1-inch) housing the main infotainment system’s functions and the lower screen (8.6 inches) providing air-con and climate controls. It works well, yet the removal of a physical control dial – like you had on previous generation Audis – could be seen as an oversight, especially when driving with gloves on in winter.

Overall space and comfort is excellent – as you’d expect for a car of this size – plus, there’s easily enough storage dotted around the cabin to hold your everyday items.

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Audi Q8 E-Tron review (2023)
Rear seat room is excellent with ample head and legroom.

One thing that really bothers us about the cabin experience, however, is the lack of traditional door mirrors. If you opt for the top-level Vorsprung trim, these are replaced by live-feed cameras and associated displays that sit just below the A-pillar. The aerodynamic benefits are obvious, but they’re just not as easy to use as a physical mirror, offer a more limited view, and are shown the way by Hyundai’s instrument panel-mounted alternatives.

Practicality in the Q8 E-Tron is good, with all occupants afforded plenty of space. Meanwhile, the boot measures up at 605 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,755 litres with them folded down. There is luggage capacity under the bonnet in the ‘frunk’, which is great for storing your cables.

What’s it like to drive?

The Q8 E-Tron is available with three powertrain options. You can have it in 50, 55 and SQ8 flavours, with each offering a different amount of range and performance. Naturally, the entry-level 50 is the cheapest and thus delivers 340hp and up to 281 miles of range from its 89kWh battery. The 0-62mph time is 6.0 seconds, which is far from shabby for an entry-level model.

Upgrade to the 55 model, meanwhile, and the battery capacity increases to 106kWh with power rated at 408hp. On the road, performance is never ballistic, instead feeling confident and effortless, with a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds, and excellent mid-range punch for overtaking.

The SQ8 version uses the same battery and motor layout (two motors on the rear axle, one on the front) as the 55 but provides a big jump in performance. Total power and torque output is 503hp and 973Nm respectively, while 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds. This is the range-topper, and yet is still out-accelerated by the Jaguar I-Pace.

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Audi Q8 E-Tron review (2023)
High-speed refinement of the Q8 E-Tron is impressive, with supremely low levels of wind noise.

Audi has also worked on elements of the chassis and steering to improve handling and agility. Granted, this doesn’t make it a sports car (and it never will be at 2.6 tonnes), but some hallmarks of an Audi performance car are present. The Quattro all-wheel drive system provides excellent stability and there’s a decent amount of agility for such a big car.

Crucially, though, everything doesn’t unravel when you stop going quickly and start to relax. Versions with the smallest 20-inch wheels have the best ride, but thanks to standard-fit air suspension across the range comfort on all models is smooth and measured. One thing that particularly impresses is the Q8 E-Tron’s ability to shrug off potholes, and other surface irregularities – a great talent to have on today’s crater-strewn roads.

Refinement is also strong thanks to low road and wind noise levels, but we would caveat this by saying we’ve so far only driven cars with the optional Virtual door mirrors. These produce less wind noise than conventional mirrors, but not being anywhere near as easy to use.

Range and charging

This is where the Q8 E-Tron has taken a step forward. It’s an important improvement, too, because the old E-Tron was notoriously inefficient and offered with so-so battery sizes, which saw it outperformed by the smaller (and less expensive) Q4 E-Tron.

The Q8 E-Tron’s large batteries mean that the entry-level 50-spec cars deliver up to a claimed 281 miles, the 55 up to 330 and the SQ8 up to 284. In the case of the mid-range 55, this is an increase of around 80 miles versus the best-performing version of the pre-facelift E-Tron. Note that trim levels can have a significant impact on range, so always double check the exact model before buying.

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Audi Q8 E-Tron review (2023)
E-Tron range and charging are at least up with its rivals, if not their efficiency.

What’s worth noting is that in testing on UK roads, we averaged an unimpressive 2.5-2.7 miles per kWh in gentle driving in rural A- and B-road driving, where a Tesla Model X or Model Y would go far further than that. At that rate, even the largest-battery version would struggle to get anywhere near the claims above.

As for charging, the Q8 E-Tron is compatible with DC chargers up to 170kW in the 55 and SQ8 versions and 150kW in the 50 model. As such, a 10-80% charge on either should take around 30 minutes. 11kW AC charging comes as standard, while upgraded hardware capable of 22kW is optional.

What models and trims are available?

Along with the aforementioned powertrain options, the Q8 E-Tron is available in four primary trim levels – namely Sport, S Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung. In addition, SQ8 Black Edition and SQ8 Vorsprung differ slightly from their namesakes in regular models.

While items such as the Virtual door mirrors (which we’d happily do without), Tour Pack and Parking Assist Pack are reserved for the top-spec Vorsprung trim, all Q8 E-Tron models come well-equipped. For example, the base Sport version gets Matrix LED headlights, adaptive air suspension, a power-operated tailgate, Audi Virtual Cockpit and electrically adjustable heated front seats.

The big question is whether these improvements are enough for the Q8 E-Tron to catch up and beat its newer rivals. Read on for our verdict to find out whether we recommend the Audi Q8 E-Tron over its rivals.

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