New Audi Q8 e-tron SUV is electrifying at first sight.
New Audi Q8 e-tron – Electrification Visualised.
The new Audi Q8 e-tron is essentially a mid-life update of the mighty e-tron SUV that was first launched in 2019, and its new name is part of Audi’s latest naming strategy which categorises their models in terms of their size and status. In this mid-cycle upgrade, the Q8 e-tron has received a dynamic new front design that incorporates a new grille with an illuminated strip that sits above it, along with a substantial range boost thanks to larger batteries and more power.
In terms of size, the Q8 e-tron is longer and wider than the Audi Q5 mid-size SUV but smaller than the seven-seat Q7 SUV. There are two rows of seats, with very generous rear legroom for three fully-grown adults. Foot space is excellent courtesy of a flat floor that does without the traditional central tunnel in the floor of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. The closest luxurious electric SUV rivals to the Q8 e-tron include the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X, BMW iX and the Mercedes-Benz EQC and EQS. The Q8 e-tron is available with a choice of two body styles – a traditional SUV (as tested) or a sleek Sportback version – both of which are offered with the same trim levels and powertrains.
Battery Capacity & Range.
The Q8 e-tron model line-up starts with the Q8 50 e-tron which gets a pair of electric motors for quattro all-wheel driveability, and a 89kWh usable battery. The mid-range Q8 55 e-tron benefits from a power boost and an even bigger battery with a usable capacity of 106kWh. Finally, serving as a replacement for the e-tron S is the SQ8 e-tron, which uses three electric motors to produce 496hp and a massive 973Nm of torque, powered by the same 106kWh battery as the Q8 55 e-tron. Official WLTP driving range figures for the 50 e-tron, 55 e-tron and SQ8 are 452km, 531km and 436km respectively. The Q8 e-tron’s peak 170kW charge rate system makes good use of clever software management during charging that ensures it accepts electricity swiftly. A suitable fast charger will top up the battery from 10-80% in just 28 minutes, with a full (0-100%) charge at a domestic wall-box charger taking around nine and a half hours to complete.
Three Trim Levels.
Three trim levels are available for the Q8 e-tron – Advance, Sport and S Line – all of which come in 50 e-tron and 55 e-tron variants. The upmarket interior of the Q8 e-tron is packed full of Audi flavour, with a suite of advanced safety and infotainment tech as standard, along with a high-quality cabin that is adorned with premium materials throughout. The whole design follows the modern EV formula of being minimalistic in order to make the cabin feel as airy and spacious as possible. Infotainment is taken care of by way of Audi’s dual-screen MMI system with MMI touch functionality. The 10.2-inch upper screen provides access to the likes of vehicle settings, satellite navigation and telephone connectivity, while the 8.6-inch lower screen is tasked with displaying features that a driver will interact with most often. The Audi Drive Select menu is accessed through the larger MMI screen, and drivers can select from offroad, all-road, comfort, auto, dynamic or individual drive modes to suit their individual driving style or road conditions.
My Audi Q8 e-tron 50 quattro test car came in top-spec S Line trim, and was finished in Daytona Grey Pearl Effect paintwork with upgraded 21” 5-arm Aero design wheels in black metallic in lieu of the standard-fit 21” turbine design wheels. Other key standard S Line equipment includes S Line bumpers in full paint finish, anti-theft wheel bolts, ambient lighting package, Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators, automatically dimming rear-view mirror, central locking with ‘Keyless Go’, rear privacy glass, heated front seats with 4-way lumbar support, Valcona leather upholstery, inlays in matte brushed aluminium, leather multi-function sports steering wheel, Audi Virtual Cockpit, navigation system, Audi Sound System, USB ports in rear, Audi Phone Box light, Audi pre-sense (front), camera-based traffic sign recognition, cruise control with speed limiter, lane departure warning, and a reversing camera. The steering wheel-mounted paddles allow drivers to control the level of brake regeneration, but it is also possible to just leave the car to work out what is best. The Q8 e-tron is supremely comfortable, refined and – given its overall size – surprisingly easy to drive. With quattro all-wheel drive as standard, the car feels very stable, whether it is cruising on a motorway or travelling along imperfect road surfaces in urban settings. The well-weighted steering communicates well with the driver, and the car can turn into a corner with terrific precision. With 340hp and 664Nm of instant torque on offer from the twin electric motors, the Q8 e-tron 50 can sprint from 0-100km/h in six seconds flat, on its way to a top speed of 200km/h (where permitted). Energy consumption as low as 20.3kWh/100km on a WLTP combined driving cycle equates to low running costs, while annual road tax is just €120. Families are sure to be impressed by the practical boot space in the Q8 e-tron, as it can be expanded from its 569-litre capacity behind the rear seats to a cavernous 1,637-litres when the rear seats are folded down.
Verdict & Pricing.
The new Audi Q8 e-tron is impressively refined, comfortable and beautifully built, and it is laden with cutting-edge tech. It is practical too, with lots of space in the luxurious cabin for up to 5 fully-grown adults, and ample boot space for their luggage. With its athletic and muscular profile, along with its terrific driving dynamics, the new Q8 e-tron is one of the best large premium SUVs on the market. Pricing starts at €87,885 for the Q8 e-tron Advance 50 quattro, with my Q8 e-tron S Line 50 quattro test car specification priced from €97,390.
Visit www.audi.ie for further information.