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2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro Launch Edition review

Audi’s original electric SUV has just gone through a refresh and a re-badge.

The 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron was previously known as the Audi e-tron, the first in a growing family of ‘e-tron’ branded electric vehicles for the German marque.

It looks familiar, because it is. The transition from e-tron to Q8 e-tron was a mild one, largely down to revised front and rear fascias and aerodynamic improvements, as well as an increase to battery capacity.

On the outside it has that familiar Audi look that may not immediately stick out to you as an EV – for some, that’s a good thing if you don’t plan on standing out, or dislike electric vehicles that look like science experiments.

Unlike some newer competitors, the Q8 e-tron isn’t based on a dedicated electric vehicle platform, rather utilising a version of the MLB evo architecture that underpins everything from the A4 and Q5 through to the A8 and ICE-fired Q8, as well as a number of boutique offerings like the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

The last one was criticised for lacking in range and efficiency compared to a growing set of dedicated EV rivals, so Audi went back to the drawing board and improved the aerodynamics and added larger batteries across the range.

Has it all paid off?

How much does the Audi Q8 e-tron cost?

Our test car is the 55 e-tron quattro Launch Edition, which comes in at $165,900 before on-road costs.

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron pricing:

  • 2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro: $153,900
  • 2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro Launch Edition: $165,900
  • 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron quattro: $165,900

Prices exclude on-road costs

To see how the Audi Q8 e-tron lines up against its rivals, check out our comparison tool.

What is the Audi Q8 e-tron like on the inside?

Not much has really changed inside for the facelift, save for some updated trims – that said, it’s still very nice.

Highlights of the Launch Edition spec include the standard fitment of the colour interior lighting package (30 colours and six profiles), a sports leather steering wheel with perforated grips, electric steering column adjustment with memory, a black headliner and stainless steel pedals.

You also get the lovely S sport front seats in smooth Valcona leather, which also boast diamond contrast stitch patterning, integrated headrests and embossed ‘S’ logos on the headrests – basically, the seats are from the go-fast SQ8 e-tron.

These are fairly minor details, and the bulk of these features are available as cost options elsewhere in the range. It makes for a pretty plush cabin though, despite the Q8 e-tron/e-tron being one of the first Audi vehicles to feature this interior design and layout.

Dual touchscreens for infotainment and climate controls are stacked neatly in the dashboard and angled to the driver for better usability, and ahead of the driver is the excellent 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit. All are carried over from the pre-update model but remain towards the top of the luxury class for clarity, usability and response.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Audi connect plus online services all feature as before, and all work as intended. You do, however, get the odd dropout with smartphone mirroring in known interference points in Melbourne.

Elsewhere the cabin is familiar Audi fare, and familiar e-tron fare. Build quality is top notch, and there’s a sense of convention in a time where BMW and Mercedes-Benz are really going for futuristic wow factor which can polarise.

Bar some minor e-tron details like the toggle-style shift-by-wire selector and the free-standing effect to the virtual cockpit display housing, it all looks, feels and works just like any other larger Audi product. There are strong links to the petrol- and diesel-powered Audi Q8, despite the two vehicles being different cars based on shared underpinnings.

Our test car was fitted with the optional virtual mirrors package ($3500), which continues to divide opinion in terms of their form and function. I’m not a hater, but the door-mounted OLED displays that project the live camera feed take a bit of adjustment as you often need to look down or move arms if they’re rested on the door tops…

The second row is suitably large too, given this car measures a massive 4915mm long on a 2928mm wheelbase. Its dimensions eclipse that of even the related Volkswagen Touareg (4889mm, 2888mm). Space for adults behind adults is very good, so no need to stress about fitting two or three kids or teenagers back there – this is a full-size five-seater.

Rear amenities include directional air vents – four-zone climate is reserved for the Sportback and SQ8 e-tron – net-type map pockets, a fold down centre armrest with cupholders, and bottle holders in the doors. It’s a shame the exxy Launch Edition specification doesn’t have the full suite of features available further up in the range.

Behind the rear seats is a 569-litre luggage area which expands to 1637L with the rear seatbacks folded. While that may sound smallish for an SUV this size, it betters the BMW iX (500L-1750L) and Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV (520L-1675L) when the second row is in use.

Another interesting tick the Q8 e-tron gets is the inclusion of a ‘collapsible’ space saver spare wheel, where most other EVs only get tyre repair kits. Handy to have on roadtrips.

What’s under the bonnet?

Model Q8 55 e-tron quattro
Drivetrain Dual-motor electric drive
System power 300kW
System torque 664Nm
Driven wheels All-wheel drive
Battery 114kWh (gross), 400V
0-100km/h 5.6 seconds (boost mode)
Top speed 200km/h
Claimed range 454km (WLTP)
Energy consumption (claimed) 25.6kWh/100km
Energy consumption (as tested) 23.4kWh/100km
Charging capacity (DC) 170kW
Charge time (10-80 per cent) 31 mins
Weight 2520kg (unladen)

How does the Audi Q8 e-tron drive?

Unlike some of my colleagues, I really enjoy driving the Audi Q8 e-tron (and the e-tron before it).

While it’s never had the range or performance of something out of the Tesla showroom, the Audi Q8 e-tron offers the same beautifully smooth drive and ride you get in an Audi Q7 or Q8 – it just happens to be electric.

Everything has been tuned for maximum comfort and refinement, and while the occasionally doughy throttle response won’t be to the tastes of those wanting neck-snapping EV performance, it’s an effortless and wafty thing to live with day-to-day.

In its standard setting the Q8 55 e-tron doesn’t feel like it has 300kW and 664Nm under your right foot, probably because it’s only giving you about 75 per cent of that in Drive and you really need to plant your foot to get full power if you’re in any mode other than dynamic.

But, flick the selector past D into S and you see the ‘boost’ indicator light up on the virtual power meter (EV’s take on the tacho) and you feel that added response as the Q8 e-tron gives you all of its electric might to shift its chunky 2.5-tonne body.

I tried a few full-throttle moments on freeway onramps and overtakes, and the 5.6-second 0-100km/h claim feels accurate. That said, the 0-60km/h acceleration in its most aggressive setting does hit you in the back.

That’s not really what this car is for anyway. If you want to drive it like a performance SUV you’re better off waiting for the SQ8 e-tron (from $173,800) which adds a third electric motor for system outputs of 370kW/973Nm (versus the 55’s 300kW/664Nm) and cuts the 0-100 claim by 1.1 seconds (4.5s).

Really, you’re best to drive this Q8 e-tron like the V6 TDI versions of its stablemates, leaning on the massive reserves of torque and effortlessly doing daily driving duties but without the diesel clatter of its ICE equivalents.

Audi hasn’t bothered with synthesised drivetrain noises or anything in that vein, so progress is smooth and very quiet all the time. Like other MLB-based Audis, sound insulation from the outside world is likewise excellent making for a very serene experience.

Standard adaptive air suspension is typical Audi, in that it’s does a great job at ironing out the lumps and bumps of city life even on 21-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels (with 265/45 Bridgestone Alenza tyres), though also manages body control in more dynamic scenario with aplomb – would you expect anything less?

You can raise and lower it via the various Audi drive select modes or independently if you need, and the various modes adjust the damping accordingly. I particularly like the ‘allroad’ and ‘offroad’ modes where the Q8 will stand up on its tippy-toes and look quite purposeful when left in a gravel carpark, for example.

Pop it in efficiency and it sits on its guts for better aero, and you’ll quickly see a drop in the indicated energy consumption average readout, plus driving range will increase and usually not drop as quickly. This is one of the few EVs where I consistently saw better efficiency on the highway than in town, and it’s quite ‘thirsty’ in stop-start Melbourne traffic – there’s even a Range mode which limits top speed and ancillaries to add even more range.

At speed the Q8 e-tron is beautifully hushed from the outside world and quiet. I drove this down to the Lang Lang Proving Ground to help Paul on a shoot and this is arguably the quietest car I’ve ever driven on the South Gippsland Highway’s very rough blacktop. Kudos.

The Q8 e-tron’s driver assistance suite is as high-tech as you’d expect, with Audi’s adaptive cruise assist combining radar cruise and lane centring functions for semi-autonomous highway motoring. It’s one of the most intuitive and natural-feeling systems of its type.

Our test car’s optional virtual mirrors take some getting used to, and the small door-mounted displays could be bigger and offer better viewing angles. However, the way Audi has neatly integrated blind-spot warning and indicator lights into the edge of the OLED displays is quite fetching – they definitely aren’t to all tastes.

Surround cameras make parking this big bus much more manageable, though the surround parking sensors are intrusively loud. They almost shriek at you which is a tad off-putting, and are just plain annoying when making phone calls.

Finally, I lament the basic LED headlight package with auto high-beam. While ‘fine’, it’s a bit of a pisstake that Audi is charging $170,000 and keeping the trick Matrix LED headlights as an option – $3300, really?

What do you get?

Q8 55 e-tron highlights:

Wheels, suspension, brakes, dynamics

  • 20-inch alloy wheels in 5-arm aero style
    • Graphite grey
    • Diamond-turned finish
    • 255/50 R20 tyres
  • Adaptive air suspension
  • Anti-theft wheel bolts, loose wheel detection
  • Collapsible temporary spare wheel
  • Audi drive select
  • e-quattro fully variable all-wheel drive

Exterior

  • LED headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • High beam assist
  • Rear dynamic indicators
  • Exterior mirrors
    • Heated, folding, auto-dimming
    • Memory function
    • Kerbside function, passenger side
  • High gloss styling package
    • Window slot trims in anodised aluminium
  • Roof rails in aluminium
  • Convenience key
    • Full keyless entry, start
  • Electric tailgate
    • Programmable height
    • Gesture control

Seating and upholstery

  • Standard front seats
  • Leatherette upholstery
  • Electric front seats incl. driver memory
  • Heated front seats
  • Dashboard upper, lower interior elements in leatherette
  • Inlays in brushed aluminium, dark

Interior

  • Auxiliary air-conditioning
    • Pre-conditioning via MMI or MyAudi app
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Auto-dimming interior mirror
  • Door sill trims in aluminium
  • Interior lighting package
  • Leather steering wheel incl. shift paddles
  • Headlining in lunar silver fabric
  • Load sill protector in stainless steel
  • Comfort front centre armrest
    • Adjustable fore-aft position, angle
  • Floor mats front, rear
  • Storage and luggage compartment package
    • 2 x cupholders in rear centre armrest
    • Nets in luggage compartment

Infotainment

  • 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit
  • Audi smartphone interface
    • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
    • Wired Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • Audi music interface
    • 2 x USB ports front (charge, data transfer)
    • 2 x USB ports rear (charge)
  • Audi phone box light
    • Qi wireless smartphone charger, 180W
  • Audi sound system
    • 10 speakers
    • 6-channel amplifier
    • 180 watt system output
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Head-up display
  • Audi connect plus

Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron adds:

Wheels, suspension, brakes, dynamics

  • 21-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels
    • 10-spoke rotor design
    • Anthracite black
    • Gloss turned
    • 265/45 R21 tyres

Seating and upholstery

  • Sport front seats in Valcona leather

Interior

Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition adds:

Wheels, suspension, brakes, dynamics

  • 21-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels
    • 5-arm aero structure
    • Black metallic
    • 265/45 R21 tures

Exterior

  • S line bumpers front, rear
    • Full paint finish
    • Radiator grille in titanium black
    • Radiator grille matte aluminium vertical slats
    • Front blades in platinum grey matte
    • Air intakes in platinum grey matte
  • Black exterior styling package plus
  • Roof rails in black

Seating and Upholstery

  • S sport front seats in Valcona leather
    • Diamond contrast stitching
    • Embossed ‘S’ on front seats
    • Integrated headrests for front seats

Interior

  • Colour interior lighting package
    • 30 selectable colours
    • 6 colour profiles
  • Sport leather steering wheel incl. shift paddles
  • Electrically adjustable steering column incl. memory
  • Headlining in black
  • Pedals and footrest in stainless steel

Options

22kW charger package: $6900

  • Increases vehicle charge capacity up to 22kW AC
  • Onboard charger up to 22kW AC
  • Audi connect charging system (up to 22kW)

22-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels: $1600

  • 6-segment spokes design
  • Black metallic
  • 265/40 R22 tyres
  • Adaptive air suspension sport

Matrix LED headlights: $3300

  • Front, rear dynamic indicators
  • Auto dynamic headlight range control
  • Motorway light
  • Dynamic light design

Virtual mirrors: $3500

  • OLED side touchscreens
  • Kerb view
  • Intersection view
  • Motorway view

Black exterior styling package: $1900 (55 e-tron)

  • Accents on Audi Singleframe
  • Trim strips on side windows
  • Side door inserts
  • Front, rear bumpers
  • Exterior mirror housings
  • Roof rails in black ($900 Sportback)

Privacy glass: $1050

Panoramic glass sunroof: $3400

Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System: $1750

  • 16 speakers
  • 15-channel amplifier
  • 705 watt output

Colours

Standard

Premium: $2300

  • Glacier white metallic
  • Chronos grey metallic
  • Manhattan grey metallic (55 e-tron)
  • Mythos black metallic
  • Plasma blue metallic
  • Ultra blue metallic (Launch Edition, Sportback)
  • Soneira red metallic
  • Daytona grey pearl effect (Launch Edition, Sportback)

Is the Audi Q8 e-tron safe?

The Q8 e-tron retains the pre-facelift model’s five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on 2019 Euro NCAP tests.

It scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupant protection, 71 per cent for vulnerable road users, and 78 per cent for safety assist.

Standard safety features include:

  • 8 airbags
    • Dual front
    • Dual front-side
    • Dual rear-side
    • Dual side curtain
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
    • Vehicle to Vehicle (5-250km/h)
    • Pedestrian, cyclist detection (5-85km/h)
    • Turn assist
  • Adaptive drive assist
    • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
    • Distance indicator
    • Traffic jam assist
    • Lane guidance assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Exit warning system
  • Front, rear parking sensors
  • 360-degree cameras
  • Collision avoidance assist (evasive steering)
  • Rear cross-traffic assist

How much does the Audi Q8 e-tron cost to run?

The Q8 e-tron is covered by Audi’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Buyers of the Q8 e-tron, like the e-tron before it, also score a six-year unlimited subscription to the Chargefox public charger network, as well as six years of complementary scheduled servicing and six years of roadside assistance.

That’s one of the best ownership programs in the business for electric vehicles, something that Mercedes-Benz has moved away from as an example. BMW offers five years of unlimited Chargefox charging with the iX.

We saw an indicated energy consumption readout of 23.4kWh/100km of a mix of city, urban and freeway driving covering around 300 kilometres. Yes that’s better than the claim, but we saw as high as 27-28kWh/100km with more stop-start urban traffic – the e-motors have to work hard to shift the weight of this thing.

Much like how we’re critical of thirsty ICE cars – these days anything over 10L/100km is too much for most non-performance or specialty products – anything over 20kWh/100km is what I would consider inefficient.

Considering the Q8 55 e-tron has a massive 114kWh (gross) battery, realistic range of under 500km is simply not good enough. Audi would have been better off keeping the battery closer to 100kWh and working harder on weight-saving and the efficiency of the electric motors to achieve similar, if not better results – that’s my two cents, anyway.

Unfortunately, we didn’t do a DC charging test to see if we could hit Audi’s claim of 170kW capacity (+20kW).

CarExpert’s Take on the Audi Q8 e-tron

Love it or hate it, I think the Audi Q8 e-tron largely does what it claims on the tin.

If you want a big Audi SUV that just happens to have an electric drivetrain, this hits the nail on the head. It drives beautifully, is extremely quiet and comfortable, and retains the company’s excellent cabin displays and ergonomics.

Despite only being a five-seater, it’s also impressively practical. It has heaps of space for adults and lanky teens in the back, and its boot is more accommodating than much newer rivals on dedicated electric platforms.

The developments to aerodynamics and battery have given it a decent amount more usable range, but haven’t really addressed this vehicle’s high energy consumption. If you’re doing largely stop-start driving this thing will be nearing 30kWh/100km which is far too high and the opposite of where an EV should be its most efficient.

If you can deal with the range and efficiency compromise, this is otherwise a genuinely luxurious SUV that happens to be powered by electricity, and is a wonderfully conventional and familiar thing to live with – plus it has an excellent aftersales program. Whether that works for you is really down to your personal tastes and priorities.

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BUY: Audi Q8 e-tron
MORE: Everything Audi Q8 e-tron




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