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Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro 2023 Review

The Audi e-tron has been updated and has gained a new name – the Audi Q8 e-tron – along with a bigger battery and a longer range; the high-tech cabin remains.

  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 e-tron charge speed
Green Car Guide Rating: 9/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro 300 kW (408PS) Launch Edition
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 306-330 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:   170 kW

Summary

  • Audi e-tron becomes the Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Bigger battery, longer range
  • High-tech cabin
  • Not the most affordable EV

Background

The Audi e-tron was one of the first large all-electric SUVs back in 2019 and it was an impressive car, but the electric driving range, at 241 miles, wasn’t quite up there with the benchmark set by Tesla. Audi has now updated the e-tron, renaming it the Q8 e-tron, and has added a bigger battery to give a longer driving range of up to 330 miles. Is this enough to keep the car competitive with rivals?

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

Design & Engineering

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron now has a 114.0 kWh lithium-ion battery (106.0 kWh net), compared to the 95 kWh battery of the previous model. There are two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear, delivering 309 Nm and 355 Nm of torque respectively, and all-wheel drive.

At 4,915mm, the Q8 e-tron is quite long, with a large 569-litre boot, or 1,637 litres with the rear seats folded. There’s also a compartment under the boot to store cables.

The dashboard looks very high-end and high tech, with lots of screens and buttons.

There are some visual changes for the new model, primarily the revised front-end styling. Other colour combinations are available rather than the grey/silver paint and dark grey wheels of our test car.

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro Driving Experience

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro certainly offers a premium driving experience. Along with most EVs, it’s quiet and refined, as well as having responsive acceleration thanks to the instantly-available torque – but it doesn’t feel like a performance car. However it’s an excellent way to cover lots of motorway miles in comfort.

On A and B-roads the Q8 e-tron’s 2,585 kg weight is evident, particularly through the corners; you certainly can’t describe the handling as agile. But the grip from the quattro system is impressive.

There’s a range of drive modes: Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Individual, Off-Road and All-Road.

The Q8 e-tron’s ride quality is good on smooth roads, but despite the high-tech suspension, you can feel potholes and poor road surfaces, particularly in Dynamic mode – again, the 2.5-tonne weight won’t help with this.

You can increase the ground clearance at the touch of a button if any mild off-roading is required.

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

As well as the Dynamic drive mode setting, there’s a Sport setting on the gear selector. There are also steering wheel-mounted paddles to adjust the level of brake regeneration.

Our test car had digital cameras (‘virtual door mirrors’) rather than traditional door mirrors. The idea is that the cameras are smaller and therefore more aerodynamic, so helping to maximise the driving range. However the cameras aren’t as good as mirrors in all situations, such as when reversing, due to their more limited field of view (although there’s also an image from a reversing camera on the central touchscreen). Also the screens on the inside of the doors that show the view from the mirrors aren’t in the natural position where you would normally view the door mirror. If you jump in a Q8 e-tron and the cameras are very badly adjusted, like our press car when it arrived, you need to tap the screen in the door panel to change the angle of view using arrows on the screen.

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

The central touchscreen has very high quality graphics, with the mapping being particularly sharp and detailed (although it can be so detailed that it’s hard to see roads amongst all the other details such as buildings). The satnav encourages you to talk to it or write your destination with your finger on a secondary screen under the main screen (you can’t select the keyboard when driving).

As well as having lots of screens, the dashboard retains quite a few buttons for key functions, which is good, but there are still a few controls that are hidden away, such as the heated steering wheel button has to be accessed via three dots on the bottom screen. And the lane departure warning system has to be switched off by selecting the Vehicle button on the Home screen, then Driver Assist, then you need to press a cog to bring up the Lane Departure Warning option. If you don’t do this, then the car can frequently take vigorous control of your steering.

One benefit of the Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro’s weight is that it has an impressive towing capacity of 1,800 kg.

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro Electric Range and Charging

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro has a combined WLTP electric range of 330 miles in Sport trim, 327 miles for S Line, 328 miles for the Black Edition, 322 miles for the Launch Edition, and 306 miles for Vorsprung. The real-world driving range of the Launch Edition during a week on test was 273 miles.

The Q8 e-tron has a maximum ultra-rapid DC charging rate of 170 kW, which should translate to a 10% to 80% charge in 31 minutes. Maximum AC charging capacity is 11 kW, although 22 kW can be specified as an option.

An interesting feature is that Audi has put charging sockets on both front wings of the Q8 e-tron (like its predecessor) – there’s a Type 2 socket on the left wing and a Type 2 and a CCS socket on the right wing, and there are even buttons that you can press that automatically open and close the charging covers.

Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Audi Q8 e-tron from Fastned:

Audi Q8 e-tron charge speed

How to charge an electric car

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

Price And Model Range

The Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro 300kW Launch Edition costs £95,085. Our test car had Daytona grey paint (£795), taking the total price to £96,595. Very unusually for an Audi press car, it had no options, presumably because the Launch Edition is already completely full of all the equipment you would need (and more), including 21-inch alloy wheels with red brake callipers, virtual door mirrors, panoramic sunroof, head up display, Assistance package with Park Assist Plus, and a 22kW on board charger.

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro is available in Sport trim, S Line, Black Edition, Launch Edition and Vorsprung.

Audi Q8 e-tronAudi Q8 e-tron

Conclusion

The Audi Q8 e-tron is a very impressive machine, offering lots of space, a well-equipped and high-tech cabin, a refined driving experience, lots of quattro grip, and, crucially, compared to the previous model, a longer driving range of 300 miles+. However the bigger battery has done nothing to help in the lightweighting department, with the car weighing 2.5 tonnes, and this means that you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want any agility in the handling department. It’s also not the most affordable of EVs. The Audi Q8 e-tron is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro 2023 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 273 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 2.8 miles/kWh
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2023/24): 2%
  • Price:   £95,085
  • Insurance group:   50
  • Power:   408 PS
  • Torque:   664 Nm
  • Max speed:   124 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   6.5 seconds
  • Weight:   2,585 kg
  • Towing capacity: 1,800 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor