Looking to set a tentative foot into this new EV future? The Audi Q8 e-tron is possibly the safest stepping stone currently on the market.
Audi has had a confusing few months rebranding their lineup of cars, and their quest to confuse us further continues at pace with the new Q8 e-tron.
Though it shares the same name, it has nothing associated with the existing internal combustion (ICE) platform Q8. Rather, this is a heavy facelift of its first EV attempt, the e-tron SUV, introduced back in 2019.
The Q8 e-tron may confuse some even more, as there is barely anything on the car that screams about futuristic electric propulsion; it just quietly gets on with its business and marches to the beat of its own drum.
Which is why it’s one of the nicer EV offerings available on the market today.
Sharp Dressed Man
While it does look marginally similar to the original e-tron SUV, the new Q8 e-tron is bigger and wider. Probably easier to think of it as a rival to Mercedes’ EQS SUV and BMW’s “polarising” iX.
Let’s start with the looks. Next to its German peers, this Audi looks like a model on the runway. It’s got the proportions just right; the front grille now effortlessly merges into those mesmerizing headlights, and the rear showcases the obligatory full-width light bar.
For that extra sprinkle of style, you can opt for the Sportback version. Personally, the Sportback, despite its coupe-like ambition, comes off a bit gawky. My money’s on the SUV version, and hey, you get more boot space too (more later on).
Audi cars always exude a certain degree of sleekness, and the Q8 e-tron doesn’t disappoint in that department. You look just as home on the golf course as you do in the heart of the financial district.
Pretty’s On The Inside
Step inside, and you’ll find yourself in typical Audi territory – it’s all about premium quality, solid construction, and impeccable design. No extravagant accents or buttons in odd places, just a well-thought-out space with everything logically laid out; a rarer find in the world of cars today.
However, the centre console, while it does look cool, feels like some space has been squandered there. The gear shifter doesn’t move, but there’s a button on the handle that you twiddle with your thumb to select drive or reverse. It works, but there’s a nagging feeling that something more intuitive could have been designed.
And the cubby with the cupholders? It’s deep, but load it up, and you’ll find your items escaping onto the seats.
Rear passenger space is great, especially in the SUV variant with the higher roofline, providing ample headroom.
But, if you’re travelling with three adults, that middle passenger might not be thrilled with the legroom, thanks to the large centre console.
As for cargo, the Q8 e-tron boasts a generous 569 litres (528 litres in the Sportback version) with the seats up and expands to 1,637 litres (or 1,567) with them down, more than enough for the weekend shop plus some extra goodies. There’s even a clever 62-litre frunk, perfect for hiding charge cables and odds and ends.
Audi designed the Q8 e-tron well in this regard, maintaining all of the brand’s quintessential functionality without alienating customers with over-the-top innovation which we’ve come to see in other manufacturers.
On the roads, the Q8 e-tron is smooth – from the steering to the pedals, everything feels substantial. Even the brakes, though initially firm, transition smoothly between regenerative and disc braking.
Audi boasts about the regen capabilities during braking, and it’s clear they’ve engineered it well. It’s an electric vehicle that doesn’t scream “I’m electric,” which is a welcome change.
On the flip side, it’s easy to get carried away, forgetting you’re in an electric car and not a gas-guzzling machine. Mind you, this is a 2,500kg+ car that you’ll never throw around with intent; it’s a waft-express that’s extremely comfy, isolating you from the hardships of the outside world.
Parking can feel a bit tricky due to the lack of creep when reversing, but the array of sensors and cameras on hand work well to keep everything around you in view.
When it comes to power, you have a few options. The 50 setup offers 250kW (335hp) and 664Nm of torque, completing 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds. The 55 model, which is the one I’ve reviewed, kicks it up with 300kW (402hp), shaving four-tenths off the century sprint. Keep your foot down, with both variants capable of rocketing you up to 200km/h.
Both have e-motors on the front and rear axles for all-wheel drive. It’s no Land Rover, but it has enough traction to keep you steady on tricky terrain.
As for range, the 50 version comes with a 95kWh battery and a claimed range of up to 500km. The 55 gets a larger 114kWh battery, allowing it to achieve up to 584km.
I recently did an efficiency challenge with the Q8 e-tron, and the best rating I’ve achieved was 12.2kWh/100km. In normal human terms, this equates to a staggering 868km of range. But, in order to get this kind of results, one needs to turn the aircon off and drive ridiculously slow everywhere, so it’s not realistic in the slightest.
With regular city driving (and the refreshing blast of cool air), this number jumps to an average of 23kWh/100km, giving me an estimated 495km of range; more in line with what Audi claims. Still, that’s more than enough for the weekly charge cycle, and range anxiety never felt like a throbbing problem as I went about my day.
Driving the Q8 e-tron makes you feel dignified, and even those who haven’t driven an EV before will find the learning curve a relative breeze, a big plus point.
Easy Like Sunday Morning
The Q8 e-tron might not have undergone a profound facelift, but it offers a smooth transition into the electric world. It checks all the boxes for Audi’s premium quality and solid design, without the need for flashy gimmicks. Yes, it’s heavy and comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s a luxury tool for those who value refinement and comfort in their grand tourer.
Audi’s made a strong case for itself in the electric luxury car segment, and for those with deep pockets, it’s an easy and refined choice.
Audi Q8 e-tron Advanced 55 quattro
Engine: Two Permanent Synchronous Motors
Power: 300kW (402bhp)
Gearbox: Two-stage planetary gearbox with single gear (A)
0-100km/h: 5.6 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 200km/h
Battery Capacity: 114 kWh
Drive Range: 584 km (claimed)
Energy Consumption: 19.5 kWh/100km (claimed)
Price: S$559,952 with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Audi Singapore
Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)