2024 Audi Q8 e-tron new car review

The Audi Q8 e-tron is the second coming of the German brand’s original electric SUV. It brings upgrades across the board.

Here are five things you need to know.

THERE’S A REAL LUXURY AMBIENCE

Audi’s new Q8 e-tron has a premium feel inside and out. Its styling doesn’t rock the boat but it looks good from every angle. Large 20-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlights and tail lights that run the length of the rear add some character.

Inside you are greeted by faux-leather seats that mimic the real stuff remarkably well. Front seats are heated and electronically adjustable.

All surfaces are covered with premium materials and build quality is top shelf.

There are double-decker digital displays in the centre console: one for the infotainment and another below it for the climate functions.

A fully customisable digital driver readout and head-up display add to the hi-tech feel.

Throw in a leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting, aluminium door sills and a 10-speaker stereo and there’s plenty to crow about.

IT’S A SMOOTH DRIVE

A monster 114kWh battery feeds two electric motors that deliver 300kW and 600Nm to all four wheels. The e-tron can complete the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in 6.5 seconds. Select boost mode and the time drops to just 5.6 seconds.

The motors deliver power in a linear fashion, building speed effortlessly and predictably.

The key to the Q8 e-tron’s comfort is the sophisticated air suspension, which automatically adjusts the firmness of the dampers to the road conditions. The result is a smooth commute, as the Q8 soaks up bumps and road imperfections better than most other electric cars.

Steering feels balanced and predictable and it’s nimble enough to tackle tight and twisting country roads. It’s silent too, making for an enjoyable and stress-free drive experience around town or on the open road.

IT’S NOT CHEAP

The Q8 e-tron’s circa-$168,000 drive-away price tag means it’ll remain an exclusive machine for the well heeled.

It also costs more than its main luxury rivals, which is rare for an Audi. Mercedes’ EQE 350 costs $153,000 and BMW’s iX 40xDrive $158,000.

A fully loaded Launch Edition is priced at $180,000 and ups the ante with a longer list of standard equipment such as supple Valcona leather sports seats, 30 colour options for the interior ambient lighting, stainless steel pedals and black highlights inside and out.

A Sportback version, which has a couple-like sloping roofline, costs about the same as the Launch Edition. There are options, too.

Metallic paint will set you back $2300 and a panoramic sunroof and rear privacy glass cost $3400 and $1050 respectively.

If you’re an audiophile, you can pay $1750 for a 16-speaker Bang and Olufsen 3D stereo with a subwoofer.

Audi will charge you $6900 to upgrade the vehicle’s AC charging capacity to 22kW from 7.2kW to speed up home charging.

BUT YOU GET SOME FREEBIES

Audi is backing the Q8 e-tron with a five-year/unlimited km warranty and the battery is guaranteed for eight years or 160,000km.

Six years of free scheduled servicing and six years of roadside assistance are included as standard.

It also comes with a six-year subscription to the Chargefox network of superchargers.

The Q8 e-tron can accept up to 170kW of power, which can replenish the battery from 10-80 per cent in 31 minutes.

THERE ARE COMPROMISES

The Q8 e-tron weighs more than 2500kg, which blunts the car’s practicality. Despite its massive battery the e-tron only has a claimed range of 454km.

Audi quotes consumption figures of 25.6kWh per 100km, but on our test we rarely saw that figure dip below 30kWh. This worked out to a driving range of below 400km.

This was despite the fact that we spent the majority of our time in city traffic, where electric cars are usually more efficient.

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