Once the original e-tron, the Audi Q8 has evolved into a refreshed and more modern electric SUV. Not simply an updated name to reflect its expanded EV range, the 2024 edition is both sleek and sporty.
To be offered in three variants locally; the 55 Sportback, 55 Wagon and 55 Launch Edition, it’s the latter we’re testing here. New bumpers, headlights, and wheel design headline an exterior that features a bold and aggressive front end.
A prominent grille and sharp character lines give it a muscular stance thanks to its S-Line styling package, kicking off with gorgeous 22-inch Gloss Black alloy wheels. Everything else on the car is blacked out to match.
The Q8 e-tron also features a sloping roofline and a prominent spoiler that adds to its aerodynamic profile. Inside, it’s equally impressive, with a spacious and luxurious cabin that features impeccable build quality and advanced technology.
For the most part, the materials used throughout the Q8 e-tron are of high quality, but not everywhere. The lower door cards for example, feature fake stitching, while there’s a leatherette finish on parts of the dashboard.
In a car that’s priced at just over $165,000, it makes for a less premium feel. Nevertheless, the Audi Q8 e-tron doesn’t disappoint when it comes to comfort and support, as the seats are ergonomically designed to suit a multitude of diverse occupants.
The S-Line diamond stitched sports seats that are only available in the Launch Edition are up there with the most comfortable we’ve ever experienced. This variant also grabs S-Line kick plates and a sports steering wheel.
Ahead of the driver is a phenomenal 12.3-inch digital cluster that allows for full navigation integration and is paired with an equally impressive head-up display. A 10.1-inch crystal clear and very responsive touchscreen infotainment system accompanies it.
This controls DAB+ digital radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a host of other functions. Just below it is a smaller 8.6-inch screen that provides access to climate functions. It’s quite annoying to operate while driving.
That’s because you invariably find yourself looking away to adjust fan speed and temperature. We get the move towards a simplistic dash design, but as we said in our S8 review, real knobs work better.
“Unique” functionality continues with the weird transmission controller. On the practicality front though, the Q8 e-tron has large door bins, wireless phone charging and cupholders bigger enough for your XL café latte.
As you move to the second row, you soon realise that this car was designed for two occupants on the outboard seats, rather than three across, because there’s heaps of leg and head room for both passengers.
Anyone in the middle will find it difficult to get comfortable due to the sudden rise in the seat base and the transmission tunnel that eats into leg room. There are two USB-C ports and a 12-volt socket back there though, along with air conditioning vents.
The 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition comes with a 62-litre front-trunk (frunk) and a 569-litre boot, that also features netted pockets in the cargo area. If that’s not enough, you can pull two levers to lower the second row for 1,637-litres of space.
The Q8 e-tron is powered by a 114kWh battery, with two electric motors front and rear, which allows for all wheel traction and a total power output of 300kW and 664Nm of torque. All this translates to a sprint to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds.
To cope with the sheer weight of this behemoth, Audi has made adjustments to the steering to make the Q8 a bit sharper and pointier in the front end. This means a 2500kg SUV at times feels as nimble as its diminutive A3 sibling.
Don’t get too carried away in those corners though, as the front end will get away from you if you dare to push it that far. It’s an exhilarating driving experience from a car with incredible traction. As for ride comfort, the Audi Q8 e-tron 55 does not disappoint.
Thanks to its air suspension, it offers an incredibly undisturbed driving experience as it soaks up every bump in the road. Like all electric cars, there is an eerie silence due to the loss of the internal combustion engine.
There are five different drive modes too, but they all feel a little same-same. That aside, the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition features a good array of safety tech, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.
A 360-degree surround-view monitor provides parking guidance, while you’ll also find autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and a number of other safety features.
On the range front, the Q8 is a little disappointing, and was only able to achieve 450km in real world testing. That’s a fair way from something like BMW’s iX, where we were able to manage 580km on a full charge.
Hooked up for go juice on a DC fast charger, you can achieve 80 per cent of battery fullness in around 30 minutes (from 10 per cent), while a 7kWh wall box will take around 17 hours to achieve the same result.
Easily the most aggressive looking electric SUV in its class thanks to its sleek and sporty design, the Q8 e-tron rides incredibly well, alongside impressive handling. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though, and that’s thanks to some poor interior trim materials.
It’s a good package, but the price tag provides a bit of a sting in the tail, as does it’s “less than its rivals” EV range. for the Q8 e-tron. Regardless, it’s certainly well worth a look, particularly if you’re a fan of the four rings.
It’s backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with further information on the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition available on the car maker’s Australian website, or from your local dealership. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Audi Australia for review purposes.