The e-tron was Audi’s very first All Electric offering for India in 2019. Now the e-tron makes a comeback in the Sportsback and SUV body styling and in its latest avatar as the Q8 e-tron. We head to the garden city of Bengaluru to experience these two Electric German beauties and to understand them better for our detailed review right here. Stay on reading to know if the Q8 e-tron has gotten any better than its predecessor to shake up its segment of Premium Electric cars.
Food for Thought
Q8 e-tron is the latest version of the original e-tron which was the very first all electric car from Audi. The e-tron was first revealed at the 2018 Paris Motor Show and later in 2019 went into full production. In 2022, the e-tron was renamed the Audi Q8 e-tron and the SQ8 in both regular and Sportback body styles with the facelift, as Audi is growing the e-tron battery electric vehicle line-up. In the Netherlands, the e-tron was the #2 most registered car of any kind in December 2019 and later the New Zealand government started purchasing e-trons as official government cars. In 2022, Audi announced that the facelifted e-tron will be renamed to Audi Q8 e-tron (nothing to do with the existing Audi Q8) which was revealed at 9 November 2022. The Q8 e-tron uses the Volkswagen Groups MLB EVO platform.
The Q8 e-tron both in SUV and Sportback versions look identical the same until the D Pillar and they come with typical Audi design and styling cues but in a very modern and trendy form. The Electric Vehicles have loads of road presence and draw your attention towards them instantly. The face sports the large Audi Single frame grille in inverted styling along with the latest Audi four bangles logo in 2D which looks very trendy. The Matrix LED adaptive headlights get a total rework and now sport a new design flushed into the face. The surrounds of the grille sports a thick glossy black insert while the upper portion of the grill gets a LED strip hidden inside the frame that softly projects its glow around the Audi logo and the lip of the bonnet. E-tron badging is seen on the all new bumper which also gets a wide faux skid plate along with a wide air dam.
The side profile gets its highlight with a progressive design insert on the lower part of the doors, chrome inserts around the glass area, rounded wheel arches with painted inserts on the fender lines, integrated roof-rails in brushed metal and the massive R20 wheels on special e-tron alloys. The key highlight here are the Charging ports that are electrically opening placed on both sides of the car on the fenders making life a lot easier to charge this EV no matter which way you park it. Yes and the doors also get the soft close feature.
The roofline on the Sportback slopes down and also gets a sharp bottom quarter glass while the one on the SUV version is flatter.
The rear profile gets the uniquely styled LED stop lamps that connect across the boot-lid for that edge to edge design. Q8 badging is in matt black while the bumper comes in dual-tone finish with the faux skid plate along with e-tron badging and a pair of stop reflectors. The rear glass also gets integrated slim stop lamp LED strip.
In terms of the cabin and interiors the Q8 gets typical Audi class detailing. The dashboard gets a layered styling with e-ton badging on the crash-pad area. The dash feels premium to feel made of the soft rubbery material. The key highlight of the dash are the three screens – one for the instrument cluster, one for the touch-screen AVN system and one more for the 4-zone climate control. The 4-spoke steering gets electrical adjust and feels super premium to grip, you get metal inserts and all the MFD buttons on this steering. The centre console gets the Audi aircraft like drive shifter and all the control buttons placed around it tastefully done with lots of premium metal inserts all over in the cabin. Seats get full electric adjust and the comfort level on them is also very rich.
The AVN system uses the latest generation MMI interface and comes with all the connectivity options like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, FM etc. In terms of entertainment the Q8 e-tron gets a 16 speaker 705 Watt Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound that pumps out some crisp and premium sound quality.
The rear seats offer loads of space and comfort with extra good knee, leg and shoulder room. The Sport Back even though getting a sloping roofline offers good headroom at the rear. Rear climate control gets twin zone adjust too. Three adjustable headrests and folding arm rest along with sun blinds enhance the comfort levels here. Loads of light comes in thanks to the large glass area and the huge panoramic sunroof.
Battery – Motor – Drive
Powering the Audi Q8 e-tron is a 114kWh battery that powers two motors on each axle which generates 408hp of power and 664Nm of peak torque. This Electric car can do a zero to 100kmph in just 5.6 seconds and has a claimed WLTP drive range of 600kms.
How is this Electric beast to drive?
First things first this Electric Sportback and SUV gives you all the traits of driving an Audi. Being an EV you get all the 408hp and 664Nm of torque from the word go. Loads of power and this AWD EV holds its ground brilliantly at all speeds we put it at. You also get adaptive air suspension that also raises or lowers the car as per the drive modes and speeds. Speaking of drive modes you get the usual modes to toggle between that alters the drive, power and suspension setup along with altering the feel and response of the progressive steering that the premium EV comes with.
At times you forget this is an EV as it handles like an Audi always did. The cabin feels super silent thanks to the acoustic windshield. The handling is pretty sharp too and the large 20 inch wheels do offer an up-market ride quality. The brakes offer excellent bite bringing the beat to a halt in grace and style. The paddle shifters on the steering are used for the multi level brake re-gen levels and can be used best for your single paddle drive style in city without using the brakes.
You get the 3 quattro (AWD) modes to play with which includes the auto, dynamic and off-road using the Audi Drive select. Standard mode powers only the single rear axle increasing the range in return. The Q8 e-tron also comes with some advanced selective wheel torque control using the hydraulic braking intervention that provides some agile and crisp handling overall.
The suspension feels just like any other Audi SUV, tough, strong yet offering some ironed out drive quality to the occupants. The best part is that this being an EV and the battery placed underneath the car still didn’t scrape or touch its under belly due to its overall ground clearance and its ability to raise the car further using the advanced air suspension of upto 220mm if and when needed and as low as 135mm during high speed highway runs for greater aerodynamics.
Using a 170kW DC fast charger you can charge the Q8 e-tron from 10% to 80% in just 31 mins, while home charging using the provided 22Kw AC charger takes just 4.5 hours while the 11kW charger takes 8.5 hours.
Audi Q8 e-tron goes up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar IPace, BMW IX in the Premium Electric SUV segment.
Electric vehicles and SUVs are the next big thing and the technology keeps getting better with time. The Q8 e-tron is just a fine example of how Audi keeps bettering its vehicles ahead of time and in sheer style. The Q8 e-tron offers all the virtues that you would expect from an Audi and lots more with a 600kmps drive range, safety features filled to the brim, amazing looks and styling making this a very strong option for you when it gets launched next month on August 18th.