Saturday, 22 June 2024

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron EV delivers classy design, powerful drive Featured

Posted On Sunday, 26 May 2024 21:55 Written by
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The Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron is the luxury brand's flagship EV offering. The Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron is the luxury brand's flagship EV offering. Photo courtesy of Audi

 

Electric vehicles continue to generate news, specifically regarding how ready the public are to adopt them en masse.

But in the luxury realm of vehicles, many automakers are fully committed to making EVs a priority, and Audi is one that fits that category — planning to make all new vehicle offerings electric by 2026, and completely electrify its vehicle lineup by 2033.

At the moment, they have several EV options for sale, and I recently spent some time behind the wheel of their flagship EV — the 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron.

Improved for 2024 with a more powerful battery and longer range, improved aerodynamics, as well as some styling updates, the Q8 e-tron aims to be one of the main options for people looking to join the ranks of luxury EV ownership.

Read on for a full breakdown of what it has to offer and how well it competes in the overall EV landscape vs. rivals from BMW, Genesis, Jaguar and more.


LOOKS

The 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron has an interesting design and shape — it’s officially part of Audi’s SUV lineup, but from some angles it is so sleek that it looks more like a large car that’s just a bit higher up.

And despite having a higher Q number, it’s smaller than the Q7 SUV offering and has two rows vs. the Q7’s three rows. So smaller families may prefer the Q8, but larger ones will likely lean toward the Q7.

Whatever you want to call it, the Q8 looks amazing. Updates to the exterior design for 2024 include a sharp new grille design, updates to lighting features, and bold wheel designs. Lighting elements are also incorporated into the grille.

The design is uniquely Audi, and very much in their standout style. It’s all class, extremely eye-catching, but not gaudy and in your face or overly futuristic in nature. It’s not screaming “EV” by looks alone; it’s a nice-looking luxury car that happens to be an EV, which is really what most people want — not some off-the-wall spaceship-styled machine.

My test vehicle featured 20-inch wheels, and a range of options spans from 19 inches up to 22 inches.

There is technically some storage space in the “frunk” area under the hood, but it’s tiny and only large enough to fit your charger, so don’t plan to pack anything in there.

The Q8 e-tron features full LED headlights and taillights, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass for rear side windows and tailgate, power tailgate with hands-free release and higher trim levels upgrade to Audi’s cutting-edge Digital Matrix-design LED headlights, and soft-closing doors.

Moving inside the 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron, you’ll find Audi’s usual classy European-style interior. It’s not gaudy, but still upscale and high-class, including decorative wood trim and intricately stitched seating on the comfy leather seats (my test vehicle had gray seating with orange stitching). 

The roomy back row (which has 40/20/40 split-folding seats) features its own temperature controls and pull-down armrest/cup holders.

I loved the massaging seats up front, which had a ton of settings and options to adjust for style of massage and intensity. And honestly, why get a luxury ride like the Q8 and skip the massage option?

Four-zone automatic climate control is included, and configurable ambient lighting is also offered. Other trim touches include aluminum door sill inlays, window surrounds and roof rails. Heated rear seats are an option, as are ventilated front seats and manual sun shades for rear doors.

The vehicle is also designed to keep outside noise outside and not intrusive.

In terms of storage, the Sportback version of the Q8 e-tron features 27.2 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats, and 54.5 cubic feet with rear seats down. Those numbers move up slightly to 29 and 57 cubic feet on the non-Sportback versions.

HOW’S THE RIDE? 

Powering the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron are a pair of electric motors (one in front and one in the rear), plus a large 106 kWh lithium-ion battery, which together delivers impressive totals of 402 total horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque.

The Q8 e-tron features electronic all-wheel drive, and its 0-to-60 time in the Sportback model I tested was solid at a hair over 5 seconds. Some key rivals can get up to speed faster, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker as the differences are not extreme.

Drive modes included off-road, allroad, efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Dynamic proved to be the most fun, taking full advantage of the vehicle’s capability.

The ride in the 2024 Q8 Sportback e-tron can only be described as pure, smooth Audi power. It handles brilliantly, stops on a dime, and works great on twisty roads. This car will please driving enthusiasts, even those who normally dislike EVs. And the even sportier SQ8 e-tron should be even more fun to drive. 

Improving the ride quality on the Q8 e-tron is an adaptive air suspension that adjusts for ride height, comfort and stability. And the interior is shockingly quiet, almost like you’re in space there’s such pure silence.

Also, aerodynamics are improved with technology that creates an air curtain around the vehicle, smoothing air flow through, around and underneath it.

Towing capacity on the Q8 e-tron is a respectable 4,000 pounds.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

Diving into the tech of the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron, its infotainment system is divided into a unique two-screen system, one above and one below. This system takes time to learn, but you’ll get used to it after some practice with it.

The bottom screen (8.6 inches) is used mainly for climate controls, and the top screen (10.1 inches) features music, phone, navigation controls and more.

One thing I did not like was how hard you had to press the buttons to use the touchscreen, which hampers the experience. On the plus side, voice commands worked very well in the Q8 e-tron, so I would use those over touch commands when possible.

The vehicle is compatible with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for phone mirroring, and Bluetooth connection is also available for streaming music and audio to the car.

A wireless phone charger is well-hidden in the center console, not taking up much space.

I loved the booming Bang & Olufsen sound system, with its 16 loud and clear speakers. Music lovers will appreciate the clarity regardless of what type of music they love.

Moving on to safety systems, Audi has offered a bevy of helpful systems. In particular, the vehicle’s large head-up display was very helpful, including not only speed information but also listing the next turn for navigation.

There’s also a very cool feature that tells you when upcoming stop lights are turning red or green, and it is generally accurate within a few seconds. This type of forward-thinking feature is something I've not seen elsewhere, and can help you time your driving so you can avoid having to stop.

Other safety features include:

  • Forward collision mitigation (warns of collision and applies brakes) 
  • Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning (helpful during a lane change or reversing) 
  • Lane departure warning (alerts driver if they begin to drift)
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control with lane guidance (keeps a steady distance to the vehicle in front of you)
  • Surround-view camera system (awesome top-down view to use in tight parking situations)
  • Traffic sign recognition

There’s also an automatic parking system offered that will steer the vehicle into a parking spot with little to no driver intervention.


RANGE, CHARGING 

Range is the name of the game when you’re driving an EV, so how does the Q8 e-tron measure up?

Officially, the Q8 e-tron is listed as delivering 80 MPGe city and 83 MPGe highway, and those numbers grow to 84 and 89 MPGe with Sportback models.

Its maximum range when fully charged comes to roughly 300 miles, which is one of the best numbers you’ll find among luxury EVs. It’s beaten by the Tesla Model X in terms of maximum range, but I would argue that Tesla no longer classifies in the luxury segment, so that’s akin to comparing apples with oranges.

Reaching that 300 mile mark means that range anxiety can be something drivers of the Q8 e-tron don’t have to think about when they’re on the roadways, and that level of peace of mind is always the goal for EV drivers. It’s worth noting that this new range number is a major improvement on the numbers from past e-tron offerings, so progress is being made in a positive way. The improvements come in part via inclusion of a larger battery.

Charging is something that an EV must do well, and I was able to test the Q8 e-tron on a public charger. The vehicle went from a 30 percent charge to an 80 percent change in roughly 45 minutes.

For home charging with a Level 2 system, if you choose the optional upgrade to a 19.2-kW charging system on the Q8 e-tron, a vehicle can charge full overnight in 6.5 hours. And keep in mind that with a longer range, you won’t need to do a charge every night, and most charges will be partial (not 0 to 100 percent).

Also of note, there’s an option to add a second charging port on the other side of the vehicle, to increase flexibility when parking and charging the vehicle.


PRICE

The 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron I tested was priced at $95,990; and the base price for the Q8 e-tron starts at about $75K.

Trim levels include Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige, and all three trims offer a Sportback version and a regular version.

Compared with key rivals such as the BMW iX and Jaguar i-Pace, it’s priced competitively, and undercuts the iX pricing significantly.

Warranties are competitive, and most notable is that all electrical components get an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty. In addition, there is an overall warranty that covers four years/50,000 miles, as well as a powertrain warranty of the same length.

My only quibble is a lack of coverage for any scheduled maintenance of the Q8 e-tron, a feature some rival EVs offer.

BOTTOM LINE 

The 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron is a high-class luxury ride with classy European style inside and out, plus strong EV range and tremendous performance.  

It’s not the largest vehicle in the EV landscape, and the tech setup is a bit frustrating at times, but aside from those limitations, it delivers a tremendous driving experience in a classy package. 

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron
  • Price as tested: $95,990 
  • Best feature: Top-notch Audi drive quality, classy design
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Fans of Audi design and power who want to drive a full-on EV 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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