Read Caroline’s Audi Q8 e-tron review for everything you need to know about buying Audi’s flagship luxury electric SUV in Ireland.

The Audi Q8 e-tron has a little bit of history in the Irish market. Back in 2019, Audi brought the first e-tron SUV to Ireland. It was big news at the time because it was the brand’s first ever electric model.

Since then the e-tron family has expanded to include the Audi Q4 e-tron and the e-tron GT.

Now Audi’s flagship electric luxury SUV gets a little more naming distinction, having been renamed in 2023 as the Audi Q8 e-tron SUV.

It’s a bit more than your average facelift though, with the battery packs now getting increased capacity and more range, higher charging speeds and even some updates to the suspension, steering and other technical parts.

A timely update as the Q8 e-tron faces stiff competition from newcomers like the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and the BMW iX. Positioned in the premium side of the market, the new Q8-etron goes on sale from an on the road price of €88,400.

Let’s take a closer look!

The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes
The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The Audi Q8 e-tron has an impressive presence. It still carries much of the chiselled look of a traditional fuel-powered SUV and is very pleasing to the eye, particularly finished in a classic Audi paint finish like Daytona Grey. At the front, the Audi ‘Singleframe’ grille is now bigger than before and framed by slimmer, matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators. The Q8 e-tron also gets the brand’s new logo with a flatter and more two-dimensional design.

There are three trim lines for Ireland: Advance, Sport and S Line. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 19- to 21-inch, which give the Q8 e-tron a sporty, performance stance. Audi Q8 e-tron is now written on the B pillar to add even more prestige. S Line models get sportier bumpers and other trim elements for a more dynamic look. At the back there is a full width light bar and a new Q8 badge. The Q8 e-tron definitely has kerb appeal and is probably the best-looking among rivals. Audi’s more discreet approach to designing electric vehicles is certainly a success and should go down well among the customer base. The Q8 e-tron is also available as a Sportback with a sleeker coupé-like roofline towards the rear of the vehicle.

Interior

Not much has changed inside with just a few new cabin materials like open-pore wood. To be honest, it still looks great with plenty of cool digital tech on board. The cabin fit and finish is excellent with leather upholstery as standard. There is even an Audi Sport package that adds some lovely red stitching to the seats and steering wheel, and red trimmed seatbelts. The Audi virtual cockpit displays information to the driver perfectly. There is also the same 10-inch touchscreen as in the previous e-tron SUV with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, voice control and route planner for navigation and charging stops. A separate touch panel underneath controls ventilation. It looks great but is positioned quite far down making it a bit awkward to use while driving. However haptic feedback at least makes it satisfying enough to use.

Other equipment features include heated front seats with lumbar support and wireless smartphone charging.

The cabin of the Audi Q8 e-tron
The cabin of the Audi Q8 e-tron

Practicality

The Q8 e-tron SUV is a spacious and roomy family SUV. It’s noticeably bigger inside than the more compact Audi Q4 e-tron. There’s plenty of legroom and headroom in the second row, with a few USB-C ports for passengers, an armrest and air vents (there is the option to spec separate climate control for rear passengers). It offers one of the biggest boots in the class at 569 litres with handy underfloor storage and switches to let down the rear seats. There’s also an additional 62 litres under the bonnet, which is handy for storing charging cables.

Battery

There are two battery options: the Q8 e-tron 50 with a 95kWh battery and up to 484 kilometres of range (WLTP) and the Q8 e-tron 55 with a 114kWh battery and up to 573 kilometres of range (WLTP), depending on model.

On test was the Q8 e-tron 50 S-Line with a range of up to 452 kilometres (WLTP). In real world driving my consumption over a week averaged at 28.4 kWh per 100 kilometres, with the range working out at closer to 310 kilometres on a full battery charge.

The Q8 e-tron has more range than before on a single charge
The Q8 e-tron has more range than before on a single charge

Driving

There is plenty of power on offer with even the Q8 e-tron 50 putting out 340hp and 540Nm of torque, with a 0-100km/h time of just 6 seconds. The e-tron 55 ups power to 408hp while the high performance SQ8 e-tron model has 503hp and can do the 0-100 sprint in just 4.5 seconds. Not bad for an SUV that weighs close to 2.5 tonnes!

On the road the Q8 e-tron offers high levels of comfort and refinement on standard fit air suspension with controlled damping. The electric all wheel drive system delivers plenty of grip and the ride height can be adjusted, with a maximum towing capacity of 1800kg. There are also several different driving modes via Audi Drive Select and regenerative braking that can be adjusted from paddles behind the steering wheel. It handles the road well, feeling smooth and controlled. Audi has made some tweaks to the steering to make it more direct and also adjusted the ESC to allow more leeway in cornering. It’s not one that encourages you to drive quickly but it’s still very capable. Improved aerodynamics, more efficient rear axle motors and changes to the battery cell chemistry and battery management system have increased the range of both the e-tron 50 and 55. It’s certainly an improvement but efficiency is not the Q8 e-tron’s strong point with quite high consumption seen during my winter test.

Charging

DC fast charging is up to 150kW for the e-tron 50 and up to 170kW for the e-tron 55, charging from 10-80% in around 28 mins for the 50 and 31 minutes for the 55. Audi says the charging curve now runs at a high level for a very long time, allowing for more rapid charging. 11kW AC charging comes as standard with the option to upgrade to 22kW.

The Q8 e-tron is a very spacious SUV
The Q8 e-tron is a very spacious SUV

Pricing

The Q8 e-tron 50 with a 95kWh battery is available from about €88,400 on the road and from about €98,900 for the Q8 e-tron 55 with a 114kWh battery. The Q8 e-tron 50 S-Line on test has an on the road price of €97,895. The high performance SQ8 is available from €123,000.

Verdict

The Audi Q8 e-tron gets a bit more than your average nip and tuck. Improvements to the batteries mean that buyers can now enjoy a bit more range between battery charges. The Q8 e-tron still feels competitive beside newcomers like the EQE SUV and is overall a really good all-rounder. It is hugely spacious inside, with an excellent cabin and typical Audi build quality. Efficiency is still not its strong point but large SUVs like this were never the most efficient vehicles on the road so nothing has really changed there in the switch to electric. Still if you’re looking for a comfortable and prestigious electric SUV, this Audi Q8 e-tron is an even better buy than before.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Audi Q8 e-tron can still be high on the shopping lists of luxury buyers
The Audi Q8 e-tron can still be high on the shopping lists of luxury buyers