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Audi q8 e tron 55

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron Review

It was a case of first in best dressed for the Audi e-tron SUV when it launched in 2018, but as time and technology progressed it started to show its age quickly and was in desperate need of an update. The overall driving dynamics were a highlight of that original vehicle, but it was let down with a minuscule range compared to its rivals in the BMW iX and Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV. Now, Audi has given it a mid-life refresh with a bigger battery, more tech, and flashier looks.

Never one to be outshined by its German rivals, Audi is throwing a haymaker with the updated Audi Q8 e-tron. And while it still won’t beat the others to the punch for range, straight-line speed, or flashy interior trims, our week with the car proved that Audi is at its best when it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel.

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron is a great luxury electric SUV and in the ‘Launch Edition’ specification as tested (AUD$165,900 plus on-road costs), it’s not bad value either.

RELATED: 2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive Review: The Top Electric ‘M’?

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition front gaurd
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

How Much Does the Audi Q8 55 e-tron Cost?

  • Audi Q8 55 e-tron – AUD$153,900 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron – AUD$165,900 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition – AUD$165,900 plus on-road costs

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron was launched in Australia in October 2023 and is priced from AUD$153,900 plus on-road costs. Our test car arrived in ‘Launch Edition’ specifications (AUD$165,900 plus on-roads) which adds the S line exterior styling with larger 21-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels in metallic black, a black exterior styling package with Audi rings, mirror caps, and roof rails in black.

You also gain S line interior upgrades, including the S line steering wheel with grips in perforated leather with contrasting stitching, S sport front seats with integrated head restraints in Valcona leather upholstery and diamond-patterned stitching, pedals in stainless steel and the headlining in black. Rather strangely, the entry-level AUD$153,900 Q8 e-tron doesn’t come with electric steering wheel adjustment or coloured interior ambient lighting, but you gain that by opting for the ‘Launch Edition’.

We haven’t had the chance to drive the standard model, but in keeping with the luxury electric SUV theme it makes sense to opt for the gorgeous ‘Launch Edition’ specifications as you’ll want the S line additions.

Audi q8 e tron 55 glass roof
The panoramic glass sunroof on the Audi Q8 e-tron 55 would be a worthwhile option at $3400 | Image: Audi Australia

Do You Need to Get Any Options?

The list of options list for the Audi Q8 55 e-tron is fairly tight and these are the options we’d strongly consider:

  • Matrix LED headlights: AUD$3300
  • Black exterior styling package: AUD$1900 (55 e-tron)
    • Roof rails in black (AUD$900 Sportback)
  • Privacy glass: AUD$1050
  • Panoramic glass sunroof: AUD$3400
  • Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System: AUD$1750

These are the options we’d leave behind:

  • 22kW charger package: AUD$6900
    • Increases vehicle charge capacity up to 22kW AC
    • Onboard charger up to 22kW AC
    • Audi connect charging system (up to 22kW)
  • 22-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels: AUD$1600
    • Adaptive air suspension sport
  • Virtual mirrors: AUD$3500
Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition interior
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

What’s it Like on the Inside?

Next to its cousin Porsche, Audi is making the best car interiors right now and we’re glad the brand hasn’t changed anything for the Audi Q8 e-tron 55. The layout is perfect, the materials are premium, the screens are responsive but not giant tablets, and there are buttons for the controls you need quick access to, including volume and track skip, glass defrost, parking cameras, drive modes, seat heating, and recirculation.

The Launch Edition and Sportback gain the softer Valcona leather sports seats and these are nearly worth the price of admission alone. Comfortable, supportive, and heated for cold winter mornings when you have to take the kids to soccer practice. Sadly, they’re not ventilated like those in the BMW iX.

Technology is handled by three displays: a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8.6-inch display with climate control settings and shortcuts, and finally, a 12.3-inch digital drivers display that mimics a classic analogue instrument cluster. Of course, all these screens are infinitely customisable, but you’ll probably just use CarPlay and the regular speed display.

The centre console is one large bin Tesla-style but comes with clip-in wireless phone charging and a nice place to rest your wrist above the push-pull gear selector. It’s all very comfortable and makes a lot of sense. Lounge-like to put it in one word.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition rear seats
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

Climb into the back and there’s plenty of space for your legs, head, and feet, even with a giant battery sitting underneath the floor. It makes sense when you consider it’s 4,915mm in length, 1,937mm wide, and 1,633mm tall and offers 569 litres of storage space in the boot with a further 62 litres of storage in the frunk. If you want something sportier in design, we’ve heard good things about the space in the Sportback model too (1,619mm tall, 528 litres of storage). However, you’re paying more money for a car with less space.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition rear end on road driving
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

How Does the Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Drive?

It’s nice to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle that isn’t trying to pretend it’s some futuristic transportation device. There’s no awkward start-up sound, no unnatural acceleration sound, and the standard air suspension helps the vehicle glide across the tarmac, even with the large 21-inch wheels on our car.

You can adjust said suspension by up to 76mm in ride height, but the lower you go the stiffer it gets. You’ll end up leaving it in ‘Standard’ mode where it’s been tuned for comfort over sport.

Under your right foot, you have 300kW of power and 664Nm of torque available from a dual motor set-up, but it doesn’t feel particularly fast. Some of that can be attributed to the insulation of the cabin and the wafty air suspension, but we’ll point the finger at the 2.5-tonne kerb weight.

Still, the acceleration numbers are fairly modest and the Audi Q8 e-tron 55 will complete 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds (boost mode) and 6.5 seconds in standard mode.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition quicker steering rack
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

The brand says they’ve added a quicker ratio to the steering gear for better response, but you’ll only notice the difference when you’re going through a roundabout or ramp at your local shopping centre. It doesn’t feel any better or worse than the competition and there’s no chance you’ll be driving this luxe SUV for fun so we’d take it at face value. It provides good feedback and it works so that’s a tick in our books.

In typical Audi fashion, all forty driver assistance features worked flawlessly in our testing. You have five radar sensors, five cameras, and twelve ultrasonic sensors that supply the central driver assistance controller with environmental information interpretation.

From there you have parking sensors, a 360-degree camera including a kerb view function, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist, head-up display, lane departure warning, lane change warning (side assist), rear cross-traffic assist, intersection assist, autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, collision avoidance assist, turn assist, exit warning, hold assist, tyre pressure loss indicator, and of course, Audi drive select. It’s a substantial list.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition charging port
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

What About the Range and Charging?

The Audi Q8 e-tron 55 has a much larger 114kWh battery versus its predecessor (86.5 kWh) and this means more range, now marked at 454km according to the WLTP standard (previously, 344km). You can also charge faster than before with new cell chemistry that increases the maximum DC charging rate to 170kW (+20 kW).

Charging from 10-80 per cent at this maximum rate takes approximately 31 minutes which is about average for new EVs, but by no means as quick as an 800-Volt vehicle like the Kia EV6.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition front trunk 1
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

You’ll want to do most of your charging at home and thanks to Audi’s partnership with JETCharge, that’s never been easier. The Q8 55 e-tron comes with a complimentary standard installation for charging at home using the 7.2kW AC charging system.

Audi Australia is also offering all e-tron vehicles – including the Q8 e-tron we’re reviewing here – with a comprehensive customer offer that includes a six-year complimentary subscription to the Chargefox public charging network, including unlimited charging on all ultra-rapid and selected fast and standard chargers within the Chargefox network.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition rear end
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

Man of Many’s Verdict on the Audi Q8 e-tron 55

First and foremost, this is an outstanding product. The added range, refinement to the interior, and endless list of safety features make this a great family vehicle. However, the question still begs on whether or not your family car can be an EV. Even with the added range and typical Audi efficiency, it doesn’t provide an answer for any of the road-trip charging difficulties that we’re still experiencing in Australia.

If you have a holiday house on the outskirts of Sydney (Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, North Coast, etc.) there are very few public chargers when you head off the major highways.

Knowing this, Audi has the perfect answer in the Audi Q8 60 TFSI e quattro S line that’s priced from AUD$148,375 plus on-road costs in Australia and offers 59 kilometres of all-electric range, more power, faster acceleration, a few sneaky standard-equipment upgrades that are optional in the e-tron (Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System), and a turbo-charged V6 petrol engine for when you need to get a top-up on the go.

The Audi Q8 e-tron 55 is best suited to a welded-on Audi owner who is ready to upgrade to a larger vehicle and is considering switching to electric.

Those who are cross-shopping the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4MATIC SUV (from AUD$164,900 plus on-roads) and BMW iX xDrive50 Sport (AUD$185,400 plus on-roads) won’t find the interior of the Audi as enticing or glamourous but may find the driving experience more focused and refined.

We look forward to the release of the Audi SQ8 e-tron (from AUD$173,600 plus on-road costs) to see if a spicier driving experience helps elevate this one over the competition.

Audi q8 e tron 55 launch edition front end
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition | Image: Audi Australia

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