Audi Q8 e-tron Review: The Best Luxury Electric SUV in India?

The Audi Q8 gets the e-tron treatment. But does that make it truly ‘electric’ to drive? We head to Bangalore to test the facelifted Q8 e-tron. Now, once launched, the Q8 e-tron will be available in both regular (read the Q8 e-tron) and the Sportback coupe-style versions.

By Ishan Raghava | on September 15, 2023 Follow us on Autox Google News

The advancement in technology is rapidly transforming the EV landscape, and consequently, we are witnessing rapid developments in terms of the mechanical and range capabilities of EVs. Now, another aspect of EVs that’s evolving, albeit not as quickly, is their charging capabilities, i.e. how quickly they can achieve a full charge. Perhaps the biggest impediments to this aspect are the lack of charging infrastructure on one hand and high-capacity charging stations on the other. Now, addressing this problem will undoubtedly take time, which can be a bit problematic, considering the fact that a surge in EV sales will put immense pressure on the existing inadequate charging infrastructure. Well, while you and I can do nothing about it, we can indeed appreciate the enhancements made to existing EVs and assess if what’s claimed to make a difference really does. With this goal in mind, we headed to Bangalore to test the facelifted Q8 e-tron. Now, once launched, the Q8 e-tron will be available in both regular (read the Q8 e-tron) and the Sportback coupe-style versions. However, due to a paucity of time, we could only drive the Sportback version. 

Audi Q8 e-tron Review: New Bottle, Old Wine

Now, if you are confused about the Q8 monicker for this e-tron, well, let me explain. The original e-tron was launched in India in 2021, but now that its facelift version has come out, Audi has changed its naming policy globally, leading the new e-tron to be called the Q8 e-tron. Facelifts usually come with visual changes, and the Q8 e-tron Sportback is no exception – it comes with, well, a new face, as you get a brand new slatted grille, a new bumper, and a new design for its 20-inch ‘Aero’ alloy wheels. In profile, however, the car remains largely the same, and except for a few minor changes, so does the rear of the car with its sloping roof and lovely full-width taillight. At the front the new version of the Audi logo is quite noticeable – the previous four protruding rings have now been replaced by a homogeneous 2D-style logo, which looks familiar and yet quite different.

Audi Q8 E Tron Rear Static

It may seem that the exterior changes are minimal, but, then, as the American expression goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Similarly, even the interior changes are minimal. Yes, it gets new finishes on the dash and a different look, but fundamentally it remains the same as the earlier car, which is not a bad thing. The overall build quality is top-notch, as you’d from a top-of-the-line Audi. Another noticeable aspect of the interior is that the centre console is tilted towards the driver and has a dual touchscreen – the lower screen incorporates haptic feedback, providing a tactile response when buttons are pressed.

Also Read: Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India Says Seven New Cars, One New Motorcycle in the Next 6 Months for India

The instrument cluster is also fully digital and displays a range of information, including a brilliant full-screen map, which I really like, given its ease of use. In terms of interior room and practicality, the Sportback version, which we tested, had ample space in the front, somewhat limited space in the rear, and a smaller boot than that of the standard Q8 e-tron because of the sloping roof. Can you fit in four full-size adults? Yes, you can. What about five? Given its tapering roof and transmission tunnel, I would suggest against it.

Audi Q8 E Tron View Of Steering Console And Instrumentation

One of the standout design features of the Q8 e-tron, which shows Audi’s meticulous attention to detail, is the dual EV charging ports, strategically positioned on each side of the car. This means that regardless of the location of the EV charging plug respective to your car, you can easily access it without worrying about where to park your car. Lastly, regarding standard equipment, suffice to say that the Q8 e-tron comes fully loaded. You get a full suite of eight airbags, a lovely Bang & Olufsen sound system, a panoramic roof, front seats with heating, ventilation, and massage functions, Digital Matrix LED headlamps, and a lot more. 

Audi Q8 e-tron Review: Proof of the pudding

If you are thinking now that the most substantial changes to the Q8 e-tron must be in the powertrain department, you are absolutely right. The transformation of the e-tron into the Q8 e-tron brings along a bigger battery, which is now up to 114kWh instead of the earlier 95kWh. Similarly, its claimed range has gone up to 582km for the regular Q8 e-tron and 600km for the Sportback (both ranges are based on the WLTP cycle). The battery’s charging capability has also gone up from a maximum of 150kW to 170kW, which means a reduction in charging time if you can find a fast charger, that is. With its dual motors and all-wheel drive, the Q8 e-tron produces 402bhp and a massive 664Nm of torque, which means the e-tron can do the 0 – 100km/h sprint in just 5.6 seconds.

Also Read: 2023 Audi Q3 Sportback Review, Here's Why it's the Best Entry-Level Luxury SUV!

But how is it to drive? Well, even though I have been driving EVs for so long now, I still find the near-silence of the powerplant, as the car starts moving, a bit eery – hopefully, I’ll get used to it in the near future. The e-tron feels absolutely at home as you set off, and the first thing that impresses you is its standard-fit air suspension, which does an excellent job of filtering out bumps and broken roads. Now, as you would expect from an electric motor producing that much torque, the acceleration of the e-tron is simply fantastic. Another improvement is the steering, which now has a better feel, and while carving corners, it inspires a bit more confidence than the earlier versions. Also, the dynamics of the e-tron are very well balanced, and like many other big EVs, it doesn’t feel as heavy as it really is, especially under heavy braking and around high-speed corners. More or less, I couldn’t find any major issues to complain about.

Audi Q8 E Tron Rear Seat Space

So, is it perfect? Well, no! there are a few factors you should be aware of before making a decision of buying it. First, the range – while it may claim to have a range of 600km, I’ve found most such claims to be overly optimistic. So, in the e-tron’s case, I wouldn’t bet on it offering over 350 – 380km of range, especially in everyday driving. If you are a hypermiler trying to prove a point, well, it’s a different case altogether. Second, if you like to be chauffeured, I would suggest sticking to the standard e-tron SUV rather than opting for the Sportback – the reduced rear-seat space and boot space is more for those who like to be in the driver’s seat. Third, despite trying many times, I still haven’t got the hang of using the haptic-feedback touchscreen yet – it still feels a bit weird to me, but, then, maybe that’s just me. 

Audi Q8 e-tron Review: Verdict

In a nutshell, the upgrades to the e-tron have improved an already competitive product. You get a lovely interior, comfortable ride, good drive, and a reasonably good range on a single charge, along with a feature list and a good design. And, except for its slightly non-engaging driving experience (my only true gripe) – something that all EVs suffer from – there’s not much that I can fault the Sportback version of the Q8 e-tron with. But, then, a lot will depend on how it’ll be priced. So, if you’re looking to buy a luxury EV, you might want to wait for Audi’s latest offering.


Motor: Dual Permanent magnet synchronous

Battery: Lithium-ion,114 kWh

Transmission: Single-Speed / all-Wheel Drive

Power: 408bhp

Torque: 664NM

Charging: 0 to 100% - 22 kw - 6 hours

Range: 600km (Claimed as per WLTP CYCLE)

Price: TBA

X-Factor: An improved version of an already competent EV.

•  Bigger battery,

•  Lots of standard equipment

• Back seat and boot space is limited in the Sportback

Tags: Audi Audi Q8 e-tron Q8 e-tron

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