Audi’s electric models don’t visually jump out as radical EV designs. True to form, the Q8 e-tron looks at first glance like a petrol or diesel SUV. It’s a conservative design approach that clearly pays off, for the Q8 e-tron is a handsome, well-proportioned SUV. Alternatively, the Q8 e-tron Sportback offers a sportier, coupé-like profile with very little sacrifice in rear seat headroom, along with better aero performance. Closer inspection reveals the new 2D Audi badge on the grille, which features ‘self-sealing’ cooling slots for improved aero efficiency. A new lighting strip between the headlights is another update, along with new bumper and new alloy wheel designs. Overall, the aerodynamic efficiency of the SUV improves from 0.28 to 0.26 Cd, while the smooth shape of the Sportback sees a further improvement to 0.24 Cd. Because less drag means better range, these small changes bring significant benefits.


Compared with their predecessors, the new Q8 e-tron and Sportback boast improved battery capacities and more efficient electric motors. Two versions are available; the Q8 50 e-tron comes with an 89kWh battery and up to 340PS in boost mode, giving a range of up to 281 miles for the SUV (290 miles for the Sportback). Move up to the Q8 55 e-tron and the battery capacity jumps to 106kWh, with peak power up to 408PS in boost mode and a 0-62mph time of just 5.6 seconds. Range for the 55 models improves to 330 miles for the SUV and up to 343 miles for the Sportback. The Q8 50 e-tron models can be charged at up to 150kW, while the 55 improves this to 170kW. Topping up from 10-80% can realistically be achieved in around half an hour at these rates. Additional changes include faster steering ratio, retuned air spring suspension and revised stability control and traction control, for a sportier handling set up.


All Q8 e-tron models come with plenty of equipment as standard, including Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital display, plus two central touchscreens to control infotainment, navigation and climate settings via the MMI interface. The entry-level Sport trim includes heated front seats, leather upholstery, two-zone climate control, power-folding door mirrors, cruise control and a powered tailgate. DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, two USB ports and a 10-speaker stereo plus subwoofer also come as standard. Move up to the S Line, Black and top of the range Vorsprung trim levels and you’ll enjoy increasingly lavish specifications, including the sensational digital matrix LED headlights with their projected ‘orientation light’ chevrons to keep you centred in your lane at night.


Lane departure warning, camera-based traffic sign recognition, rear-view camera and parking system with 360 sensors come as standard on the Q8 e-tron, while the optional Tour pack brings even more safety features.