2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron S Line review


As a flagship model for the brand, does the Audi Q8 E-Tron deliver the range, technology, and luxury that top-tier SUV should?

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What we love
  • Roomy interior, even with fastback exterior
  • Plush air-suspension ride
  • Impressive interior fit-out
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What we don’t
  • Powertrain feels old compared to other new EVs
  • Urban energy consumption can easily creep up
  • Camera feed exterior mirrors a terrible idea

2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron

This is the Audi Q8 E-Tron, except this particular car is an Audi Q8 Sportback E-Tron – because Audi likes to confuse and has put the body style in the middle of the model name.

It’s not the first Audi Q8, but it is the first electric Audi Q8, except it’s been sold here before, then called the Audi E-Tron. It’s also not actually an electric version of the Q8; it’s a completely separate model with the same name.

Confused yet? Understandable.

This is Audi’s flagship electric SUV in Australia, which is why it wears the hero-car Q8 prefix. And while it used to be called ‘the E-Tron’, Audi is expanding its electrified range with Q4 E-Tron and Q6 E-Tron models, and no doubt more to come in the future, hence the need for a rebrand.

As part of a midlife update for the original E-Tron, the Q8 E-Tron adopts a larger-capacity battery pack but claims less driving range. Prices are up across the range, too. So, as a flagship product, does the Q8 E-Tron successfully fly the flag for Audi’s expanding range of electric models? We spend a week behind the wheel to find out.

How much does the Audi Q8 E-Tron cost in Australia?

Audi has kept the Q8 E-Tron range relatively simple with a choice of traditional SUV or Sportback body styles. Both use the same ’55’ powertrain, a dual-motor electric platform rated at 300kW combined. If you get in quick there’s also the option of a Launch Edition model in the SUV variant.

Pricing starts from $153,900 plus on-road costs for the Q8 E-Tron 55 Quattro wagon, or $165,900 for the Q8 Sportback E-Tron 55 Quattro. The Launch Edition also carries a $165,900 price tag.

The driving range for both body shapes is a claimed 454km drawn from a 106kWh useable capacity battery. Compared to the pre-facelift E-Tron, battery capacity is up 17kWh (useable) but driving range is down by 5km on the wagon and 10km on the Sportback.

Push the pedal to the metal and the 0–100km/h sprint takes a claimed 5.6 seconds. Not blistering in the scope of high-powered electric vehicles, but rapid for a large, comfortable SUV.

The Q8 Sportback E-Tron’s standard equipment includes 21-inch alloy wheels, sports front seats, S Line exterior styling, four-zone climate control, power-adjustable steering column, and 30-colour ambient interior lighting as features that set it apart from the wagon version and its 20-inch wheels, two-zone climate, and faux-leather upholstery.

Across the range, all Q8 E-Tron models come with adaptive air suspension, LED head- and tail-lights, 10-speaker audio, a multi-screen interior with a 10.1-inch infotainment display, 8.6-inch climate panel, and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, electrically adjustable front seats with heating, a full suite of safety assist systems (detailed further down), and a six-year Chargefox subscription for charging away from home.

Key details 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron
Price $165,900 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Daytona Grey
Options Pearl Effect paint – $2300
Black exterior styling package – $1900
Virtual exterior mirrors – $3500
Price as tested $173,600 plus on-road costs
Rivals BMW iX | Mercedes-Benz EQE | Jaguar I-Pace

How much space does the Audi Q8 E-Tron have inside?

Even though the Q8 E-Tron in Sportback form is 14mm lower in overall external height, Audi claims that both SUV and wagon bodies have the same internal headroom in the front seats. The impact is more noticeable in the rear, however, where the Sportback has 20mm less interior height.

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So, is it spacious? Very. This big SUV uses its dimensions to provide plenty of occupant space and a decent level of interior storage.

The driver and front passenger have well-positioned seats that make it relatively easy to slide in without the need to step up or stoop down. There’s a broad console between front occupants and a high-set instrument panel and window line, which undoes some of the good of the lofty seating position.

The rear seats are generously proportioned, and there’s plenty of width for three across, but the sculpting of the backrest hints at this being ideally configured for two back-seat passengers rather than three. Leg and foot space are excellent, and even with the sweeping roofline overhead, there’s enough headroom for average-height adults.

The interior itself strikes what I reckon is a nice balance of traditional Audi cues while blending in a new, high-tech look and feel. The layout itself carries over from the pre-update E-Tron and presents plenty of soft-touch surfaces, leather-clad touchpoints, accurate panel gaps, and some of the most accurate seam stitching I’ve seen in a car interior.

It’s not as warm and inviting as the cloth and crystal interior of the BMW iX, nor as wow-factor-filled as the Mercedes-Benz EQE, but the Q8 E-Tron feels more business-like, a little more restrained and professional.

The Q8 E-Tron is more traditional in its controls. There’s still a start button, still a console-mounted gear selector, and still a full console where other brands have gone for open spaces and minimalist controls to reinforce the high-tech, electric-future feel.

The Sportback’s sports front seats grip nicely without being too confining, and the multiple adjustment planes make it easy to get the right seating position. Plus, easy-exit and driver’s memory functions make it quick and easy to get in and out gracefully, and recall your preferred position if you share your car with your other half.

Both the front seats and the steering wheel are heated, which makes sense at the price, but seat ventilation isn’t available – even as an option – which is disappointing. Four-zone climate control is standard in the Sportback, as is real leather versus faux-leather in the SUV. Other interior highlights include 30-colour ambient lighting (though the effect is relatively subtle, bleeding out from panel offsets rather than directly at you), S logo illuminated door sills, and a powered tailgate with the hands-free opening.

The fastback profile barely impacts boot space. With the rear seats up there is 528 litres of space available, down slightly on the 569L in the SUV version. With the seats folded (manually, rather than by power folding), there’s 1567L versus 1637L in the SUV. Boot space with the seats up is quite long, so anything that moves in transit can end up a fair stretch away.

Side pouches in the boot can hold small items, and there’s a small amount of under-floor storage in with the collapsible space-saver spare wheel. Under the bonnet, there’s a 60L space as well, ideal for things like charger cable storage or stashing less commonly used items, given the reach required to access it.

2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron
Seats Five
Boot volume 528L seats up
1567L seats folded
Length 4915mm
Width 1937mm
Height 1633mm
Wheelbase 2928mm

Does the Audi Q8 E-Tron have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

With a strong first attempt, Audi hasn’t revamped the infotainment system in the switch from E-Tron to Q8 E-Tron. Arguably, it hasn’t needed to with a 10.1-inch centre screen handling the bulk of the driver’s inputs.

From the main screen you can access wireless and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 3D digital native maps, and digital radio. There’s a 10-speaker audio system standard or the option of a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium system. Below the main screen, a secondary 8.6-inch display handles climate control and can be configured with system shortcuts, though in some menus the second screen pushes data up to the top display.

The system itself is simple to get the hang of. A pared-back interface groups menus and subsections for things like vehicle settings, driver assist functions, and media menus into logical folders. There’s also a haptic click on Audi’s own screens to confirm selections, though this disappears when using phone mirroring.

The 12.3-inch digital instrument display can be set up to show info in various ways, with full-screen in-cluster maps available (via the factory navigation only), plus a range of vehicle info, track info, or phonebook info. This makes keeping an eye on essential info simple in concert with the head-up display.

Via a paired smartphone, myAudi connected services allow owners to get real-time vehicle info like fuel level and driving range. The in-car Audi Connect Plus brings live infotainment functions like Google navigation, send-to-car navigation, weather and more. Access is complimentary for three years, with subscriptions after the included period.

You may have also spotted additional screens in each front door in the gallery of images for this car. These are fed by cameras mounted where traditional mirrors usually live (and traditional mirrors are standard) and offer adaptive viewpoints for when you change lanes or park up.

They answer a question no one asked. The field of view is limited, and moving your head doesn’t change the field of view like a normal mirror, making close-quarters manoeuvres, and even some merges, something of a guessing game. Your focal view has to change to a screen up close, not an object in the distance, and the screen that’s 90 degrees off what a mirror would show you takes time to interpret which therefore feels less safe in critical situations.

As they’re an option, I’d strongly recommend not ticking that box.

Is the Audi Q8 E-Tron a safe car?

The Q8 E-Tron carries over the five-star ANCAP rating first bestowed upon the original E-Tron with a 2019 time stamp. In line with ANCAP protocols, this rating is set to expire from 2025, owing to ANCAP’s evolving test procedures that mean older ratings may not be the equivalent of a more modern score.

The Q8 E-Tron received a 91 per cent rating for adult occupant protection and 88 per cent for child occupant protection. Vulnerable road user protection (cyclists and pedestrians) received a 71 per cent score, and safety assist systems carried a 78 per cent score.

2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2019)
Safety report Link to ANCAP report

What safety technology does the Audi Q8 E-Tron have?

The Q8 E-Tron range all carries the same level of equipment including front airbags, outboard side airbags for front and rear rows, and full-length curtain airbags. The range does not offer a centre airbag between front seat occupants or front knee airbags.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) operates between 5–85km/h for pedestrian and cyclist detection, and up to 250km/h for vehicle detection, with junction assist for intervention at speeds up to 10km/h. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and traffic jam assist, active lane assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, exit warning, and 360-degree cameras are also part of the standard safety package.

Advanced features also include collision avoidance assist, enabling steering assist based on driver input to steer away from critical situations, and rear pre-sense that can close winders and tighten the front seatbelts when a potential rear impact is detected.

On the road, Audi’s safety systems are quite fluent, with the assist systems easy to understand and work with, and no false alarms from the alert systems. The steering assist feels a little less advanced than rivals and can be slow to intervene. The Q8 E-Tron also lacks speed sign recognition found in a wide range of other vehicles.

How much does the Audi Q8 E-Tron cost to maintain?

Audi loads up big value regarding ownership costs with six years of servicing included in the purchase price, along with six years of roadside assist and six years of access to the Chargefox network for charging at over 100 locations around Australia. Audi also provides a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and an eight-year, 160,000km battery warranty.

The complimentary service program covers parts and labour as prescribed in the service schedule but doesn’t include wear on items like wiper blades, brake pads and discs, or additional items requested by the owner.

Despite being a leading insurer, our usual quote provider was unable to offer a premium for a Q8 E-Tron, but based on the older E-Tron we got a quote for a substantial $6962 per year. Though slightly less powerful, the BMW iX xDrive 40 came back with a much lower $4407 premium, and the Mercedes-Benz EQE350 SUV bridges the gap at $5324 per year.

All are comparative quotes for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Battery warranty Eight years, 160,000km
Service intervals 12 months or 30,000km
Servicing costs Complimentary (5 years)

Is the Audi Q8 E-Tron energy-efficient?

Audi claims the Q8 E-Tron Sportback can cover 454km on a single charge but uses the older NEDC test cycle figure and not the WLTP test cycle increasingly used by other brands.

Official consumption is rated at 25.6 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres, though even at this consumption rate the 106kWh battery won’t make the full range claim (with consumption and range calculated using slightly different methods). My week with the Q8 E-Tron saw it confined to mostly urban work with only a few quick sustained-speed highway runs, and the resulting consumption averaged 29.8kWh/100km.

The Audi defaults to its weakest regen level each time you start it, and doing the weekday commute saw consumption run up to the mid 30kWh/100km mark. Using the stronger regen mode made it easier to keep consumption just under the 30kWh/100km mark.

Energy efficiency 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron
Energy cons. (claimed) 25.6kWh/100km
Energy cons. (on test) 29.8kWh/100km
Battery size 106kWh
Driving range claim (NEDC) 454km
Charge time (11kW) 14h 30min
Charge time (50kW) 1h 38min (estimated 10–80%)
Charge time (170kW max rate) 31min (claimed 10–80%)

What is the Audi Q8 E-Tron like to drive?

From behind the wheel, the Audi Q8 E-Tron has a more traditional feel than you might expect from a company that prides itself on its advancement through technology. Some of that more familiar feel (like an interior laid out with traditional controls and driver interfaces) is reassuring and cements Audi’s reputation as a luxury brand, but some shows just how quickly the electric car scene moves.

While the drivetrain has been upgraded as part of the vehicle’s updates, it feels like the controlling drivetrain software has not. There’s a noticeable pause when you press the accelerator, and on inclines this can result in an alarming amount of roll-back before the big Audi moves in its intended direction.

It’s also a fairly ponderous vehicle for something claiming to lay down 300kW. Around town, it’s easy to control, moves off the line serenely, and does little to shock or surprise occupants. The problem comes when you want to move off with authority. Even in Dynamic mode, the Audi feels heavy and lacks the pinned-to-your-seat feel other EVs give.

In what I can only assume is an attempt to simplify the EV transition, there’s no one-pedal drive mode, and at each restart the car defaults to a low regenerative braking setting. As mentioned above, it’s more efficient with regen dialled up. That’s easy to do via the steering-wheel-mounted pedals.

Driving dynamics are decent but not groundbreaking. The Q8 E-Tron Sportback demonstrates unshakable traction yet doesn’t hide its prodigious weight in corners, but with light and remote steering giving a slightly detached feel.

Standard adaptive air suspension does a commendable job of riding out surface imperfections. Some cars on air suspension can feel a bit tight over smaller bumps, but the Audi system does a good job of ironing them out.

Ultimately, the Q8 E-Tron wears its large SUV heart on its sleeve. It doesn’t shrink around the driver and uses its weight to feel solid, but perhaps not as agile or nimble as some rivals.

The dual-motor powertrain offers through-the-road all-wheel drive, delivering on Audi’s hallmark Quattro AWD heritage in a more modern sense, but the idea of this particular vehicle as a sporting choice is best laid to rest.

Key details 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback 55 E-Tron
Engine Dual electric motors
Power 300kW
Torque 664Nm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Single-speed
Power-to-weight ratio 119kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2520kg
Spare tyre type Space-saver
Tow rating 1800kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 12.2m

Should I buy an Audi Q8 E-Tron?

From the perspective of driver and passenger interfaces, and interior luxury, the refreshed Q8 E-Tron range delivers. It feels plush, premium and high-tech but also offers ease of use and logical, well-thought-out controls.

Similarly, even the swoopier Sportback shape delivers plenty of space for occupants and cargo, with the missing accommodation of the larger SUV version really only likely to be missed by anyone with a penchant for buying bulky furniture or stockpiling bulk Costco runs.

If the high-tech shootout is what matters the most to you, newer rivals from Mercedes-Benz and BMW have advanced at a pace that leaves Audi behind. It’s not a bad vehicle because of it, but when comparing back-to-back, you’ll likely feel the difference in how they drive and notice the gap in advancement.

Audi’s effort is commendable, but it may force you to analyse what matters to you the most: comfort or cutting-edge.

How do I buy an Audi Q8 E-Tron – next steps?

Between the ‘regular’ Q8 E-Tron or the more sportily styled Sportback version, it can be a tough choice, and poking and prodding your way through the interior might be the deciding factor. Keep in mind the Q8 E-Tron Sportback adds some extra features like 21-inch wheels, S Line styling, leather upholstery, and four-zone climate control to make it a more enticing option.

Audi shows decent stock of the Q8 E-Tron, and you can search available cars at the Audi website, but the user experience is truly abysmal. My search for Q8 E-Trons near me showed up A3s, S3s and A8s… Miles off what I was actually interested in. To save yourself the frustration, look up Audi vehicles listed for sale at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale.

To learn more about the Q8 E-Tron range, or check for any updates on the Audi line-up since this review was published, stay up to date with our comprehensive news coverage here.

Ratings Breakdown

2024 Audi Q8 e-tron 55 Sportback

7.7/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

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Kez Casey

Kez Casey migrated from behind spare parts counters to writing about cars over ten years ago. Raised by a family of automotive workers, Kez grew up in workshops and panel shops before making the switch to reviews and road tests for The Motor Report, Drive and CarAdvice.

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