Audi Q8 e-tron quattro — Q8 e-tron gets nicely updated, goes farther

By Jim Prueter

(November 6, 2023) Along with Tesla's quirky Model X and Jaguar iPace, the Audi e-tron were among the first fully electric SUVs introduced to the buying public with e-tron first arriving in the spring of 2019. Fast forward five years and these early pioneers are now surrounded with market competitors including the BMW iX, Cadillac Lyric, Mercedes EQE SUV and others.

Similar to its smaller Q4 e-tron siblings, the 2024 Q8 e-tron is now offered in a choice of two body styles: SUV and Sportback - both identical from the front doors forward with the Sportback featuring a sloping, coupe-like roofline that favors style over function, especially relative to rear-seat occupant head room and cargo space.

More of a mid-cycle refresh than radical updating for 2024, noticeable changes and improvements are nearly exclusive to improving the Q8 e-tron's driving range with a bump in battery capacity now up to 114 kWh, versus the outgoing 95 kWh a range boost of 30% resulting in 106 kWh usage capacity shifting to a new nickel cobalt aluminum cell chemistry. The range boost is also benefiting from significant aerodynamic improvements, adding active grille shutters and redesigning the underbody aero to move airflow around the wheels more efficiently.

The mechanical changes for 2024 results in more torque and reduced energy consumption and ups the highly coveted driving range from 225 miles on a single charge to estimated 285 for the standard Q9 e-tron driven here and 296 miles for the Sportback trim level. Recharging times have also been lowered with the 2024 Q8 now able to take in 170 kilowatts, up from 150 kilowatts at a DC fast-charger with the ability to charge from a near depleted 10% battery back to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, according to Audi.

Level 2 home charging, the standard 9.6-kW charger will refill the battery overnight (in a claimed 13 hours), while the optional 19.2-kW setup on our test car (an $1850 upgrade) can do it in half that time if the 240-volt charger can deliver 80 amps of current. It also adds a second charger port on the passenger's side front fender.

It's acknowledged most recharging takes place with level 2 capability at home, Q8 owners are afforded two years of unlimited Electrify America charging with their initial purchase. There's also an AC charging bundle ($1,850) with the even more useful 19.2 kW onboard charger, up to twice as fast as the standard 9.6 kW charger when used with a Level 2 plug commonly installed in owners' garages.

The Q8 e-tron is powered by a two electric motor induction AC with a combined 402 horsepower and 490 lb-ft torque powering all four wheels via a direct-drive automatic transmission. The driving quality of the Q8 is nothing short of sensationally quiet and supremely comfortable with its massive seats in our optionally equipped Prestige package ($10,000) and Launch Edition equipment ($2,750) that adds among other niceties individual contour massaging Valcona Milano leather seating with contrast colors piping and high-tech mesh anthracite inlays. To be sure, the outgoing e-tron was cosseting but the new model kicks it up to a new level of comfort and an envious place to be.

Our Prestige tester finished in optional ($595) Daytona Gray pearl with Flint Gray upholstery with orange contrast stitching, a nod to high-voltage electrical cables adds a bit more cheer to the experience.

Changes to the exterior are subtle yet intentional with the same overall silhouette a carryover yet the front fascia has been noticeably reworked with a flatter, distinctive grille and larger lower air intakes. There's also a a new Audi logo with the quartet of the three traditional-chrome Audi rings, replaced with a flat example in either white or gray finishes with identifying model branding laser-etched on the B-pillars.

As previously mentioned, the original Audi e-tron launched with little competition but those days are over with the significant number of new and worthy yet different competitors. We think Audi has done a commendable job of moving the Q8 forward with an even more appealing yet modern EV experience with quicker recharging and additional range.

Audi has always been a coveted brand with Armani-like class and character, rich, tailored styling inside and out with a refined, luxurious driving experience. Audi wants you to relax, enjoy the smooth, luxurious ride and enjoy the journey. Our verdict: Mission accomplished.

Vital Stats

Base Price: $74,4000
Price as Tested: $91,590
Powertrain: Dual electric motor combines for 402-hp, 490 lb-ft torque from 106 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack with power delivered to all four wheels via a front and rear direct-drive automatic transmission
Driving Range: 296 miles (test)
Seating: 5-passengers

Where Built: Brussels, Belgium

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety highest possible 2023 Top Safety Pick+ and highest overall five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Competes With:
Cadillac Lyric
Genesis GV60
Jaguar iPace
Lexus RZ
Mercedes-Benz EQE
Rivian R1S

Significantly lmproved driving range
Luxurious, cosseting interior
Nice improvements on an already excellent EV

Price climbs quickly with options