2024 Audi Q8 Sportback S Line e-tron Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Audi, Automotive, Electric Vehicle, SUV, Test Drives

The electrification of automobiles has kicked into higher gears as luxury brands like Audi introduce electrified variations of well-respected SUVs. As such, Audi has a new Q8 Sportback e-tron, which plays on all of what we like about the original gas-powered Q8 but does something special to the electric version with a Sportback design that features a sloping rear hatch.

While the Audi Q8 e-tron was already the quintessential electric vehicle (EV) version of the gas-powered Q8 and an update to the e-tron SUVs of the past, the Q8 Sportback e-tron brings back a unique design with a play on coupe-like looks. Having an all-electric platform, the Q8 Sportback e-tron brings forward the updated form of the outgoing e-tron SUV as it now proudly wears the Q8 badge, signifying its rightful place in the lineup alongside its gas-powered Q8 sibling.

Performance and Driving Character

The new Audi Q8 e-tron class of EV SUVs offers a choice of two powertrain setups, one being my test vehicle’s Quattro all-wheel-drive dual motor collaboration that serves up to 402 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque using boost mode, or a tri-motor setup in the SQ8 e-tron offering up to 496 horsepower and 717 lb-ft of torque using its boost mode.

The powertrain of my Q8 Sportback e-tron is respectable in its power output but tends to lay the power down in a surprisingly soft manner, one that’s very different from most other new EVs that are north of 400 horsepower. I would even go as far as to say the power output feels lacking at times, especially when the gear indicator is in the normal Drive setting, and the drive modes are left to Automatic, Comfort, and Efficient. In such modes there is no offering of the ‘boost mode’, which momentarily adds extra power. Otherwise, you’re left with just under 400 horsepower to work with, and it feels underwhelming with the soft application of power even if you floor the throttle.

While the new Q8 Sportback e-tron has improved aero, better motors, and a more power-dense 114-kWh battery pack over the outgoing model, there’s still some to be desired in its overall power output, in my opinion, when you compare it to other new EV SUVs. Zero to 60 mph takes place in 5.2 seconds, which is decent for such a class of vehicle.

Overall, the handling is excellent for an EV SUV, especially one carrying around nearly 5,800 pounds. The ride quality isn’t as good as I thought it would be as the Q8 Sportback e-tron seems to suffer from a teeter-totter effect of the front suspension rebounding out of sync with the rear, which feels like there’s a pogo stick effect up front at times. Such a sensation isn’t mitigated by placing the vehicle into the supposedly ‘aggressive’ Dynamic mode, which lowers the ride height via the air suspension and tightens up the dampers slightly.

Despite the shortcomings of the overall ride quality, there’s an appreciation for the ease of drivability in the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron, in addition to its welcomed improvements for the drivetrain. Even the braking feel is excellent, as there’s no noticeable transition from the use of the braking regen of the motors to the use of the friction brakes.

Electric Consumption and Efficiency

The revised motors and battery capacity in the new Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron deliver better charging performance and a range that’s estimated at 296 miles. In my test, the range came up a bit short of the estimate where I got about 245 miles, leaving about 10 miles of range left on the indicator, but that was in the cooler Florida weather with temps dipping into the lower 40s and 50s. I attribute the shorter range to the use of the heater and heated seats, in addition to the cooler weather’s effect on the battery.

For charging, the new battery is said to enable a 170-kW peak charge rate using a DC fast charger, which was about 160-kW sustained when I used a local Electrify America 350-kW charging station. I was, however, impressed with the charge rate staying above 150-kW and giving me a rather quick charge up to 80% from about 35% taking under 25 minutes. The Q8 Sportback e-tron has the ability to charge from a 5% state of charge up to 80% in 33 minutes using a DC fast charger (350-kW).

Overall, the EPA estimates of 84 MPGe city, 90 MPGe highway, and 87 MPGe combined are attainable in the real world.

Interior and Technology

In the tradition of Audi vehicles, the Q8 Sportback e-tron brings most of what you expect to the table directly from its gas-powered Q8 sibling but with a much quieter cabin. Audi gives us the dual touchscreen setup with haptic feedback, along with a tactile sound and feel to most of the controls and buttons. The infotainment system has a learning curve that most will have to overcome before the setup becomes second nature, as does getting used to pressing the onscreen buttons a little harder than you would normally think for them to register. There’s also the integration of wireless (or USB-connected) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The digital instrument cluster is the latest iteration of Audi’s long-lived Virtual Cockpit with familiar customization options. Adding to the advanced digital flare that you expect out of Audi, the LED lighting is rather advanced in the configurable interior LED ambient lighting, the flowing LED taillights, and the LED headlights that have configurable animated displays upon turning the vehicle on and shutting it off.

The seating areas of the Q8 Sportback e-tron have a good amount of space but also seem like they are slightly smaller than what you find in the gas-powered Q8. The front seats feature heating, ventilation, and back-area massaging functions. The rear seating areas have two-zone climate controls, and the outboard seats in my loaded-up Prestige package test vehicle have heating.


All the expected active safety features are bundled up on the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron with the option of adding in rear side airbags. Otherwise, you get blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning, lane departure warning, lane centering, forward collision warning and mitigation/emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera system with 3D walk-around angles.


The Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron isn’t exactly cheap but as an electrified luxury SUV, it’s positioned well for the collective of its parts and unique styling, starting at the price of $77,800 before any fees or options. My loaded-up test vehicle with the Prestige package and black optic package comes to a price of $92,390, which includes a $1,195 destination charge.


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