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    Audi Q8 e-tron First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Vikrant Singh

    8,617 Views
    Audi Q8 e-tron Right Front Three Quarter
    Audi Q8 e-tron Right Front Three Quarter
    Audi Q8 e-tron Right Side View
    Audi Q8 e-tron Right Side View
    Audi Q8 e-tron Right Rear Three Quarter
    Audi Q8 e-tron Right Rear Three Quarter
    Audi Q8 e-tron Left Rear Three Quarter
    Audi Q8 e-tron Left Side View

    Why would I buy it?

    • Comfortable ride and quiet cabin
    • Easy to drive with a good range
    • Looks good and is well-built

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Doesn’t feel special
    • The boot isn't the most practical

    What is it?

    Overall Score

    9 / 10

    Left Front Three Quarter

    The Audi Q8 e-tron is the facelifted version of the original e-tron introduced in India almost two years back. It now gets new lights, a new grille, and new bumpers. It also has a longer range per full charge thanks to a denser battery pack (more cells per square area). It carries the Q8 moniker this time around, indicating that it is now the top dog in Audi’s electric SUV stable. It also means that smaller, more affordable electric SUV siblings of the Q8 will be here soon. After all, Audi is bullish about its EV prospects in India; and the likes of the Q6 e-tron and the Q4 e-tron will only bolster the cause.

    That, though, is a story for another day. Today let us talk about the Q8.

    Left Side View

    The Q8 e-tron is available in two body styles: the regular flat-roof SUV and the Sportback. We think the latter looks more fetching of the two, though both check boxes for good road presence, pleasing proportions and handsome looks. The big wheels, the sporty roofline, the subtly pronounced haunches, and Audi's typical 'technical' face make the Sportback stand out more.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    How is the Audi Q8 e-tron on the inside?

    8.5 / 10

    Dashboard

    The Q8 e-tron still uses ICE architecture instead of a born electric platform. So, nothing revolutionary greets you once you step inside. The interiors are still pleasantly Audi - understated, intuitive, well put-together, comfortable and loaded with features. But the shock and awe is missing.

    Front Row Seats

    Furthermore, the e-tron gets powered front seats with memory, ventilation and massage. It gets ambient lighting, a four-zone climate control system and a panoramic sunroof. There is a 360-degree camera, electric opening and closing for the boot, and soft close for all four doors. It also gets the lovely B&O MMI system. We love its positive haptic feedback in particular. As with every new Audi, the Q8 e-tron also gets the virtual cockpit.

    Instrument Cluster

    The new e-tron might carry the Q8 name, but it is smaller than its ICE-powered namesake. It sits on a smaller wheelbase, it is narrower, and it is not as high as the latter either. But, it is not cramped for space on the inside. There is decent knee room, one can get three adults in the back comfortably and the sloping roof of the Sportback isn't an issue for the average-sized Indian either. Plus, you settle deep in the seat. The rear-seat’s back angle is well judged - it is not too upright or reclined. And the seats have enough bolstering in the right places to support and pamper you.

    Rear Seats

    Taller occupants might not share my enthusiasm, for they might struggle with the headroom on the Sportback. They might also find the rear seat bottom lacking thigh support because being a BEV based on an ICE platform, the e-tron does run a higher floor height, which brings the seat closer to the floor. The battery pack also limits luggage space. The access to the boot is good; it is wide and tall. But, the high floor takes away from its practicality somewhat.

    Open Boot/Trunk

    Is the Audi Q8 e-tron nice to drive?

    9 / 10

    It is not just nice; it is easy and quick.

    The Audi Q8 e-tron comes with a 114kwh battery pack. This is a step up from the older e-tron. The battery then powers a pair of motors driving each of the axles. Hence, Quattro. It does this via a single-speed automatic. The output figures are impressive. The combined output for the motors is over 400bhp, and the torque at hand is almost 670Nm. No wonder, even with over 2.5 tonne of weight to haul around, the Q8 e-tron sprints from 0-100kmph in just 5.6 seconds! And it does so silently.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    But, no one will set drag strips on fire every time they roll out of their garage and make their way to work. For those undemanding, stress-free and comfortable everyday commutes, good visibility will be a boon. As will the light and quick steering. Plus, it does not take any effort to get the e-tron to motor around as briskly as traffic would permit. Not surprisingly, the Q8 e-tron feels easy, quiet, and effortless.

    It doesn't lose its easy demeanour even when the roads get difficult. The ride - courtesy of the air springs and the multi-link layout for the suspension - is plush and flat. As a result, the occupants do not get thrown around from side to side, and the SUV also does not wallow, roll, or pitch excessively. The body control - particularly over undulating and broken roads or missed speed-breakers - remains taut. The only time you can notice its body moving is when its nose rises to the sky under the pedal-to-the-metal (or carpet, in this case), flat-out acceleration.

    Left Side View

    The latter can get quite addictive. And one must forewarn fellow passengers before ‘stepping on it' because if caught unawares, it can lead to minor whiplash. But even when not ‘going for it’, the e-tron gets to 100kmph in a hurry with the laziest of throttle inputs. And you don't notice it because it seems like you are only doing 60. The quiet cabin, the flat body control, and the lack of effort in getting it going leave you with that impression. Plus, the light, quick and accurate steering takes the fatigue and unpredictability out of the picture.

    The Q8 e-tron is a heavy car, nonetheless. It weighs over 2.5 tonnes. So it does not feel light or lithe or greatly engaging around a series of bends. It also doesn't feel ponderous; just a little reluctant to change directions quickly.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Should you buy the Audi Q8 e-tron?

    9 / 10

    Think of the Q8 e-tron as a no-brainer purchase option. If you are looking for a luxury EV, you want the bells and whistles, a pampering cabin, a comfy ride, and at least a week-long range because it is an EV. Thanks to the denser battery pack, Audi claims the Sportback can now go for 600km on a single charge!

    Left Front Three Quarter

    So yes, the Q8 e-tron delivers on all these fronts. The only thing it isn't is breathtaking. It is good-looking, well executed on the inside, and loaded with tech, but it is exactly what you expect. It lacks that ‘wow’ factor we are slowly but surely becoming accustomed to when it comes to new-age luxury EVs.

    Photography by Kapil Angane

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