Is Audi’s newest all-electric super SUV worth the buzz? We got a first drive of Audi’s brand new Q8 e-tron Sportback and here is our verdict.
Let’s put the performance figures of this e-SUV right here to add some context. A battery of 114 kWh pumping out 664 nM of torque and claiming a 0-100kmph sprint in a very impressive 5.6 seconds. These figures have the makings of a super SUV, but, in this case, it sits under Audi’s electric vehicle portfolio – explaining the e-tron tag.
What’s new with the Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback
Now we are already familiar with the ICE versions of Audi’s Q7 and Q8 SUVs. We test-drove the brand new Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback – a non-Sportback version is released too – on the picturesque highways of Karnataka. For starters, there are some significant design changes that are truly impressive. The German carmaker has introduced a brand new 2-d, flat logo on the front grille, swapping out the classic 3-d logo. The four rings appear on one flat surface, which is a nice refreshed look, accentuated by a new projection light. The front grille has also been completely reimagined from its predecessors. On the side, the Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback sees a pop of colour with the red brake callipers on the 20-inch glossy alloy wheels and black door inlays.
One notion that the e-tron portfolio has been consistently promoting is that electric cars can be performance-driven too. We can certainly vouch for that as the Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback performs spectacularly on the road, and proves to be delightfully punchy and torquey. The burst of power that the accelerator ignites is, however, deceiving as the cabin is eerily silent. It handles the sinewy country roads with effortless ease.
Audi’s suspension game is strong in all its cars. We ventured onto a rough, rocky patch, testing out the off-road drive mode and the adaptive air suspension performed well, as expected.
The Q8 e-tron Sportback comes with one of the most (if not the most) powerful EV batteries in the market at 114 kWH. This is a significant jump from the standard e-tron battery at 95 kWh. The manufacturer claims a range of 600km on a single charge. Interesting that the manufacturer has put charging outlets on both sides of the car, making it easy to plug it in, irrespective of parking orientation. DC charging takes the car from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in an impressive 31 minutes. AC charging can take anywhere between 4.5 and 8.5 hours.
In terms of interiors and cabin comfort, Audi has largely stuck to the standard, with no major introductions. The infotainment system and Audi Virtual Cockpit are familiar interfaces and perform without glitches. We particularly enjoyed turning on the range mode on the Virtual Cockpit for detailed insights on my battery, range, and regeneration. We must confess, though, that the 3-D Bang & Olufsen sound system left me a bit underwhelmed.
For customers seeking that element of bespoke, the manufacturers will give buyers a range of customisation options such as 48 exterior colours, eight interior leather colours, 11 stitching colours, two exclusive leather packages and seat customisation.
The Q8 e-tron Sportback has got to be one of the best-performing electric SUVs we’ve driven lately. While there’s a battery and not an engine under the hood, this car performs like a beast. And Audi’s cabin comfort and tech specs ensure that the drive is as luxe as possible.
This probably heralds the start of a larger trend of ultra-performing electric SUVs in India.