Test Drive: Audi Q8 E-Tron Is Epitome Of Green Luxury

This story ran in a previous edition.

Audi is framing its Q8 e-tron as “Sophisticated. Seamless. Electrification.”

Now, with increased range and faster charging, the vehicles provide pampering with features such as seriously good massaging seats, while still making less of an impact on the environment. 

The maximum DC charging power has been increased from 150 kW to 170 kW, permitting recharging from 10% to 80% capacity in about 31 minutes at a Level 3 fast charger. On a Level 2 charger at home or in public, it will take between 6.5 and 13 hours, depending on what kind of charger the car is plugged into.

The EPA estimated range is 300 miles for the Q8 Sportback e-tron with ultra package, an increase of around 30% compared to the previous generation of the vehicle. 

Elegant design enhancements optimize aerodynamic functions, and incorporate Audi’s new minimalist two-dimensional logo and Singleframe projection light grille. The Q8 e-tron will also be the first Audi model to feature laser-etched model badging on the B-pillar. 

The purchase price includes two years of Electrify America DC fast charging and and one week of complimentary Audi on Demand rental benefit through the Always Audi program. So if you want to take a long road trip without worrying about stopping to charge the vehicle, you can borrow an Audi that is gasoline-powered.

Previously just called the e-tron, the Q8 designation highlights its position as the automaker’s flagship. It is available in two body styles, an SUV or Sportback. 

The Sportback provides the usability of an SUV with the styling more in line with a coupe. The Sportback is also the sportier of the two models with larger wheels available (over the SUV), S line exterior is standard, and no roof rails.

The brand also makes smaller Q4 e-tron. Audi has confirmed a new model called the Q6 e-tron, which will be an electric SUV positioned between the Q4 e-tron and Q8 e-tron models. It is expected to debut sometime during the 2023 calendar year and enter the market for the 2025 model year.

The SUV version starts at $74,400, and the more streamlined Sportback is available from $77,800. But if you want those aforementioned massaging seats, you’ll have to spring for the Prestige edition, which starts at $84,800 for SUV and $88,200 for the Sportback. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

The vehicle is just starting to arrive at dealerships, with full availability by the summer. Marketing includes social posts like this one on Instagram highlighting the vehicle's new features, like cool Digital Matrix LED headlights. 

The Q8 launch in the U.S. includes a multi-channel, fully integrated campaign spanning traditional (national and local) media, digital media, social media, CRM communications, digital out-of-home, custom content partnerships and experiential activations.

National media began running April 2 to support model introduction with journalist, author and televison host Elaine Welteroth as the global storyteller.

For the first year of production, both body styles are available in an even pricier Launch Edition, which will set you back $87,550 (SUV) and $91,950 (Sportback), respectively. 

“When we launch something new or something refreshed, we have some sort of special edition for the customers who come and get it first,” Anthony Garbis, senior manager, product planning, Audi of America, tells MediaPost. 

The Launch Editions include all-black wheels, a special flint gray interior, and a two-tone dashboard. The seats are trimmed with orange piping, “which signifies the high-voltage system in the car,” Garbis says. “And there are also new high-tech mesh inlays, which are recycled plastic bottles. So we melt down the bottle, spin it into fibers, and we make the inlay from it, which I think is super cool.”

Audi’s customer base is evenly split between men and women, with an average age of early 50s, Garbis says. Some of the sportier sedans have a higher take rate among men, he says. 

“But this one, it is for someone who comes in and they say: ‘I want an SUV, luxurious, and it happens to be electric.’ And you get in this car, and you know exactly what to do because it’s a normal car. It just happens to have a battery and electric motors,” he says. 

The automaker considers the competitive set to be BMW iX, Mercedes EQE SUV and Tesla Model X.

Next story loading loading..