Flag Bearer

by Petrol Mum
Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition Soneira red

This is the new Audi Q8 e-tron and it replaces the Audi e-tron SUV and takes its position as the new flagship SUV within Audi’s electric portfolio. The Q8 e-tron is the first model in the Audi range with the new corporate identity, featuring a flat, two-dimensional design of the four rings on the front and rear and for the first time, the Audi logo and model designation on the B-pillar.

My Soneira red Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro is in the Launch Edition spec that includes S line exterior styling with larger 21″ Audi Sport alloy wheels in metallic black, a black exterior styling package with Audi rings, mirror caps, and roof rails in black. The S line styling continues on the interior with an S line steering wheel with grips in perforated leather with contrasting stitching, S sport front seats with integrated head restraints in Valcona leather upholstery and diamond patterned stitching, pedals in stainless steel and the headlining in black. Also included on the Launch Edition is electric steering wheel adjustment and coloured interior ambient lighting with the door sill trims in Aluminium; illuminated with the “S” logo.

All Q8 e-tron 55 quattro variants come with a 114kWh Lithium-ion battery with electric motors on the front and rear axle. Combined these produce 300kW of power and 664Nm of torque that means there is adequate speed on tap in the Q8 e-tron when required. The 2.5 tonne plus SUV has a top speed of 200km/h and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds or 5.6 seconds in boost mode.

Its claimed energy consumption is 25.6 kWh/100km and for my time with the Q8 e-tron I used 26.2kWh/100km giving me a range of 436kms. There is an AC port located on both sides of the vehicle just behind the front wheel and DC charging port on the driver’s side only. You open the charge port door by pressing the button at the top of the door near the e-tron badge and you have to press this button to release the charging cord as well.

To show that charging is in progress the light next to the plug is illuminated green and on the driver’s dash it indicates that charging is in progress with the estimated time remaining. The Q8 e-tron 55 comes with a 4.5m Type 2, Mode 2 charging cable including domestic and industrial plug with up to 7.2kW (AC) single phase charging capability. Thanks to Audi’s partnership with JETCharge, the Q8 e-tron 55 also comes with a complimentary standard wall unit installation for charging at home.

The maximum DC charging performance of the Q8 e-tron is 170kW and the claimed charge time going from 10 percent to 80 percent using this DC charging is approximately 31 minutes. To ensure that you can enjoy the capability of your Q8 e-tron, it comes with a complimentary 6-year Chargefox subscription which provides Audi Q8 e-tron customers with 6 years of free, unlimited charging at all Chargefox ultra rapid charging stations and at participating Chargefox managed fast charging stations.

The Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro is equipped with adaptive air suspension, which is electronically controlled, with continuously variable adaptive damping system, and an e-quattro fully variable all-wheel drive system. These features combined with noise insulation and aeroacoustics make the Q8 e-tron a lovely quiet EV to drive with a comfortable ride. The ride height can be adjusted over a total range of 76mm, lowering by as much as 26mm on the highway for improved stability and aerodynamics at high speeds as well as facilitating longer range.

You can feel the Q8 e-tron lower as you switch between the drive modes available and these include Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual. Under Individual mode you can adjust the Drive System, Suspension, and Steering. There is also a Range mode that increase the range by putting the AC into eco mode. I spent my time predominately in Auto mode with the brake regen set to maximum, with the adjustment for this done via the paddles on the steering wheel.

There’s smart keyless entry on all four doors and a keyless push button start, which I prefer over the ‘always on’ EVs. The cabin of the Q8 e-tron smells similar to other Audi vehicles that I have driven and it is very pleasant. In addition to the Valcona leather upholstery the upper part of dashboard and lower interior elements on the door armrest and lower parts of centre console are covered in artificial leather. I also like that there are less gloss black surfaces in the cabin of the Q8 e-tron compared to other Audi vehicles.

The cup holders in the Q8 e-tron are deep down in the centre console so you need to concentrate when lifting out your coffee cup so you don’t spill it. The cup holders have grippy sides and a removable rubber mat in the base to clean up any spills if you do make a mess. The very large drink bottle storage in front door cubbies also have a removable rubber mat in the base.

Being the flagship electric model in the Audi range there is plenty of technology on offer, as you would expect. The Audi virtual cockpit is a fully digital and configurable 12.3-inch instrument cluster and is combined with a colour head-up display with speed, navigation and assistance information shown here for the driver.

The Audi smartphone interface connects wirelessly to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or can be connected via a USB-C cord. This allows your phone information to be displayed on the 10.1-inch main infotainment screen. You can search for charging locations via the sat nav with DC or AC chargers displayed under separate menus,  but I could not get the Q8 e-tron to show details of the charging locations like if they were available or not. A wireless phone charger is located in the centre console on the side next to two cup holders with a 12V socket here also. The two USB-C ports are located at the front of the arm rest.

Below the main screen there is an 8.6-inch display for climate control functions with handwriting recognition, a keyboard for inputting information and a favourites list. The Q8 e-tron 55 Launch Edition has dual climate control with a single air speed control for all vents. Both front seats are heated and have manual front leg extension support combined with powered adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat cushion height front and rear and 4-way lumbar support with the driver’s seat getting two memory positions.

Adults sitting in the rear seats have ample head and leg room and can comfortably sit back there. For younger passengers there are two ISOfix/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats in my opinion due to the contoured nature of the rear seats. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with two slim drink holders in it that have grippy sides and a removable rubber mat in the base for easy cleaning. There are also good size drink bottle storage cubbies in the rear doors.

The two rear air vents have individual direction and air speed controls and below the vents towards the base of the console there are two USB-C ports and one 12V socket. There Q8 e-tron does have rear floor mats, but no mat over the transmission tunnel even though it is low.

The powered tailgate can be open/closed from button on tailgate or in cabin and opened only using the key fob. The large boot space will easily swallow the weekly shop or a pram and a smaller shop. If more space is required the rear seats have 40:20:40 split fold mechanism with the manual release located in the boot or the centre seat folded down separately. In the boot there are four substantial tie down points with a cargo net, two hooks and two lights. Under boot floor there is a small amount of extra storage space and a collapsible temporary use spare tyre and the charge cords are stored in an area under the front bonnet.

The Audi Q8 e-tron has a 5-star ANCAP (2019) rating with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 91% (34.9 out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 88% (43.2 out of 49). There are front airbags for driver and passenger, side airbags for front and rear side passengers, and head level curtain airbags for the front and rear.

ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in all test scenarios. Overall, effectiveness of the AEB system performance in highway speed scenarios was rated as GOOD. ANCAP tests of lane support system functionality showed ADEQUATE performance in lane keep assist scenarios, and ADEQUATE performance in the more critical emergency lane keeping scenarios. Overall performance of the lane support system was classified as ADEQUATE and the Q8 e-tron has an overall Safety Assist score of 78%.

Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition rear view camera

There is an option for the driver safety assist features to be set at a Maximum, Individual, and Basic level under one of the infotainment menus. If you choose Individual you can turn on/off the distance warning, Audi pre-sense, side assist, intersection assist, emergency assist, and rest recommendation. Even though the adaptive cruise control is set using a stalk behind the steering wheel it is easier to use than some steering-wheel mounted adaptive cruise controls fitted to other cars.

The 360-degree reversing camera has front and rear parking sensors and incorporates four wide-angle cameras covering the entire area immediately around the vehicle and you can ‘move’ around the Q8 e-tron by sliding your finger on the infotainment screen. For convenience you also get auto lights and high beam and auto rain sensing wipers.

All new Audi vehicles come with 5 years (60 months)/unlimited kilometres manufacturer warranty. In addition, the high- voltage battery for e-tron vehicles has a 8 years or 160,000km, whichever occurs first, warranty. Your Q8 e-tron also comes with 6 years Audi Roadside Assistance that delivers help if required 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Audi owners also receive a complementary membership during their warranty period to Audi Experience, Audi Australia’s bespoke loyalty program that offers access to exclusive national events, intimate Audi Ambassador experiences and premium partner offers.

The Q8 e-tron 55 also comes with Audi Scheduled Servicing for an extensive period of six years or 90,000km (whichever comes first). The scheduled service period is every 30,000km or two years (whichever comes first) and is performed by Audi trained technicians using the latest Audi diagnostic equipment.

Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition reflection

The Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition flies the flag fittingly for how impressive an electric SUV can be. Pricing for the Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition starts $165,900 excluding on-road costs and as tested my Q8 e-tron with optional metallic paint ($2,300) and privacy glass ($1,050) was $169,250 excluding on-roads. You can build your Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition online or visit your preferred Audi dealer for more information.

The Q8 e-tron is a very pleasant EV to driveCup holders are located deep in the centre console
6-year Chargefox subscription and JETCharge wall box included in purchase priceOnly has single air speed control
6-years or 90,000km servicing included in purchase priceNo mat over the transmission tunnel

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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