2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron review: Is Audi’s electric SUV flagship a worthy rival to the Mercedes EQE and BMW iX?

Audi’s simply named e-tron SUV was the luxury brand’s first EV toe in the water, but what to do when your expanding electric vehicle line-up all feature that e-tron badge?

Simplify things by killing it off, that’s what.

Then introduce a new large SUV with more familiar Q8 nameplate, and bung 55 e-tron after it to signify this as the brand’s flagship electric SUV.

From launch, Australia gets only the 55 model, but cheaper Q8 50 and sportier SQ8 e-trons follow next year to boost the range. Both wagon-backed SUV and costlier Sportback bodies are available for these five seaters.

Chief rivals are the BMW iX and Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, as the prestige German EV stoush bubbles along nicely.

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition

What does the Audi Q8 55 e-tron cost and what features do you get?

Until the cheaper Q8 50 e-tron lands, the Q8 55 e-tron’s a costlier proposition than the BMW iX (from $130,900) and Benz EQE (from $134,900).

The wagon-backed version is $153,900 plus on-roads, while a higher-spec Launch Edition of the same and a sleeker Sportback model are both $165,900 plus costs.

A sweetener from the get-go are six years of free public charging (Chargefox), six years scheduled servicing and six years roadside assist. Audi even come and fit a basic home charger for you to boot.

Standard kit is generous. The entry-level model gets 20-inch alloys, adaptive air suspension, LED headlights, rear dynamic indicators, aluminium roof rails, keyless entry and start, faux leather trim, power heated front seats, electric tailgate, 12.3-inch infotainment screen, 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charger, head up display and a three year subscription to Audi Connect Plus.

The wagon back-only Launch Edition adds 21-inch black metallic wheels, S line bumpers, black exterior styling pack, black roof rails, S Sport front seats in Valcona leather, diamond contrast stitching, colour interior lighting package, Sport steering wheel and stainless steel pedals. It looks properly sporty with red body over black rims.

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition

Extras above the normal wagon for the Sportback version are 21-inch alloys, Valcona leather Sport seats and four-zone climate control. Plus that coupe-like body.

Maybe the sleeker styling of the Sportback is your aesthetic bag, but it does compromise rear head space a bit. For the same money the wagon with Launch Edition kit looks the pick. The black wheels really add some much-needed toughness to the car, and it feels a luxurious step up inside.

Audi don’t miss you with options. It’s $6900 for a 22kWh on-board charger, $3400 for a glass sunroof and $3500 for ‘virtual’ mirrors where screens and cameras replace side mirrors. Don’t do it – they’re an unnecessary frustration that don’t improve on glass.

It’s an extra $2300 to dive into metallic paint colours. This feels steep, but upgrading to a B&O 3D sound system for $1750 looks more bargainous. It really is a pumping system, and with the Q8’s overall cabin hush you can go full concert hall experience.

Despite the Q8 e-tron’s size it’s just a five seater. Rear head room’s excellent, but leg room’s stingier than expected. The back seats don’t recline, sadly, but material quality remains excellent for those in the second row.

Practicality wise, it’s a long but not especially deep boot, offering 569L (wagon) and 528L (Sportback).

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Sportback
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Sportback – note the more coupe-like roof.

What is powering the Audi Q8 55 e-tron?

A monster of a battery, that’s what. It’s a hefty 114kWh unit (106kWh usable), trumping the BMW iX xDrive50’s 112kWh effort.

But while the Bimmer can manage 549km WLTP range, the Q8 55 e-tron falls short with 454km WLTP.

When you consider an entry-level Tesla Model 3 claims 513km with a battery around half the size of the Q8 e-tron’s, you can well imagine this SUV is quite the energy gobbler.

Official consumption is 25.6kWh/100km, and our varied test returned just over 26kWh/100km. Our first 60km registered well over 30, then dropped impressively to the late teens. Hills made a mighty difference to consumption, it seems.

But hang on. When these Q8 e-trons were first announced, a range of around 600km was mooted. What happened?

Since then, Audi’s ditched the overly-optimistic NEDC range test, and settled on the more real-world WLTP measure. But, rather daftly, its range is quoted as a ‘worst case scenario’ using 22-inch wheels. I’ve no idea why, as 22s are only optional fit – as standard the Q8 SUV rides on 20s, and Sportback and Launch Editions on 21s.

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron

Larger rims are hugely detrimental to electric range – Hyundai, for example, told me the difference between the 18-inch and 20-inch rims on its Ioniq 6 penalised range by around ten per cent. Audi Australia didn’t know the range difference the smaller wheels make to range.

There’s an electric motor over each axle, combining to deliver 300kW and 664Nm. With a boost mode enabled, that hauls the Q8 e-tron to 100km/h in an all-you-need-for-a-family-SUV 5.6-seconds. With boost off, it’s a still rapid 6.5 seconds to hit the ton.

What is charging like for the Audi Q8 55 e-tron?

Over the outgoing e-tron, the Q8 e-tron’s maximum DC charging performance is up by 20kW to 170kW.

Audi quotes the 10 percent to 80 percent battery recharge time at approximately 31 minutes.

It comes standard with a 7.2kW charging system, with AC ports handily on both sides of the vehicle. No embarrassing clamber out of the car to check which side the charge port is.

Being such a giant battery, you can cost option ($6900) 22kW charging capability, giving an empty to full battery in around six hours.

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition

While most owners will home charge the majority of the time, it’s a decent bonus snaring a free six year subscription to the Chargefox public charging network, including its ultra-rapid chargers powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

Hitting 80 per cent charge in the time it takes to enjoy a coffee, sandwich and roadside stretch will give you the warm and fuzzies.

How does the Audi Q8 55 e-tron drive?

It’s short on outright thrills, but good grief this is a competent, polished and luxurious thing to live with.

The air suspension (with a ride height adjustment range of 76mm) and seven different drive modes give excellent bandwidth to optimise the drive for outright pillowy comfort, or for a firmer, sharper feel.

Despite those big rims (ride quality remains cushy even on the larger 21-inch wheels), the Q8 e-tron makes short work of absorbing crummy surfaces and bumps. Barely a peep from the motors (as it should be) and excellent cabin insulation lock in a serene ride experience.

Show it a smooth highway, drop the suspension to its lowest height (in Dynamic mode) and it’s quite limo-like, especially in the plush surrounds of Valcona leather on the pricier models.

Find some corners and put the shoe in and it handles and turns in well, but you really feel the weight – over 2500kg before passengers – and sit too loftily for it ever to feel properly sporty.

Performance is, to my mind, spot on for this type of vehicle. It’s quick, certainly, but refuses to sacrifice linear smoothness for outright head-pinning acceleration.

It feels confidently capable when pinning the throttle, with instant response and enduring surge while feeling impressively stable and composed.

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Sportback
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Sportback

Regeneration is accessed through steering wheel paddles, and doesn’t spoil the serenity by being too strong. It doesn’t come to a complete stop by pulling on a paddle, but if you engage traffic jam assist it smartly follows the car in front to allow all feet off driving – excellent when enduring rush hour.

Brake pedal feel is unnatural at times – nothing unusual there for an EV – while Audi’s lane centring driver assist is a bit over-zealous, constantly pulling and making little adjustments on long corners. It seems wholly unnecessary, ruining the smoothness, so we found ourselves always turning it off.

Another minor grumble is having climate control through a screen. It’s fiddlier than proper dials and knobs, and the screen needs a really good prod before it responds with haptic feedback. It’s not ideal when you’re on a bouncy or twisty road.

What is the ownership of the Audi Q8 55 e-tron like?

There is a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, while the battery is covered for the usual eight years or 160,000kms.

You’ll need to visit the service centre every 24 months or 30,000kms, but Audi’s giving you six years free here, along with six years of roadside assist. If you’re planning long distances, it’s a decent ownership proposition.

2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition

The Audi Q8 55 e-tron verdict

It’s pricey next to its BMW and Benz rivals, heavy, and its electric range is acceptable rather than exceptional.

But the Q8 55 e-tron’s silky smooth drive and luxurious, smart, and tech-filled cabin are strong selling points, aided by the potential for six years of zero dollar running costs.

If the incoming (in 2024) Q8 50 better price matches entry-level BMW iXs and Mercedes EQEs, this big Audi will look a more appealing prospect. The SQ8 e-tron also due then will push it onto the shopping list of those demanding their EVs can go warp speed.

For now, the Q5 55 e-tron Launch Edition looks the pick in terms of full-on luxury, lush drive experience, practical body and sleek, sporty good looks.

Audi Q8 55 e-tron score:


2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron
2024 Audi Q8 55 e-tron

Audi Q8 55 e-tron specifications

Battery and motors

  • 114kWh (106kWh usable) Lithium-ion battery 
  • Max power: 300kW
  • Max torque: 664Nm 
  • Twin motor, all-wheel-drive
  • 2-stage planetary gearbox with a single gear
  • WLTP range: 454km
  • Power consumption: 25.6kWh/100km


  • 170kW DC charging (10-80% approx 31mins)
  • 7.4kW Wallbox (0-100% 690 mins)
  • 170kW max charging capacity


  • Length: 4915mm
  • Width: 2189mm
  • Height: 1633mm
  • Wheelbase: 2928mm
  • Boot space: 569L to 1637L
  • Weight: 2520kg

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