26th January 2024 – (Hong Kong) The brand-new Audi SQ8 e-tron and SQ8 Sportback e-tron have also arrived in Hong Kong and are open for pre-orders. The Audi SQ8 e-tron is priced from HK$1,269,000, while the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron starts at HK$1,299,000. These models are currently on display at the Audi Taikoo flagship showroom and can be reserved for test drives. Car enthusiasts also have the option to upgrade to the Launch edition, which includes features such as 22-inch Audi Sport wheels, a Black-styling package, a head-up display, and sports front seats with the S emblem.
Despite its high price tag and heavy weight, the SUV offers exceptional driving dynamics that surpass expectations. The Audi SQ8 e-tron, in particular, stands out as the most performance-oriented model in the range, equipped with a second electric motor on the rear axle, resulting in a total of three motors. These motors draw power from a large 114kWh battery pack located beneath the cabin floor. The peak power output reaches 496bhp, accompanied by an impressive peak torque of 973Nm.
In terms of on-paper performance figures, the Audi SQ8 e-tron demonstrates impressive acceleration, reaching 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds and achieving a limited top speed of 130mph. However, it is the driving experience that truly sets the SQ8 e-tron apart. Despite its substantial weight of 2,650kg, the SQ8 e-tron delivers exceptional handling and agility, thanks to its brilliant powertrain and chassis calibration. The additional motor on the rear axle allows for torque vectoring, enhancing the SUV’s stability and control. The SQ8 e-tron’s suspension, featuring wider track widths, wider tyres, and aggressive camber, contributes to a firm yet controlled ride quality reminiscent of a BMW M car.
While the Audi SQ8 e-tron impresses with its driving dynamics, it suffers from notable inefficiency. In tests conducted in December, the SUV exhibited a potential range of only 200 miles, significantly lower than its official rating of approximately 270 miles. The vehicle achieved an average efficiency of just 1.9 miles per kilowatt-hour (mi/kWh) during mixed driving, making it one of the least efficient EVs tested. The limited range and reliance on the expensive public charging network for long journeys may pose challenges for owners, especially considering the vehicle’s size and luxury positioning.
In terms of interior space, the Audi SQ8 e-tron is competitive among similarly-sized combustion-engined SUVs. However, compared to its EV rivals from BMW and Mercedes, it falls short in terms of storage and a flat floor due to its modified chassis derived from petrol-powered models. The build quality is excellent, but the interior design may feel generic compared to rapidly evolving automotive interiors.
The car’s digital interfaces, although relatively small compared to rivals, offer a user-friendly experience while driving. The interior refinement levels are impressive, although the wide tyres can generate some road noise on rough surfaces.
If you’re currently driving an Audi Q7 or Q8 SUV but are considering going EV next time around, the 2024 Q8 e-tron (previously known simply as the e-tron) will provide you with an easy transition. Its design and overall vibe are similar to the rest of the luxury automaker’s lineup, so the only element to adjust to is the powertrain. Two electric motors provide all-wheel drive and up to 402 horsepower. Acceleration is strong, but not as rushed as in rifle-shot rivals like the BMW iX, Jaguar I-Pace, or Tesla Model X. If you’re up for a quicker version Q8 e-tron, there’s an SQ8 e-tron (reviewed separately), which offers 496 horsepower. High-tech features dot the Q8 e-tron’s hushed cabin, which is something Audi loyalists have come to expect. There are two body styles to choose from—the standard Q8 e-tron and the sportier, fastback Q8 e-tron Sportback, but neither shout about their eco-friendliness—in fact, they couldn’t look more conventional. Whichever body style you choose, the Q8 e-tron comes with a battery pack that provides a usable real-world driving range that promises to be competitive with that of other luxury EV SUVs. Plus, it can be charged quickly at a public charging station if you’re travelling long distances.
The Q8 e-tron’s transition to an electric powertrain is seamless for Audi enthusiasts, as it retains the brand’s signature design language and luxurious feel. With two electric motors delivering all-wheel drive and a respectable 402 horsepower, the Q8 e-tron offers strong acceleration while maintaining a balanced and composed driving experience. While it may not match the blistering performance of some of its competitors, it strikes a good balance between power and refinement.
Inside the cabin, the Q8 e-tron is packed with high-tech features that Audi is known for. The interior is quiet and well-appointed, providing a comfortable and sophisticated environment for occupants. The standard Q8 e-tron and the sportier Q8 e-tron Sportback offer two body styles to choose from, both of which maintain a conventional and stylish appearance without overtly emphasizing their electric nature.
One of the key advantages of the Q8 e-tron is its usable real-world driving range, which is expected to be competitive with other luxury EV SUVs. This makes it a practical choice for daily commuting and even longer journeys, as the vehicle can be charged quickly at public charging stations along the way. For Audi owners looking to make the switch to electric without sacrificing style, comfort, and range, the Q8 e-tron presents a compelling option in the market.