PHS Automotive Malaysia (PHSAM) recently organised a drive for members of the media to test out its latest Audi e-tron offerings and we got some time behind the wheel of the 2023 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron 50 EV SUV, so here's a short and sweet review of our brief time with this lovely electric beauty.
For those who are wondering about the variants of the Audi Q8 e-tron, there are four to choose from. The latest EV SUV offering is divided into two main models - the Q8 e-tron advanced 50 quattro and the Q8 Sportback e-tron S line 55 quattro.
Each of them comes with two different body styles - the Sportback and the non-Sportback (the more conventional SUV form or shape). In terms of prices, it's easier to look at the list, below:
We were assigned the second most affordable Q8 e-tron on that list, which was the Q8 Sportback e-tron 50. On paper, it seems that this particular variant has a slight edge over the non-Sportback Q8 e-tron 50 in terms of range and handling.
Thanks to its Sportback shape (very clearly seen from the rear end), the Q8 Sportback e-tron 50 cuts through the air better which pushes its maximum driving distance to 505km compared to the non-Sportback Q8 e-tron 50 at 491km despite both of them having the same 95kWh battery pack.
The other advantage is the inclusion of the Sport Adaptive Air Suspension. Our drive from the Klang Valley to Ipoh, Perak was honestly one of the most comfortable driving experiences yet, EV or non-EV. And that's one heck of a compliment because despite being a full-fledged electric SUV, it doesn't feel like one.
The ride comfort was so good and comfortable, driving it at highway speeds felt slow. The Sport Adaptive Air Suspension was tuned extremely well to accommodate the Q8 e-tron's weight and power (along with three adults and baggage).
And the thing just cuts through the air like butter. There was little to no noise within the cabin throughout the trip apart from the slightly more audible tyre noise when punching at higher speeds, but exceptionally minimal. To be completely honest, we absolutely loved the Q8 Sportback e-tron 50, and the spacious and comfortable interior certainly helped.
Speaking of power, 340PS and 664Nm of torque was more than enough to propel it to 'overtaking speeds' with little to no drama. There were times that we found ourselves 'cruising' at 170km/h because, at those speeds, it felt like driving at 100km/h. It was only at 180km/h when we felt that the Q8 was going a bit too fast for comfort.
For those who are wondering, the Q8 e-tron 50 can hit 0-100km/h in just six seconds. Top speed? 200km/h. We have a feeling that its 2-stage ratio planetary gearbox with single gear certainly contributed heavily regarding the matters of power, efficiency, and overall distance.
As for range, it was a weird but good experience, to say the least. During our drive to Ipoh and back, there wasn't a single time that we felt any form of range anxiety. This was due to two reasons - it doesn't feel like driving an EV and how well it balances between power and range.
Yes, Ipoh is not that far but if you're not in a rush and prefer to drive a bit more sensibly, there's no need to worry about charging all the way to Penang or Johor. Audi certainly nailed the efficiency when it comes to the Q8 e-tron.
Even if you need to, the Q8 e-tron 50 supports up to 11kW of AC charging which translates to a full charge at just over nine hours. It also supports DC fast charging of up to 150kW and when you're connected to one, 0-80% state of charge can be completed in just 28 minutes.
At the end of the day, the Q8 e-tron range should be highly considered if you're looking for an EV SUV that looks stunning paired with very good performance and range as well as ridiculously high levels of comfort.
On a personal level, we prefer the non-Sportback variant because it looks more Audi-ish if that makes any sense but any of the Q8 e-tron models should be a winner. If you prefer a bit more power and range (plus some eye-catching gizmos like the side mirrors that are actually cameras), get the Q8 e-tron 55 with its 408PS output and 114kWh battery pack that extends the range up to 600km.
The prices are also quite competitive compared to its competitors in the same segment. It's still a stretch for normal folks but for those who know, the Q8 e-tron is indeed a low-key baller. After all, that's Audi for you - the masters of "I may look a bit understated, but mess around and you'll find out". And we absolutely adore that.
Range anxiety? With the Audi Q8 e-tron, you'll definitely go "What range anxiety?"
Here's a hot take for you - rappers should definitely include more Audis in their music videos, it'll certainly gain more respect from the automotive community, don't you think?
Sep is a firm believer in the saying "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast" rather than "When in doubt, throttle it out". Drive safely, ride defensively, and most importantly, don't get hangry.