By Mike Torpey on 2024-02-11 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Audi Q8 55 e-tron S
AUDI has a clear focus on an electric future - and if its recently released figures for 2023 are anything to go by then that outlook looks increasingly radiant.
The German company shifted no less than 178,000 fully electric vehicles in 2023, representing an increase of 51 per cent compared to 2022.
And with the world premiere of the Audi Q6 e-tron due during the spring - marking the start of the largest model offensive in the brand's history with 20 new cars by 2025, more than 10 of which will be electric - there's much to anticipate.
Flagship of Audi's electric range is the Q8 e-tron which comes with the promise of an optimised drivetrain, improved aerodynamics, better battery capacity plus an increased range of up to 330 miles on a single charge.
The refreshed model, available in both SUV and Sportback body styles, is also the first from Audi to debut the brand's new corporate identity, the two dimensional four rings.
Our version was the Q8 e-tron 55 S line which, in keeping with its Sport, Black Edition and Vorsprung stablemates, has Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system as standard.
So far as SUVs go, the Q8 e-tron is a really slick looker with its low-slung catwalk model curves, alluring front end with a grille that blends seamlessly into the headlamps and full length light bar at the rear.
Move inside and it's all very classic Audi with its clean, practical layout and adequate if not cavernous interior space.at 2.5 tonnes
The seats are firm and comfortable in Valcona leather with contrast stitching and an S logo embossed into each while there's plenty of adjustment up front and three levels of seat heating.
Boot space too is pretty handy with 569 litres on offer, which expands to 1,637 litres with the rear seats flipped down and you also get a 62-litre mini trunk up front for storing cables and small items.
As for charging, the Q8 comes with a choice of AC and DC cables for various power points but it takes around 14 to 18 hours from a home wallbox and 31 minutes to 80 per cent at a public fast charger.
Those opting for the e-tron 50 model, with its 89kWh battery as opposed to the 106kWh of our 55 variant can hit that 80 per cent point even quicker, in 28 minutes.
Either way range anxiety should never be an issue with a car that's superb to drive and be driven in. It's a heavy vehicle at 2.5 tonnes but it rides well on the 20-inch wheels, is beautifully refined, surefooted, well balanced and also has adaptive sport air suspension.
There's no shortage of upmarket tech either, in fact it's loaded with the stuff even at entry level, which it should be in a car with a starting price north of Â£70,000.
Everything from Audi's virtual cockpit with MMI navigation plus and 10.1-inch touchscreen operation to natural language voice control is included along with a raft of safety and assistance systems.
Around 40 of these systems are available to the driver, with up to five radar sensors, five cameras and a dozen ultrasonic sensors providing info to a central controller.
Audi Q8 55 e-tron S line quattro
Mechanical:408ps,106kWh battery powering 300kW motors driving all wheels via auto transmission
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds
Combined MPG:327 miles
Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles (8yrs/100,000 miles battery)
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