Road Test: The Audi Q8 e-tron S Line Quattro Knows How Make a Girl Feel Special

The Audi Q8 e-tron knows what it takes: luxury performance, respect for your time, channel stitched leather, a great center console, "Hey Audi" assistance and a shape you just can't stop looking at.

Scotty Reiss With The 2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron S Line
Scotty Reiss with the 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron S Line. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Effortless, Elegant Luxurious Electric Driving

I’ll start with this: The Prestige model of the Audi Q8 e-tron S Line is not priced for the budget-minded. It’s an aspirational car, one that you should pin to your vision board and dream about at night.

Dream about the tight leather interior, perforated and channel-stitched in contrasting light gray.

Imagine how those leather seats will feel beneath you, heating your cashmere sweater in winter and cooling the surface so you don’t burn your legs in summer. 

Think about how your favorite mug will slip right into the convertible cup holder bin, how your phone will slide right into the Qi wireless charger and how the leather steering wheel will feel in your hands. The answer to all these is, very nicely. 

And imagine how you’ll smile every time you walk out to your driveway, approach your Audi Q8 e-tron and see it greet you, it’s lights aglow in a fluttering light signature. It knows it’s you and its face glows with happiness.

With an opening price of just under $75K and a top MSRP of $87K, this is a car to dream about and plan for; it’s not an impulse purchase — for most people, anyway. 

But the price is just one reason this is a car to really think about and plan for. It’s all electric and it’ll change the way you drive, plan your day and live your life. Everything is different in this car. 

Related: Want to Drive Like a Superstar? There’s an Audi Q7 Luxury SUV for That

The Head Up Display In The Audi Q8 E-Tron
The head up display in the Audi Q8 e-tron. Photo: scotty Reiss

The Luxury of Respect for Your Time  

The difference starts with eliminating gas station stops. Without the need to fuel up you’ll save yourself from bitter cold or sweltering hot days standing at the pump to fill the tank. You’ll get back that time; yes, it only takes a few minutes to fill up, but add that the time it takes out of your schedule or routine to stop, perhaps wait for a pump to open up, and then get back to your routine. All told, it’s not a huge chunk of time, but it is certainly not a convenience. The Q8 e-tron will give you that back.

Instead, you can pop the charge cord into the port at home and charge overnight. Or you can stop at a DC fast charger—you’ll get two years of free Electrify America charging with the Q8 e-tron—and charge. This takes longer but you don’t need to stand at the terminal while the car charges; you can scroll your feed, answer emails or do your shopping. See?

Related: Lucid Gravity SUV: A Most Thoughtfully Designed 3-Row Electric Haven

The View From The Driver'S Seat In The Audi Q8 E-Tron
The view from the driver’s seat in the Audi Q8 e-tron. Photo: scotty Reiss

The Luxury Of an Intuitive Interior 

One thing Audi didn’t do in the Q8 e-tron is reinvent the interior and its features — too much. Yes, there are some innovations and unique features here, but Audi left the ones we really like in tact. In fact, if you don’t love the bare-bones interiors of some electric cars, you’ll really appreciate this. 

Audi did rethink a few things, starting with the gear selector. It’s tucked under the palm rest on the center console; grab it and push it forward or back to put it into gear. This was pretty novel. Then, Audi also rethought the cup holders and center console space. A deep box has pop-out cup holder frames and a retractable cover. I really liked this; I could put a large cup there or pop out the cup holders to hold my latte. And, I could tuck away a few things there and close the top and still have space for my phone — or my passenger’s phone. 

Next to the console box is a vertical wireless phone charger; drop your phone there and it charges as it lays against the charge pad. 

The Audi Q8 e-tron has a large digital driver display that you can customize. Our test model was equipped with Audi’s Digital Cockpit, a feature that we really love for its sharp, easy to see graphics, full screen and multiple display options. Set it how you like to best look at it.

Then, there are dual center screens: a multimedia screen up top and a climate screen below it. This allows you to have quick access to music, navigation, and of course, those heated (or cooled) seats. 

But screens aren’t everything. Audi also has voice activation. Just say “hey Audi?” and ask for what you want. Don’t you love that? 

Related: Your Top Electric Vehicle Questions Explained with Kia’s Head of EV Planning

The Audi Q8 E-Tron At Night
The Audi Q8 e-tron at night. Photo: scotty Reiss

A Great Drive is a Natural, Right? 

There’s nothing that’ll destroy your opinion of a luxury brand as much as underperformance. Here, Audi delivers. The Q8 e-tron Quarttro has a dual motor, all wheel drive configuration and delivers 355 HP. While that’s not in super-power range, it’s distinctly more than you need to sail onto the highway and get ahead of traffic in a flash. And that’s in normal mode. Put it in sport and have a bit more fun, or shift into S mode and floor it for a quick extra 47 HP. It’s insanely fun. 

Of course, it’s quiet and during my test drive I found the electric range to be pretty much what I expected it to be. We had a cold snap that week so I toyed with the range; it had more range when I parked it in the garage and let it heat up before driving off. 

One day I drove it cold —really, truly cold, it was below freezing — and found that my electric range instantly dropped by more than 40 miles. Not one to freak out, I turned off the heat, turned on the heated seat and steering wheel (found on the multimedia system) and took it easy getting to the grocery store about 5 miles away. Instantly my range crept up by 30 miles and by the time I arrived I was with in a few miles of where the range had been when I ended the day the evening before. It used about as much power as I would have expected on a normal day. 

To ‘juice’ the electric range I made liberal use of the regen paddles on the back of the steering wheel. Audi’s EVs are not one-pedal driving capable, but I did appreciate that I could slow nearly to a stop with the pedals, though I would have to actually use the brake to come to a complete stop. I prefer one-pedal driving but I can see that not everyone does and that my passengers may be grateful for its absence. 

Last, Audi gave the Q8 e-tron lots of capability. There are multiple drive modes so you can put that AWD to work in the snow, on gravel or on hills. Luxury means never having to say you can’t. 

The Front End Of The Audi Q8 E-Tron
The front end of the Audi Q8 e-tron. Photo: scotty Reiss

Let’s Talk Looks, and Yes, You’ll Want to Keep Looking

This is probably where I get the most excited. I love a sportback SUV. They’re tight, toned and muscular. They are partially hatchback, with a lower roof line that curves down to the tailgate spoiler. But with the beefy ground clearance, larger tires, and solid visibility of an SUV, they give you a great command position behind the wheel. 

The Audi Q8 e-tron S Line adds even more sporty details: black exterior details like the grille and lower air vents, black and chrome wheels, and LED lights and a rear light bar that simply looks sharp. So sharp.

The overall effect is modern, sculpted and sporty. Like a favorite sport shoe that you want to wear every day and with everything, from jeans to a flowy skirt to joggers. It just looks great with everything. 

The Rear End Of The Audi Q8 E-Tron
The rear end of the Audi Q8 e-tron. Photo: scotty Reiss

The Cheat Code: How to Know What You’re Getting 

Audi, like so many luxury brands, names its products more like code names than  actual names. So here’s how it breaks down: 

  • All electric models are designated e-tron 
  • “Q” designates it’s an SUV (“A” designates sedans”
  • Even numbers are electric, odd numbers are gas-powered
  • The higher the number, the more power and/or size 
  • Quattro means power to 4 wheels, or all wheel drive

Audi added the Q8 (and Q4) designations to the e-tron models last year, and while for the moment it seems confusing, soon forget the name change. We always do.

Don'T You Love A Hatchback?
Don’t you love a hatchback? Photo: scotty Reiss

The Audi Q8 e-tron Stats You Need to Know 

The Q8 e-tron has an electric driving range of 285 miles and can recharge to 80% at a DC fast charger in about 30 minutes or overnight at a level 2 charger (typical for home EV charging).

Pricing for the Audi Q8 e-tron is lofty:

  • Premium Starts at $74,400
  • Premium Plus $78,800
  • Prestige $84,800
  • Launch Edition $87,500
  • Price of our model as tested: $92,390
  • Our Prestige model came with all the goodies including a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, massaging seats, acoustic glass for a super quiet ride, and of course, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

All the luxury features that come standard certainly drive up the price of the Audi Q8 e-tron, and the Black Optic accents add a bit more ($2,000). As I said, this isn’t an impulse purchase. It’s a dream car. But oh, what a dream. 

Plugging In The Audi Q8 E-Tron
Plugging in the Audi Q8 e-tron. Photo: scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss