What is it like on the inside?
It’s all very Audi-like inside, which is to say premium-feeling, solidly built and impeccably decked out. An Audi is like one of those posh boutique hotels that just uses basic things properly, no copper accents or buttons in weird places. The seats and driving position are all very adjustable so you can get comfortable and the controls are logically laid out. It’s not always a given on cars, that.
And if you’re used to a combustion-engined Audi you’ll be right at home here because it’s exactly the same. It’s nice how Audi’s new era of electric power will be much the same as the old one. Why change things if they’re already being done properly?
Indeed. Has much changed inside the facelifted Q8 e-tron?
Not really. Take the centre console, for example, where Audi has frankly missed a trick in not making some tweaks. The bit between the seats certainly looks cool, but it feels like space has been wasted somehow.
The drive shifter doesn’t move, but the handle sort of straddles the console with a button on the end that you twiddle with your thumb to select drive or reverse. It works alright in practice, and the shifter doubled up as an armrest to play with the aircon controls and other buttons that are stashed at the base of the dashboard. Likewise, the cubby where the cupholders sit seems deep, but as soon as you put too much in you’ll find things coming flying out onto the seats through the gaps that create grab handles on either side.
The digital wing mirrors look pretty cool…
Replacing wing mirrors with cameras seems like the high-tech answer to a question that nobody asked. It’s nice to have a bit of theatre to show off to passengers, we suppose, but there was nothing fundamentally wrong that needed fixing.
It doesn’t take too long to get used to the positioning of the screens, in fairness, but the main problem with digital rearview mirrors is that they don’t offer the same depth that actual mirrors do. Which is precisely what makes it easy to change your eye focus from the road ahead to see what’s happening behind. Hmm.
And then the digital wing mirrors are rendered all but useless in rain or bright sunlight; are borderline deceitful when used for parking; they’re a faff to adjust, and the field of vision is much smaller because you can’t crane your neck to see a little more. Oh, and the benefits are supposedly to your aerodynamic efficiency, and yet they’re still the size of Robocop’s arm. Hardly seems worth it, does it?
What about the rest of the car?
Rear passenger room is bang average – the seats are all solid, and three adults in the back might not enjoy longer journeys thanks to middle legroom that’s slightly impinged by the centre console. You get a decent sized boot in the Q8 e-tron, enough to take a decent amount of luggage for five people onboard – 569 litres (528 litres in the coupe version) which expands to 1,637 litres (or 1,567) with the seats down.
You’ve also got a nifty 62-litre frunk in the Q8 e-tron that’s useful for storing the charge cables and any other bits you want to keep out of sight. Could it be bigger? Sure, but there’s the Q7 for that. As a flagship electric statement (why else would you go for the Sportback version?) the Q8 e-tron does a decent job.