Expert Reviews

2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron Review

8.7
10
AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • STYLING
    9/10
  • Safety
    10/10
  • PRACTICALITY
    8/10
  • USER-FRIENDLINESS
    7/10
  • FEATURES
    7/10
  • POWER
    10/10
  • COMFORT
    9/10
  • DRIVING FEEL
    10/10
  • FUEL ECONOMY
    9/10
  • VALUE
    8/10

It wouldn’t be difficult to lose your driver’s licence piloting the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron.

It takes a lot of self control – and constant attention on the speedometer – to keep this potent electric vehicle (EV) well within the prescribed speed limits.

Part of the blame is cast squarely on the performance metrics. The SQ8 cranks out 496 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque, with effortless acceleration that allows it to breeze to 100 km/h from a standing start in a claimed 4.5 seconds. On the other hand, Audi’s engineers have done a wonderful job keeping the passenger cabin well insulated from the offensive sounds of the outside world, which makes it difficult to sense just how fast you’re actually going.

Styling: 9/10

Sporty yet understated, the SQ8 Sportback E-Tron is easy on the eyes. Naturally, the fact it’s a fastback makes it even sleeker and more dynamic in appearance than its conventionally shaped sibling. Inside, the cabin is upscale, modern, and luxurious but not plush. Instead, there’s a clear emphasis on technology and functionality.

Safety: 10/10

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded the 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback E-Tron with a “Top Safety Pick” rating, while the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it five stars for overall crashworthiness. The SQ8 Sportback E-Tron comes well equipped with a host of advanced safety systems, including so-called “Audi pre-sense,” which monitors the vehicle from all sides, and automatically takes control if it determines that an impact is unavoidable and imminent. For example, if rear sensors determine that the vehicle is about to be hit from behind, Audi pre sense will tighten the seat belts and adjust the seats to reduce the severity of the impact on all occupants.

Features: 7/10

While the SQ8 Sportback E-Tron comes very well equipped, some of the features you’d expect to see in a vehicle in this price range (like heated rear seats) are only available as options. Standard equipment includes LED exterior lighting, a power tailgate, panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, and more.

Although only one trim level is available, Audi offers packages that allow you to customize your ride. For example, the Technology package ($2,000) comes with a system designed to prevent collisions at intersections and a head-up display. The Premium package ($2,800) comes with niceties like heated front and rear seats, interior ambient lighting, rear side sunshades, and an extra charging port.

User-Friendliness: 7/10

This is a sophisticated and technologically-advanced vehicle, which means the average owner will at some point need to read through the owner’s manual in order to make sure they’re taking advantage of all this EV has to offer. Even more fundamentally, there are some unique features to figure out. For instance, one of the warning icons on the dash is an image of a tire with a wrench beside it. What does it mean? In short, it’s a loose wheel warning, which tells the driver that the nuts on one of the wheels need to be tightened before the wheel flies off and causes serious damage.

Practicality: 8/10

As far as space is concerned, this EV offers room for four comfortably, and five if you really need that extra passenger along for a shorter trip. Cargo room is decent (528 L behind second row, 1,567 L with it folded), and the fact that it’s a sportback means that the entire cargo area opens up wide enough to load larger objects with relative ease. It also means some of the upright space back there is lost in the name of styling.

While there’s a frunk, it isn’t the biggest around. Rather, it shares its space with electronic components and the windshield washer tank. Towing capacity tops out at 1,250 kg (2,750 lb).

Comfort: 9/10

In typical Audi fashion, the seats are comfortable and supportive but firm. Leather is standard, and both front- and rear-seat occupants will have no problem enjoying the ride. It’s very quiet on the open road, with minimal road and wind noise –and, of course, no engine noise to speak of.

Power: 10/10

With 496 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque available instantly, this big and heavy SUV is capable of some serious quickness. Passing is effortless and the acceleration makes the heart pitter-patter.

Driving Feel: 10/10

With three electric motors – one for the front wheels, and two for the rear – the SQ8 Sportback E-Tron is able to direct torque to wherever it’s needed, whenever it’s needed. The twin rear motors drive each individual wheel, which is why navigating twists and turns is so much fun, sending more torque to the outside rear wheel when cornering. In addition, an adaptive air suspension system adjusts automatically to maximize comfort and optimize driving feel.

Fuel Economy: 9/10

The estimated range of the SQ8 Sportback E-Tron is 428 km, and it can be plugged into a DC fast-charger, where it can go from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 30 minutes. It comes with a single charging port on the driver’s side, but a second one can be added optionally to the passenger side. However, this port only accepts Level 1 and 2 input.

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), it’s good for a combined 3.2 Le/100 km – the litres equivalent in electrical consumption. That’s for models riding on 20-inch wheels; adding 21- or 22-inch wheels changes that number to 3.7.

Value: 8/10

There’s plenty of competition amongst six-figure sport utilities that run on nothing but electrons. There’s the 2024 Porsche Macan that starts at $106,000 (all prices include freight, but not taxes). The BMW iX comes well equipped and starts at $101,000, but lacks the seductive styling of this Audi. There’s also the Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV, which starts at $129,000. The SQ8 Sportback E-tron starts at $113,750, while the conventionally shaped version starts at $111,150.

The Verdict

There are, however, less exciting versions of the Q8 E-Tron available for those who don’t want – or need – this level of power and performance. The entry-level version starts at $95,650 before tax, while the sportback is $98,950. Hands down, however, the 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron is the athlete in the electric SUV’s lineup, with quickness and style in spades.

 

Specifications
Engine Displacement 370 kW
Engine Cylinders Three electric motors
Peak Horsepower 496 hp
Peak Torque 717 lb-ft
Fuel Economy 28.5 kWh/100 km; 3.8/3.7/3.7 Le/100 km cty/hwy/cmb; 428 km est. range
Cargo Space 528 / 1,567 L seats up/down
Model Tested 2024 Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron
Base Price $110,900
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,850
Price as Tested $130,394
Optional Equipment
$16,544 — Premium package, $2,800; Federal luxury tax, $2,204; Technology package, $2,000; 19.2-kW AC charging port, $2,000; 21-inch wheels, $1,500; Black optics package, $1,200; Bang & Olufsen 3-D sound system, $1,100; Carbon fibre inlays, $1,000; Plasma Blue Metallic paint, $890; Trailer Hitch, $650; Red brake calipers, $600; Audi phone box, $450; Rubber mats, $150