Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron Review & Prices

The SQ8 Sportback e-tron is fast and powerful, but struggles to justify its price premium over other versions of the Q8 e-tron

Buy or lease the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron at a price you’ll love
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RRP £101,315 - £117,715 Avg. Carwow saving £12,499 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£89,512
Monthly
£1,307*
Used
£87,000
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wowscore
6/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Very quick indeed
  • Plenty of grip
  • Luxury cabin finish

What's not so good

  • Shorter range than cheaper Q8 e-trons
  • Distracting touch-sensitive controls
  • Sportback body compromises practicality
At a glance
Model
SQ8 Sportback e-tron
Body type
SUVs
Available fuel types
Electric
Battery range
This refers to how many miles an electric car can complete on a fully charged battery, according to official tests.
273 - 286 miles
Acceleration (0-60 mph)
4.5 s
Number of seats
5
Boot, seats up
528 litres - 5 Suitcases
Exterior dimensions (L x W x H)
4,915mm x mm x 1,617mm
Insurance group
A car's insurance group indicates how cheap or expensive it will be to insure – higher numbers will mean more expensive insurance.
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Find out more about the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron

Is the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron a good car?

The SQ8 Sportback e-tron is a bit like a website that’s just been given a redesign. The updated model does much the same job as the previous car, but it’s now a little better looking, slicker, and more efficient.

This luxurious electric SUV comes in two bodystyles, the regular SUV and the more coupe-like Sportback. The Sportback costs more than the SUV, and your reward for digging deeper into your pockets is sleeker styling and less practicality.

There are a few sporty electric SUV alternatives to consider, including the BMW iX and Kia EV6 GT.

From the outside, you’d think the Sportback would be hopeless for rear headroom. Step inside, though, and it’s surprising to find enough room for six-foot tall passengers to travel without rubbing a bald patch into their scalps.

Whether you are sat in the front or the back, this is a roomy and luxurious car. The standard of finish and the quality of the materials used is every bit as high as you’d expect from a car that costs around £100k. The driver’s display and twin-touchscreens look great, so long as you like the mean and moody graphics, and the overall ambience balances sportiness, luxury, and high-tech. The SQ8 gets some appealing extra touches such as figure-hugging sports seats for extra support while cornering.

The SQ8 Sportback e-tron is spacious inside and good to drive, but it's hard to recommend paying the extra over the regular Q8 model

The biggest compromise in choosing the Sportback over the regular model is not in the cabin, but in the boot. There are 530 litres instead of the 570 litres in the standard car. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it’s not a very big luggage area for a car of this size. Then again, the BMW iX is another electric SUV that could be on your shortlist if you are considering the SQ8 e-tron, and that has a 500-litre boot, 30 litres smaller than the e-tron’s.

The SQ8 also has more storage space under the bonnet, although this ‘froot’ is largely taken up with charging cables if you take them with you.

Owners will be stopping to recharge more often in the SQ8 than the more affordable Q8 55. Both have a huge battery, but while the 55 can travel 343 miles in official tests the power-hungry SQ8 will go up to 290 miles – though our testing found the real-world range was closer to 240 miles. You’ll at least be able to recharge quickly, as the SQ8 is compatible with 170kW DC charging.

And that’s the trouble with the SQ8. It is enormously quick, but the Q8 e-tron 55 is no slouch. The 55 is more affordable and will go much further on a charge. Choose the regular SUV over the Sportback and you’ll save more money and will own a more practical car that still scores points for style.

You will enjoy driving the SQ8 Sportback, though. It’s surprisingly manoeuvrable around town, quiet on the motorway, and very fast cross country in all weathers. It’s just that other Q8 e-tron models make more sense.

If you’re still committed to this sleek electric SUV, see how much you could save with Carwow’s Audi SQ8 e-tron Sportback deals. You can also browse used SQ8s as well as other used Audis, and if you want to sell your car online, Carwow can help with that, too.

How much is the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron?

The Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron has a RRP range of £101,315 to £117,715. However, with Carwow you can save on average £12,499. Prices start at £89,512 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £1,307. The price of a used Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron on Carwow starts at £87,000.

Our most popular versions of the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron are:

Model version Carwow price from
370kW SQ8 Quattro 114kWh Black Edition 5dr Auto £89,512 Compare offers
370kW SQ8 Quattro 114kWh Black Ed 5dr At Tech Pro £91,822 Compare offers

So, you need pockets that are deep and full to buy an SQ8 Sportback e-tron. Not only is the Sportback more than the regular SUV, but the SQ8 is much pricier than the 55. As much as the SQ8 e-tron’s performance is exciting, it’s hard to make a rational case for the car when the 55 is so good.

In terms of similar alternatives you might choose instead, the BMW iX M60 makes the Audi seem affordable, although the BMW is even quicker than the SQ8. The Kia EV6 GT isn’t as posh, but it’s considerably cheaper at around £60,000.

Performance and drive comfort

Immensely fast, yet easy to drive – but the BMW iX is more comfortable over bumps

In town

For such a big car, the SQ8 is easy to drive around town. You would think a 500hp+ SUV would strain at the leash like an XL bully dog that’s just caught a whiff of steak, but the Audi is just as happy to creep along as it is to sprint to 30mph in little more time than it takes to press the throttle.

The turning circle is a reasonable 12.2 metres, which compares well with the 12.8 metres needed by the BMW iX. You won’t be making U-turns as easily as a black cab, but a three-point turn should be all that’s required.

With the adaptive suspension set to comfort, you still feel the Audi’s suspension hitting bumps in the road, especially if you are tempted to go for 22-inch alloys. It’s not uncomfortable, though, you just feel some rocking movements that a car with softer suspension would suppress – the BMW iX, for example.

Like any good EV, the SQ8 e-tron is very quiet around town. You just waft along with no more than a murmur from the electric motors.

The view over your shoulder could be better – blame the smaller rear windscreen of the Sportback. But the screen pillars are a sensible size so it’s easy to see other traffic at a tricky junction.

On the motorway

The SQ8 e-tron feels like a car designed with big motorway miles in mind, although you’ll be stopping to recharge far more often than you’d refuel a conventionally powered car. You’ll be taking a break more often than you would in a BMW iX M60, too, as that ultra-rapid EV has an official range of up to 348 miles to the Audi’s 290.

The SQ8’s big tyres pick up some road noise, more so than in other Q8 e-trons with less aggressive wheels and tyres. You do hear some road noise from around the door mirrors too. Otherwise this is a very quiet car at speed, and the bumpiness around town feels just about spot on at 70mph.

On a twisty road

If there’s one type of road that could convince us the SQ8 is worth the extra over the other Q8 e-trons, it’s a winding B-road.

The car’s immense weight (well over 2.5 tonnes) means it’s not the most agile car in tight corners. But if the road is flowing it handles extremely well, cornering with grip and poise. The dynamic setting adds welcome heft to the steering and sharpens the response to the throttle, although it does make the suspension even firmer.

The SQ8 sends power to all four wheels and some clever tech that improves grip and means you can really fire the car out of corners.

Space and practicality

Roomy in the front, but the Sportback is less practical than the regular e-tron SUV

The SQ8’s driving position is well judged. It’s low enough to be sporty, but high enough to keep SUV fans happy. Besides, there’s a big range of adjustment to the seat and wheel, so you should be able to find a position that’s comfortable over a long day behind the wheel. The seat adjusts electrically, but the steering wheel has manual adjustment, which smacks of penny-pinching on a £100k car.

The SQ8 comes with heavily bolstered seats – Audi calls them ‘super sports’ to differentiate them from the mere ‘sports’ seats fitted to lesser e-trons. They are very supportive when you make full use of the car’s performance and grip but could be a little on the tight side for driver’s of a broad build. Lumbar support is adjustable, and the embossed ‘S’ logo reminds you that you’re driving one of Audi’s high-performance models every time you open the door.

The glovebox is large enough to store more than just gloves, and there are big bins in the front doors that will have no trouble accommodating a large drinks bottle. The storage cubby under the driver’s armrest is fairly small, though.

As you’d expect, there are twin cupholders between the front seats. They’re very deep, so much so that a small cup might be tricky to pick up.

Space in the back seats

There’s more room in the back of the car than you’d think looking at the sloping roofline. Six-footers have enough head space and there’s lots of legroom too.

Two passengers will be a lot more content than three, though. The air con controls between the front seats get in the way – it’s easy to knock your shins – and shoulder room is tight for three adults. There’s an armrest that folds down from the centre seat when it’s not in use, but it’s odd that there are no cupholders. There are no USB-C ports in the back of the car either.

The plastic covers for the ISOFIX child seat mounting points will be easy to lose if you are not careful, but there’s enough room for even the bulkiest of rear-facing child seats.

Boot space

The biggest compromise in choosing the SUV over the Sportback is boot space. The capacity drops from 570 litres to 530 litres with the rear seats upright. That’s still 30 litres more than you’ll find in a BMW iX, mind you.

There’s space under the floor which is useful if you want to keep dirty boots away from clean bags.

Loading heavy items is a bit of a strain. The floor is high, the bumper is quite broad, and there’s a load-lip to negotiate. You won’t need a gym session after filling the car with holiday luggage.

If you need more room, the rear seats fold and you can remove the parcel shelf. There’s nowhere obvious to store the shelf in the car, though.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The infotainment looks great, but the touch-sensitive heating controls are fiddly to use

Like the rest of the Q8 e-tron range, the SQ8 has a very stylish interior. Differences between the SQ8 and the other models are subtle, with the sporty seats and their embossed ‘S’ logo being the most obvious change.

As soon as you thumb the start button, you’re greeted by Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and a stacked twin-screen infotainment system. All three displays are crisp and clear, although the colours are dark and muted. Understated and classy? Or dark and dull? Take a look and make up your own mind.

The driver’s display can be configured to show different information with alternative views. That’s a common feature these days, but the Audi system is more flexible than most and quite easy to use. The infotainment is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless connectivity is included so there’s no need to plug in.

If you do use the native system, it’s mostly impressive. The screen responds very quickly to every poke and prod, with haptic feedback to make touching the screen feel more like pressing a button. There’s also a rotary controller which saves adding grubby finger marks to the screen. It’s also easier to use without becoming distracted.

The menus are logically laid out, and for a system with such varied capabilities it’s not hard to get to grips with.

The same can’t be said of the second screen sitting below it, which takes care of the climate control. It’s very low on the dashboard, so you must take your eyes a long way from the road to view it. If physical buttons were mounted so low, you’d be able to reach out to find the right one once you were familiar with the layout. With touch-sensitive controls that’s not so easy – you have to press the right part of the screen or you’ll change the fan speed when you mean to change the temperature. It undeniably looks cool but it’s a pain to use.

Electric range, charging and tax

The SQ8 e-tron Sportback is a pure EV, so it has no exhaust emissions. Not all EVs are created equal, though. The massive 106kWh battery pack needs a lot of natural resources to manufacture, and the Audi isn’t the most efficient of EVs. It achieves 2.3 miles per kWh, which isn’t great – blame the powerful motors.

Does it matter that much? Well, it makes no difference to your tax bill whether you are a company car driver or a private buyer. But it will mean you pay more in electricity per mile to fuel the car, and unless you charge from renewables there will be more emissions created in producing the extra electricity you need to travel a given distance.

Any electric car is a bargain for business drivers. Fully electric cars sit in the 2% tax bracket for benefit-in-kind tax during the 2024/25 tax year. That will increase to 3% in 2025/26, but that’s still a tiny amount of tax to pay for such an expensive car.

Private drivers currently have no Vehicle Excise Duty to pay, either as a new car or in subsequent years.

Safety and security

The Audi Q8 was tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP back in 2019. It scored the maximum five stars, with a rating of 93% for adult occupant protection. The score for child occupant protection was 87%, pedestrian protection scored 71% and safety assist systems scored 73%.

Those scores make the Q8 one of the safest cars of its kind, along with the BMW iX and Tesla Model X, both of which also earned five stars from Euro NCAP.

Autonomous emergency braking is standard, along with lane-keep assist. Driver, front passenger, and side airbags are also fitted.

Reliability and problems

As a rule, electric cars go wrong less often than cars with internal combustion engines. There are fewer moving parts to wear out or break compared with a complex multi-cylinder engine.

So, it’s unlikely that a new SQ8 will let you down in a big way. There might be a few niggles to deal with, though. Audi doesn’t tend to challenge the best brands in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys, usually well beaten by the likes of Lexus.

The car comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is about the minimum you’ll get for a new car in the UK, but is in line with most premium car makers – except Lexus, which offers up to 10 years or 100,000 miles with annual servicing. You also get an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the battery.

Buy or lease the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £101,315 - £117,715 Avg. Carwow saving £12,499 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£89,512
Monthly
£1,307*
Used
£87,000
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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