Audi delivers 123,000 EVs in 9 months – Here’s what it’s like to drive one

Cars

Audi Group’s electric vehicle deliveries increased 60% year-on-year – and if you want to know what driving one of the luxury carmaker’s fully-electric feels like, Forbes Australia can tell you.

In the company’s most recent earnings report, Audi Group revealed its revenue rose to 50.4 billion euro (AU$83 billion), with operating profits at 4.6 billion euro (AU$7.6 billion).

And its electric division experienced significant growth: overall, the company delivered a total of 1.405 million cars to customers in the first three quarters of 2023, which represents an increase of 16% on the same period the year before. Of that, 123,000 models were electric – representing a year-on-year increase of about 60%.

The company’s home market of Germany saw a 24% increase in electric vehicle (EV) deliveries year-on-year, while the UK and Italy saw an increase of 30% more vehicles. But the brand made particularly strong gains in the US, where the EV deliveries rose by nearly 50%.

The Audi Q4 e-tron, a fully-electric compact crossover SUV model, which launched in European markets in 2022 and is slated for a 2024 release in Australia, accounted for a significant share of the growth, Audi revealed.

Audi first revealed its all-electric series in 2018, with its first models arriving in Australia in 2020. In September this year, the luxury carmaker unveiled the newer fleet, featuring a host of new tech as well as increased battery range.

Test-driving the 2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron

Forbes Australia took the road less travelled from Melbourne to Bendigo to test out the latest from Audi’s EV lineup – the Q8 55 e-tron, which is a larger alternative to the Q4, and is also slated for a mid-2024 release in Australian markets. It comes with a starting price of $153,900 ($165,900 for the Audi Q8 Sportback 55 e-tron and Audi Q8 55 e-tron Launch Edition).

Design and Aesthetics

While the Q8 E-Tron 55 Quattro doesn’t deviate radically from Audi’s established design language, its aesthetics are a nod to traditional SUV contours, blended with subtle electric vehicle cues.

This design approach seems to aim at a market segment that favours the familiarity of traditional luxury SUVs over the avant-garde styling often associated with EVs. The vehicle’s updated grille and wheel designs are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, suggesting Audi’s cautious approach in this transition to electrification.

Something that admittedly took some getting used to was the optional virtual side mirrors. These mirrors are designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and prove beneficial in challenging weather conditions. Initially, adapting to the digital perspective of the vehicle’s sides might feel unusual, but it becomes more familiar with time.

Interior

Inside, the Q8 55 e-tron, the attention detail is hard not to miss. Noise insulation and aeroacoustics create an exceptionally quiet cabin, further complemented by the adaptive air suspension and quattro drive.

High-quality materials, ambient lighting, and ergonomic design in seating and controls, the pricetag becomes more justifiable the longer you drive.

Performance and Dynamics

Underneath its luxurious facade, the Q8 55 e-tron is a ripping combination of power and agility.

0-100 in 5.6 seconds, the Q8 has some real go to it.

Equipped with electric all-wheel drive and an advanced suspension system, it offers a dynamic driving experience across various terrains. The revised steering gear ratio and enhanced rear axle motor underscore its improved handling and responsiveness. With a boost output of 300kW and 664 Nm of torque, the SUV’s performance is both impressive and environmentally conscious.

Tech and Safety

Audi’s focus on technology and safety is evident in the Q8 55 e-tron. The dual touch/haptic screen MMI system, along with the Audi virtual cockpit, offers an intuitive and comprehensive infotainment experience. Of course, it comes with Apple Car Play as well.

Safety features are abundant, with an array of driver assistance systems powered by advanced sensors and cameras, ensuring a secure and confident driving experience.

Sustainable and Efficient Charging

The new 114kWh battery represents a significant step forward in EV technology. With enhanced cell chemistry, the Q8 55 e-tron boasts a faster charging time and a commendable 454km range under the WLTP standard.

Audi’s partnership with JETCharge and the Chargefox network facilitates convenient and sustainable charging options, further enhancing the appeal of the Q8 55 e-tron as a practical choice for daily use.

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