The 2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron is simply one of the nicest, most straightforward luxury EVs you can buy. It’s not a whiz-bang, party-trick powerhouse of tech, but that’s completely fine. Its virtues such as an ultra-quiet cabin, sumptuous materials and lovely tactile surfaces combine to make it a car that I’d love to commute in, run errands with or otherwise just enjoy being inside.
Audi refreshed this model for 2024, going so far as to change its name from E-Tron to Q8 E-Tron. I went on the first drive to check out Euro-spec versions of the new car, and fellow editor James Riswick tried it out as a day-tripper through California. We both found it to be a substantially improved car, though the interesting bit there is that it’s practically the same inside as it was before the refresh. Yet somehow, it’s still one of my favorite interiors out there.
One big factor to its success is the utter silence in the cabin. Car and Driver measured it at only 64 decibels at 70 mph, which is only two decibels louder than a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. That’s an astounding feat of noise isolation, and that also makes it an astounding feat of luxury. It’s rather easy to be distracted by augmented reality navigation or fancy “Energizing” programs these days, but never count out old-school silence as one of the most important features of any luxury vehicle. And for some comparison, the last Tesla Model Y Car and Driver tested came in at 70 decibels, which may not sound big on paper, but that’s a very noticeable noise level difference in practice.
The old-school luxury wins keep piling up when you go to press the luxuriously damped buttons, twist any of the clicky scroll wheels or press the haptic-touch displays. Audi may have eliminated a whole lot of buttons with its responsive and intuitive stacked screen infotainment setup, but the feedback from the screens and any other touch-haptic control nearby is pure butter. That’s rather in keeping with the way the Q8 E-Tron drives, steers and handles, too. “Smooth” is the operative word here, and there really isn’t a single interaction you can have with the car that doesn’t feel smooth, right down to the funky-but-oh-so-satisfying toggle shifter.
Beyond the buttons, Audi continues to delight with its interior color options. The one shown in most photos here is the Launch Edition for 2024 that comes with Flint Gray upholstery, a black-gray two-tone door and dash combo and orange accents throughout. That orange used for the piping and stitching is an absolute delight, and the wide array of materials used in often-touched areas encourages you to explore the slight whimsy of this interior’s design. Of course, the Launch Edition is the most expensive version of the Q8 E-Tron. Other trims offer black, brown or white interiors, and you can have some real fun if you pair the gorgeous Madeira Brown metallic paint with the Okapi Brown interior (combo shown below, top row). Another honorable mention goes to combining Plasma Blue with the Pearl Beige interior (also below, bottom row) that feels delightfully coastal.
One big negative for me are the odd blank spaces (below, right) where Audi’s digital side-view mirror displays would go. Those aren’t legal in the U.S. (and probably won’t be for a long while to come), so it’s a shame that we’re left to deal with unsightly blank spaces. That’s probably going to be one of your only visual complaints from the driver’s seat of the Q8 E-Tron, though.
The seats, meanwhile, are nice to look at, are quite comfortable for long stretches of time thanks to lots of adjustability and even offer a massage function in the Prestige trim.
Rear-seat passengers should be nearly as happy with four-zone climate control and a massive amount of legroom. Headroom is chopped a little in the Sportback tester I have, but there’s still plenty of space for an average-height adult. The Q8 E-Tron Sportback’s cargo area is also mighty expansive and offers both additional underfloor storage and a spare tire, which is rare in the EV world. I wish there were more room in the frunk, though it’s plenty of space for the charge cord.
The Q8 E-Tron’s interior is truly one of the car’s highest points. I’d rather spend time with it than a Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and its Hyperscreen. I could say the same when pitting it up against others like the Cadillac Lyriq or Jaguar I-Pace. And yeah, neither the Tesla Model X nor Y can hold a candle to the luxury that is the Q8 E-Tron’s interior. Its EV credentials and overall performance are another story, but there’s no arguing with just how lovely it is inside Audi’s flagship electric SUV.