Test: Electric to diesel – Audi e-tron Sportback 55 meets Audi Q8 50 TDI – Car tests

Premium The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 and Audi Q8 50 TDI are among the largest and nicest SUVs you can buy, but while one invests in a three-liter diesel, the brand brother counters with electric motors and electric four-wheel drive. Which is the better choice?

Despite their differences, our two duelists have a number of things in common: both are comfortable, luxurious but above all massive SUVs with giant outer dimensions and have a service weight as a minor choice.

The Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro weighs in at an impressive 2,317 kg, which almost feels like it’s a bit malnourished when we look at the e-tron’s fact sheets. Elsuven beats its combustion brother by more than 300 kg (2,653 kg).

Once you stand in front of the cars, however, you will not be particularly surprised by the weight. Behind the huge Q8 grille hides a five meter long SUV that measures 1.7 meters vertically (ground clearance 20 cm) and has a wheelbase of three meters.

Underneath the sheet metal screw there is also a large three-liter diesel engine, four-wheel drive, an advanced chassis, rear axle steering and 22-inch wheels and a lot of electronics.

The e-tron is at least as advanced as the combustion suv but does not feel as massive. Under the coupe-like Sportback shell, on the other hand, is a large battery pack with a capacity of 95 kWh embedded in the floor that tips the scales at about 700 kg.

Smooth power development without a humming engine, comfortable air suspension, low center of gravity and low-positioned and comfortable seats – driving the e-tron is a very pleasant experience.

Each shaft is driven by an asynchronous electric motor, where the front leaves 185 hp and 309 Nm and the rear 225 hp and 335 Nm. It gives a total system power of 408 hp and 664 Nm, but only for eight seconds with activated boost function. Normally you have to settle for 355 hp and 561 Nm.

The torque is transmitted to the axles via planetary gears, distributed wheel-selectively via an electronic control unit and adapted to the selected driving setting. An electronic four-wheel drive system, even if the e-tron is in most cases only driven by the rear electric motor.

The driveline in the Q8 is of the slightly simpler kind: here works a three-liter V6 diesel with 286 hp and a maximum torque of 600 Nm (from 1,750 rpm) which distributes the power to all wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a central differential (power distribution 40/60). There is also a 48-volt mild hybrid system with stop / start function and a lithium-ion battery above the rear axle.

This means that the Q8 can “sail” with the engine off like the e-tron or recover energy intelligently with up to 12 kW as long as the adaptive cruise control is activated.

The battery capacity of 95 kWh is seldom enough for 300 km.

“A lot of frustration is also created by e-faith’s recurring system failures and the time-consuming resuscitation attempts.”

Admittedly, it sounds impressive but the bitter truth is that Q8 does not have a chance against the e-tron at the red lights. While you still get annoyed at the powerlessness of the angle six at low revs when it turns green, the e-tron pulls away without the slightest delay and without power outages.

It does not matter if it is 100, 140 or even 160 km / h – the lighter Q8 only sees the electric car’s taillights. Up to 180 km / h, the e-tron leads with a full four seconds in total silence and it is only when the cars approach their top speed that the Q8 can catch up and pull away. While the diesel sprints to 241 km / h, the e-tron’s speed is limited to 200 km / h.

The effortless power development in the e-tron has been combined with a suitable, adjustable air suspension that is standard in the Sportback model. The air bellows provide smooth suspension comfort in all positions, even in the sports setting.

John Eriksson

“The dream would be to transplant the driveline”

The well-being factor is really high in both of these Audisuvar. I would not say no to any of them. In terms of appearance, I think the Q8 is nicer to look at with its slightly sharper folds and lines, as well as the more marked grille that gives the model a clearer face. The dream had really been to be able to transplant the electric driveline from the e-tron into the Q8’s nicer suit.

For the e-tron is a damn good car with high electrical skills. Sure, it can not be refueled at all as fast as an internal combustion car, but it licks power with a high, even effect far up in the battery’s degree of filling in a way that no other existing electric car does. Therefore, it is perfectly possible to drive long distances, at least in the areas where there is a fairly well-developed charging network. We have shown just this when we drove the e-tron SB 55 quattro 75 miles in one day together with six other electric cars (see ams number 5/2021), when the undersigned also took Audin to victory in that race.

I choose the e-tron as the electric car works with my travel needs and because I like its fine comfort. The financial calculation also looks so much better that I can not justify another choice.

6 km / h is the difference in the double lane change in favor of rear-wheel drive Q8. In slalom discipline, on the other hand, both are almost as fast.

That kind of harmony, however, does not exist in Q8. Despite the fact that it also has air bellows, transverse joints are clearly felt in the cabin. Q8 wants to be the sportier alternative and therefore constantly informs about the condition of the roadway, not only in the city but unfortunately also on the highway, which impairs the comfort level somewhat.

Thanks to its rear axle steering, however, the Q8 feels surprisingly agile. It is impressive to say the least how the two meter wide SUV gets through the curves. Here, the heavier e-tron has a clear disadvantage and it loses its grip earlier than the diesel car. Due to the weight, the electric car tilts more than the competition and above all exposes the rear seat passengers to proper lifting on a wavy surface.

The E-tron is thus the clearly faster but also most comfortable alternative, but the slightly reluctant Q8 can, on the other hand, pick up a lot of points in terms of consumption and range.

The combination of a frugal diesel-powered V6 that barely consumes more than 11 l / 100 km for inspired driving and a massive 85-liter tank, is simply impossible to beat for an electric car, at least in today’s situation. If you drive reasonably sensibly, the Q8 can handle more than 100 km on a tank without effort.

Just like the electric car, the Q8 offers fine, high-quality sports seats, matt aluminum décor and an interior in dark tones.

E-tron’s test consumption was measured at 33.8 kWh / 100 km, which gives a mediocre range of only 281 km despite the impressive battery size. Reaching 500 kilometers should be extremely difficult to achieve, even for the most avid eco-driving activists.

A lot of frustration is also created by e-faith’s recurring system errors and the time-consuming resuscitation attempts. If you want to protect yourself, you must make sure that you have your mobile phone charged in order to be able to search for the nearest charging station via an app.

However, there is a risk that the car does not even want to open the charging door if the IT system has failed again. Once the door is opened, you can of course forget about the preconditioning of the battery.

On a wallbox, the e-tron is charged via the onboard charger with up to 11 kW, a stronger charger that can handle 22 kW is available for purchase. Fast charging takes place with up to 150 kW. Maybe not as fast as an e-tron GT (270 kW), but fast enough.

The three-liter diesel is tired at low revs and also sounds a lot but is very economical considering the weight and size class.

“Given the evolution of the fuel price, it’s far from free to drive the Q8, despite the reasonably stingy engine.”

After just over 23 minutes, you have filled 80 percent of battery capacity. Refueling a diesel car, on the other hand, takes a considerably shorter time.

When it comes to equipment level and material quality, however, the differences are much smaller. Both SUVs feel high quality and well equipped. Our e-tron has the Proline package and S line interior while Q8 has the S line sports package. Both thus offer fine sports chairs of high quality, matt aluminum decor and an interior in dark tones. As usual, the list of options is infinitely long.

Q8 is the more functional and practical choice of the duelists. The rear seat is slidable by ten centimeters and the luggage net, which can also be attached behind the front seats, is only available here. The passenger compartment is gigantic, and the towing weight is an impressive 2.8 tons.

The cars, on the other hand, offer approximately the same amount of cargo space. Even with the rear seat folded down, the difference is at most 100 liters.

The electric motors in the e-tron sit on each shaft and together develop 408 hp and 664 Nm with activated boost function.

What does the cost chapter look like then? The Audi e-tron 55 quattro costs at least SEK 929,500 before the environmental bonus of SEK 70,000. Even after the bonus, it is considerably more expensive than the Q8 S line 50 TDI quattro, which costs from SEK 820,700.

Given the latest development in fuel prices, however, it’s far from free to drive the Q8, despite its reasonably economical engine. Here, the e-tron is significantly more affordable, as long as you avoid mostly charging the car along the road. In addition, Q8 has a higher tax – an expense item you must not forget.

In the end, however, it is the more expensive e-tron that wins the race thanks to much lower ownership costs.

The victory also goes to the e-tron, but not only thanks to cheaper economy, but also thanks to the high comfort and safety, as well as the ability to sprint away from the competition without problems.

The E-tron is an excellent electric car as long as it does not suddenly stop due to the IT bugs.

Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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