We’re only a few days after Audi revealed their first-ever fully electric crossover in the e-tron, which now joins a new and growing category of vehicles that also includes the likes of the Mercedes EQC, Jaguar I-PACE and even the Tesla Model X.
None of these models, including the e-tron, are the same size. What unites them both mechanically and in spirit is the fact that they all rely on fully-electric powertrains. It’s the way of the future.
Alas, we’re here to talk mostly about looks, which is where things could start getting a tiny bit confusing if you’re trying to decide between Audi’s brand new e-tron and the just as new Q8. Both models share roughly the same design language, albeit with more than enough minor differences, but also comparable dashboard designs with similar on-board tech.
Which one looks better?
Let’s forget for a moment that the e-tron offers you something the Q8 can’t and focus only on styling.
What may not be immediately evident from these images is the fact that the e-tron is smaller than the Q8. In fact, at 4,900 mm (193 in) long, 1,930 mm (76.3 in) wide and 1,666 mm (65.5 in) tall, the e-tron is roughly the same size as a Range Rover Velar, meaning it sits somewhere between a compact luxury SUV and a mid-size one – larger than a Q5, smaller than a Q7.
On a side note, I would argue that Audi were smart to position their all-electric crossover in this newly created sub-segment, as customers are more likely to pay large sums of money for cars that looks more imposing – as opposed to what Mercedes have done with the EQC, which is compact (premium) in size, like the GLC.
Of course, if you want space, the Q8 is still the better choice, measuring 4,986 mm (196 in) in length, 1,995 mm (78.5 in) in width and 1,705 mm (67.1 in) in height. You can also argue that the Q8 has a more dynamic appearance, sleeker headlights, a more fastback-like rear and even a slightly more sloped roof, despite being taller than the e-tron overall.
There’s no substitute for luxury
Because the Audi Q8 belongs to a more, let’s say, distinguished segment, its interior is a little more appealing than the e-tron’s. You might not even see it at first, but look close and aside from the differences in overall design, you can see better quality materials on the upper dashboard and center console.
On top of that, the Q8 has a more spacious cabin, which is always a plus in terms of both comfort and safety.
Now, what the Q8 doesn’t have is the e-tron’s fancy Virtual Mirror setup, which consists of small cameras replacing traditional mirrors, sending live images to a pair of displays embedded in the door panels. If you’re any sort of a tech geek, you have to admit, they’re pretty neat.
Also in the e-tron’s favor is the placement of the center console screens, which are slightly oriented towards the driver, unlike the ones in the Q8.
A rational verdict
Unlike with our Mercedes EQC vs GLC dilemma from a few weeks back, opting for the Audi e-tron over the Q8 really seems like the way to go. It’s not that much smaller than the Q8, it’s almost as luxurious and it’s fully-electric. With Audi having already announced that the e-tron will start from $74,800 in the U.S., it means it should also be similarly priced to the Q8, which in turn shouldn’t cost a lot more than its GLE Coupe and BMW X6 rivals.
Visually though, we might have to give this one to the Q8. What do you say?