New Audi Q8 e-tron vs BMW iX vs Jaguar I-Pace: interiors

Any of these luxurious electric SUVs would be great to spend a little time with – but which should you buy? Let’s find out...

Audi Q8 e-tron dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Getting comfortable behind the wheel is extremely easy in any of these cars, thanks to a wide range of electric seating adjustment and fundamentally sound driving positions. Low dashboards and long, steeply raked front windscreens help the BMW iX and Jaguar I-Pace to feel open and airy, while the Audi Q8 e-tron has a cosier ambience, because it cocoons you with a higher window line and dashboard.

Despite these differences, forward visibility is great in all three, but when it comes to the view out the back, the I-Pace is the only car here without a rear window wiper. That can be a pain in bad conditions, but at least it – like the Q8 – comes with rear-view and 360-degree cameras, as well as front and rear parking sensors, to help out when manoeuvring at low speeds. The iX comes with a rear-view camera and parking sensors, but you have to add the £1045 Parking Assistant Plus Pack for a 360-degree view.

The I-Pace also has a central rear-view mirror that can display live images from a roof-mounted camera. Switching to this feed can be handy when a tall back seat passenger is blocking the rear window or when the boot is loaded to near the roofline. Mind you, focusing on the digital image can take time, so we reckon you’ll find it easier to mostly use the conventional mirror.

BMW iX dashboard

At least you get the choice, which isn’t the case with the side-mounted cameras in the Q8, because these replace conventional door mirrors entirely on Vorsprung models. The cameras’ smaller size helps to reduce wind noise, but judging the distance or approaching speed of following cars can be tricky, due to the zoomed-in images they display. The screens’ positioning on the insides of the doors is also poorly judged, with the one on the driver’s side in particular being too close and low down to easily glance at.

All of our contenders come with full LED headlights for a clear view at night. The Q8’s and I-Pace’s are adaptive, changing their high beams’ shape automatically to minimise glare for other road users, whereas you have to fork out £2100 for ultra-bright Laserlights to get this function in the iX.

Each car comes with a head-up display that projects speed and other useful information directly into the driver’s line of sight onthe windscreen. They all have digital instrument panels (as opposed to conventional analogue dials) too, with the Q8’s being
the most configurable.

Jaguar I-Pace dashboard

That car features a separate touchscreen below its main infotainment screen for climate control functions. The I-Pace has more traditional physical rotary controls that mainly adjust the temperature, but you can also push or pull them to access the heated seat and fan speed settings. They’re easier to use than the Q8’s screen and keep the button count low.

The iX does without separate air-con controls, so the dashboard has a minimalist look to it. However, while the temperature controls are easy to find at the bottom of the infotainment touchscreen, you have to delve deeper into the menus to make further adjustments, which can be distracting when driving.

Audi is well known for its classy, minimalist interiors, and the Q8 fully lives up to this reputation. However, the iX’s feels just as well built, and if anything offers the greater wow factor. Both have the edge over their British rival, but everything in the I-Pace still feels really well screwed together, so the difference isn’t as big as you might imagine, given Jaguar’s questionable record for interior quality over the years.

Infotainment systems

Audi Q8 e-tron

Audi Q8 e-tron infotainment touchscreen

The Q8 e-tron’s 10.1in touchscreen has sharp graphics and responds quickly to swipes across the screen. Making a selection requires more of a hefty prod than in the other two, but you get haptic feedback to confirm your choice. Some of the sub-menus initially take a while to find, but the main icons are big and easy to hit, while handy shortcut keys are stacked close to the driver. The 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system is clear and punchy.


BMW iX infotainment touchscreen

The iX’s system looks impressive, with a huge (14.9in) curved display. The graphics are sharp, while a rotary controller between the seats aids usability when you’re driving. The main app selection screen is inundated with small icons, so finding what you want can be tricky, although there’s a search function to help with this. The standard 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system includes speakers in the front headrests and is wonderfully immersive.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace infotainment touchscreen

The I-Pace’s 10.0in touchscreen is quick to respond to inputs and the menus are simple to grasp, with helpful shortcut icons on the sides of the screen. However, this isn’t the best application of this system, because you can’t view as many icons in one go as you would in a Range Rover (which runs the same basic operating system but has a larger, squarer screen), so it requires more scrolling. The 11-speaker Meridian sound system could also be clearer at high volume.

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