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

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 vs BMW iX vs Jaguar I-Pace nose-on action

The contenders

NEW Audi Q8 e-tron 55 quattro Vorsprung

List price £99,800
Target Price £97,571

With a bigger battery and a longer official range than before, the renamed Q8 e-tron now looks to be competitive with its high-end electric SUV rivals in all areas

BMW iX xDrive50 M Sport

List price £102,755
Target Price £99,445

The iX has the most power of our contenders and the longest official range, plus it offers limo-like comfort in this xDrive50 form. But can it justify its high price?

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 R-Dynamic HSE Black

List price £77,495
Target Price £74,418

It's been around for a few years now and its range is no longer anything special, but there’s still a lot to like about the I-Pace – and it’s easily the cheapest of our contenders

When Prince decided to go by the name ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Prince’, it left fans bemused. He was undoubtedly the same musician, after all, although this new moniker did thrust him straight back into the spotlight and is arguably what he is most remembered for.

Audi Q8 e-tron rear cornering

Luckily, Audi’s decision to rename its E-tron electric SUV as the Audi Q8 e-tron is far more logical and straightforward to digest. You see, when the E-tron was launched back in 2019, it was the brand’s only electric vehicle (EV), whereas today there are five Audi EVs – with more on the way – so the new name helps buyers identify where the Q8 fits into the line-up.

What ’s more, unlike Prince’s renaming exercise, the changes to create the Q8 e-tron are more than superficial. In addition to more aggressive styling, all versions come with revised suspension settings, a little more power and a much larger battery than before. Indeed, the mid-range 55 quattro (tested here in luxurious Vorsprung trim) has an official range between charges of more than 300 miles.

As does the BMW iX xDrive50, a rival that combines attention-grabbing styling on the outside with a soothing and opulent environment on the inside. We've lined it up in our preferred M Sport trim.

BMW iX rear cornering

Our final contender is a familiar one that has been quietly going about its business since 2018. The Jaguar I-Pace was one of the first premium electric SUVs to be launched, packaging a long-range battery into something stylish, lavishly appointed and enjoyable to drive. So, has time been kind to this EV pioneer?


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Each of these cars comes with two motors (one on each axle for four-wheel drive), so they have plenty of muscle and you’ll find making a clean getaway remarkably easy.

The iX – by far the most powerful of the trio with 516bhp – can leap off the line with particular ferocity, bolting from 0-60mph in a sports car-rivalling 4.4sec. Despite having the least power (394bhp), the relatively light I-Pace zips off into the distance almost as eagerly, reaching 60mph from a standstill just 0.3sec later than the iX. In comparison, the 402bhp Q8 feels rather more measured in the way it deploys its power, even if a 0-60mph time of 5.4sec isn’t to be sniffed at.

Jaguar I-Pace rear cornering

Similarly, if you ask for a sudden burst of acceleration on the move (for example, to overtake a slow-moving vehicle), the iX gets the job done quickest and the Q8 requires the most time, but none of our contenders is likely to leave you with your heart in your mouth.

Don’t go thinking that the iX’s muscular performance comes at the cost of a poor real-world range, either. As well as having a huge battery (with a 105.2kWh usable capacity), it proved to be the most efficient on our test route, returning 2.6 miles per kilowatt hour (kWh), versus a disappointing 2.2 miles/kWh for the Q8.

In real-world use (in 10- 13deg C conditions), that equates to a predicted range of 273 miles for the iX and just 233 for the Q8, despite the latter having an even bigger battery (106kWh). The I-Pace was more efficient than the Q8, too, returning 2.5 miles/kWh, so despite having a relatively small (84.7kWh) battery, its 211-mile theoretical range isn’t massively off the pace.

Audi Q8 e-tron front cornering

Ride comfort is another iX strength, with it doing a brilliant job of isolating occupants from imperfections in the road surface. However, while the Q8 is noticeably firmer, it’s still far from harsh, and the upside of its tauter suspension is a particularly settled feel at higher speeds.

And the I-Pace? Well, it’s the only car here that doesn’t get air suspension as standard, but this was fitted to our test car as an option (£1120), along with 22in alloys (in place of the standard 20in wheels). In this spec, it feels slightly fidgety at times, yet its suspension also lacks that final bit of control that you get with the Q8, resulting in more of a pogo effect over speed bumps. Don’t get us wrong: it’s still pretty comfortable overall. But in this company it’s third best.

On the other hand, put all of these cars into their sportiest driving modes and head down a twisty road and it’s the iX that’s least at home. It feels the most top heavy, with the suspension struggling to control its tall, boxy body. And while it’s effortless to drive around town, thanks to light steering and the fact that the rear wheels can turn by a few degrees to reduce the turning circle, the iX leaves you feeling more aloof from the action than its rivals.

BMW iX front cornering

The meatier steering set-ups in the Q8 and I-Pace offer a better sense of connection with the front wheels. However, ultimately it’s the I-Pace that’s the sportiest, responding more quickly to inputs without feeling overly darty or nervous; you can have a surprising amount of fun.

Lift off the accelerator pedal in any of these cars and a regenerative braking system will put energy that would otherwise be wasted back into the battery, with the side effect that you slow down more quickly than you would in something powered by a petrol or diesel engine.

Unlike the I-Pace, the Q8 and iX have an adaptive setting that automatically decides how much of a braking effect to provide based on the traffic and road conditions, but the iX is alone in also having a mode that brings the car to a complete stop when you lift off the accelerator, so you rarely need to touch the brake pedal at all.

Jaguar I-Pace front cornering

The Q8’s brakes are the strongest when it comes to outright stopping power, but both the Q8 and the iX make it easy to come to a smooth halt in everyday driving, thanks to consistent responses from their brake pedals. The I-Pace isn’t quite as good in this respect, taking a little more time to get used to, although its regenerative and friction brakes work together much better than those on early examples of the car.

As you’d expect, all three cars are quiet compared with a typical petrol or diesel SUV, but the Q8 and iX are particularly good at shutting out wind and road noise. True, the Q8 suffers from some motor whine when you're accelerating around town, but this fades away when you pick up speed, so it's still more refined than the I-Pace, in which there's more road rumble to contend with on the motorway, along with some buffeting from around the windscreen.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

Page 1 of 5

Also consider