BMW iX vs Audi SQ8 e-tron: Electric SUV Showdown

electric SUV comparison

Two powerful electric cars: Can the BMW iX beat the older Audi SQ8 e-tron? We answer you in this comparison of the two premium SUVs.

One is already almost a classic among electric cars, the other has arrived later, both arrive with more than 500 HP: the BMW iX faces here the renewed Audi SQ8 e-tron.

The BMW set new standards for electric SUVs when it was launched in the summer of 2021. For the test, the Munich model is presented as xDrive50, with 524 hp and 765 Nm of torque.

The Audi has been on the market since March 2019. Audi has renewed this great electric vehicle at the end of 2022 by improving the powertrain, battery and charging speed. The SQ8 e-tron that we drive here is the sports version with a generous 503 HP and 973 Nm of torque.

Design

The interior of the Audi is typical of the brand, with two screens in the center: a 10.1-inch one at the top and another 8.6 at the bottom, mainly for heating and air conditioning.

We don’t really like the Audi’s rear-view mirror cameras (at an additional cost): they are in the door panels and are positioned too low. This forces the driver not only to turn his head but also to lower it. Furthermore, distances cannot be calculated well.

The BMW offers a spacious cabin with an almost square steering wheel and a 14.9-inch curved screen. Where the BMW surpasses the Audi is in voice control: it understands us better and can do more things.

The BMW’s seats can now be adjusted with buttons on the door, interestingly, the same as in the Mercedes. They could be a little bigger and offer more contour, but they are well padded.

The Audi’s sports seats also provide excellent support in the shoulder area and the headrests are not too inclined. A significant advantage of the Audi: second-row passengers sit 30 centimeters above the ground, albeit on very firm pads.

Tom Salt / AUTO BILD

Head and legroom in the rear of the BMW is generous, but the seating position is too low due to the large battery.

The trunk of the BMW has a capacity of between 500 and 1,750 liters, the opening (96 centimeters) is narrower than that of the Audi, which has a loading capacity ranging from 569 to 1,637 liters.

Tom Salt / AUTO BILD

Behavior

The Audi is equipped with many assistants. If you don’t like the steering inputs of the lane keep assist, it can be deactivated using a button at the top of the turn signal lever. Traffic sign recognition works reliably, just like in the BMW.

When driving, the torque vectoring effect of the two rear electric motors is noticeable. This means that the SQ8 distributes power tightly in milliseconds to the left and right, allocating more force to the outside tire of the corner if necessary, which is a reversal of the ESP principle, which brakes the inside wheels of the corner. the curve.

Tom Salt / AUTO BILD

In fast corners, the duo of electric motors makes you forget the curb weight of 2.7 tons (at the level of a Range Rover). The boat-like feeling of the BMW, with 1.97 meters wide and three meters of wheelbase, is softened by the smooth but not nervous steering and the directional rear wheels. The optional air suspension is also clearly comfort-oriented compared to the Audi’s, but it never leans too much.

The heavy iX doesn’t have the typical BMW thirst for curves, rather it behaves like a dynamic ship that goes from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. The top speed is 200 km/h (Audi: 210 km/h). In our test car, wind noises appear at just over 130 km/h, something that had not caught our attention in other vehicles of this type; probably an isolated case. But on comfortable stretches, the iX feels like a safe: stiff and creak-free, while the Audi squeaks slightly.

Tom Salt / AUTO BILD

Autonomy and charging

The BMW is clearly ahead: thanks to its lower consumption, it can travel 416 kilometers on one battery charge. The Audi only reaches 349 kilometers, but wins in “recharging.” In the DC fast charger, it has a large constant charging power between 20 and 80 percent, then it decreases. As a result, the time is slightly shorter in comparison: 31 minutes.

Unlike the Audi, the BMW draws 191 kW from the power cord early. Charging time from 10 to 80 percent is 35 minutes.

Tom Salt / AUTO BILD

Factors to decide the purchase

Place 2: Audi SQ8 e-tron. The electric sports car is dynamically superior, but the autonomy and towing capacity are scarce for this type of vehicle.

Place 1: BMW iX xDrive50. A comfortable cruise, with a navigation system and state-of-the-art technology. Capable of towing 2.5 tons.