Audi has established itself in the SUV segment with the compact Q2, mid-sized Q3 and Q5, and the current flagship Q7 – all of which are leading competitors in their markets.
So, in an attempt to pull more customers away from its German rivals, BMW and Mercedes, Audi has introduced the coupe-inspired, Q7-sized Q8.
Introducing fresh design details, such as a large front grille and bolder cladding, the Q8 is forging a new path for the ‘Q’ branch and does certainly stand out from the less-than-handsome competitors.
But can Audi work their magic on this new model and stake a claim to the crown of best coupe-turned-SUV? We take a look…
Audi has limited the engines available from the model’s launch to just one – the 50-badged 3.0-litre diesel that produces 286bhp and 600Nm of torque. All of the powertrains for the Q8 are electrified as part of a mild-hybrid setup that allows the car to coast between 34mph and 99mph, as well as help save fuel by shutting the engine off with the start stop function. Here, it’s paired to an eight-speed automatic and Audi’s renowned quattro all-wheel drive.
As this is the most powerful diesel that will be on offer with the model, the Q8 can sprint from 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 144mph. A less potent version of the 3.0-litre diesel and a 3.0-litre petrol will be released later in the model’s lifespan.Enquire Now on a new Audi
Ride & Handling
Surprisingly, the steering was a bit heavier than you would expect from an Audi, but it offered a more cruise-focused feel much like the Q7. It doesn’t turn with as much vigour as its rivals, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We also drive the model with air suspension fitted – which will be offered as in a sportier guise for UK customers – and it was able to soak the minimal bumps and ruts of the Chilean highways we tested it on with ease. Body roll was also kept in check impressively. Audi has made sure that the Q8 is a refined cruiser, and that has meant a lot of acoustic insulation has been added for a quiet and relaxed experience.
Interior & Equipment
As with the A8, A7 and A6, the Q8 comes with Audi’s new premium cockpit setup that is centred around two central touchscreens in the dashboard – which provide haptic feedback so you know what you’re pressing on the move. All of the media is sorted on the top screen, while the air conditioning and other car controls are sorted on the lower one. The satellite navigation employed will also learn your regular routes and then warn you of any traffic.
All of the equipment is pointed towards the driver and fitted in premium materials, so it is a nice place to sit when you’re on the go. The cabin also feels very spacious, despite the sloping roof line, and tall adults can comfortably sit in the back without feeling squashed. Boot space is good too, with the standard layout offering 605 litres and when the back seats are flat, that increases to 1,755 litres of load space.
Coming with two trim levels at launch – S Line and Vorsprung – the Q8 comes handsomely equipped, with LED headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera, wireless phone charging box, a powered tailgate, climate control and keyless go all included from the base specification.
The Vorsprung trim will be introduced shortly after the model’s public launch, and will add deep-dish 22-inch alloys, sportier heated seats, additional leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, power-closing doors and a head-up display.
It’s safe to say that – as a premium SUV – the Q8 isn’t cheap to start off with. Prices start from £65,040 and will only appeal to those browsing in the top-end of the SUV segment. Vorsprung models start from £83,040 – thanks to the raft of additional premium features on top of the already-plentiful specification.
The 3.0-litre diesel fitted can achieve 42.7mpg and 172g/km CO2, which is similar to its rivals and is respectable considering the size and performance of the car.
In a segment that has a lot of competition on offer, the Q8 stands out as a more handsome and dynamic choice – which will appeal to some more than others. Audi has ensured that its latest addition to the Q line-up is as well packaged and designed as the rest, and is comfortable, practical and filled with the latest tech. This is yet another niche that Audi has decided to fill, but – as with many of the others before it – the Q8 is an excellent model that can appeal to plenty.Test drive a new Audi