The Audi Q8 is a luxurious range-topping SUV that is packed with technology and creature comforts. It boasts dynamic driving capabilities along with a clever mild hybrid set-up to help maximise fuel economy. It’s not cheap, but sometimes in life, you get what you pay for.
The goodStyle, handling, comfort, technology and performance
The badPrice especially with all the options factored in
Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro 286PS S line tiptronic
There is a brand new, all-singing, all-dancing luxury SUV on the scene from Audi and it comes gold-wrapped for any special occasion. It’s called the Q8 and its guaranteed to turn heads wherever it passes.
At present there are just two versions, both powered by a 286PS 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox – more powertrains and trim levels will follow a little later on. Currently, there is a Vorsprung edition or the S line, the latter of which we tested.
With a price-tag of £63,115 (£85,565 with all the trimmings added), the Q8 was delivered in a dazzling Dragon Orange colour that could possibly be spotted from the moon. In fact, look out on Google Earth in months to come and it’ll be there.
You would imagine that the Q8 would be bigger and bolder than the Q7, but in fact it’s 66mm shorter in length. However, it is 27mm wider and 35mm lower and that gives the Q8 its sportier, more dynamic appearance. It is also only available as a five-seater whereas the Q7 can cater for seven.
But this is the model that really ups the ante and turns on the razzle dazzle style. It resembles a super-sleek coupe that’s been beefed up to SUV proportions. Eye-catching features include a large black grille housing the Audi rings, sweeping light clusters with HD Matrix LED headlights, including dynamic front and rear indicators. There is privacy glass, twin tailpipes and 22-inch anthracite black alloy wheels. The Dragon Orange paintwork completed the look and is one of six metallic finishes customers can choose from, along with solid and pearl-effect options.
Move inside and it’s like stepping into a luxurious cabin adorned with the finest materials imaginable along with every creature comfort you could possibly wish for. The Valcona leather seats have a quilted effect that oozes class and there is a wealth of technology at your fingertips. Gone are the bulky switches, buttons and levers to control the likes of the air conditioning, navigation and on-board systems. In their place are two intuitive touchscreens that are simple to navigate on the move thanks to the haptic click feel to the controls.
And the Q8 features Audi’s excellent 12.3-inch virtual cockpit instrumentation screen behind the steering wheel that can be configurated to taste, displaying the likes of navigation instructions, phone contacts, music options and of course speed, revs and other read-outs.
The techno treats were plentiful on our test car and included a head-up display, a pitch perfect Bang and Olufsen premium sound system, soft-close doors, a 360-degree camera, a multi-coloured LED interior lighting pack, heated seats, four-zone deluxe climate control and a whole lot more besides.
When it comes to performance, the Q8 is a car that is proudly adorning the ‘8’ badge alongside fellow flagship models the A8 and R8, so it needs to be able to hold its own. And it does just that. It can power its way to 62mph from a standing start in just 6.3 seconds and it maxes out at 152mph. When it comes to economy, the Q8 is assisted by a rather clever 48-volt mild hybrid set-up that basically allows for coasting off-throttle. The result is a combined fuel efficiency figure of 41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 178g/km (on 22-inch wheels).
Out on the road, the Q8 feels beautifully poised and balanced no matter how uneven the surface. It’s a car that’s as happy eating up the motorway miles as it is whizzing along the twisting country lanes where the road holding is superb and any sign of body sway is kept to a minimum even when pushed hard into bends. Our car was also fitted with all-wheel steering which aids with agility on the open road.
The automatic gearbox is timed to perfection and the steering wheel mounted paddles offer extra control over the gear changes if required. Different driving modes called Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual also alter the car’s handling.
Any SUV needs to be practical and while the Q8 is not so versatile as its Q7 sibling, it still offers plenty in the way of space and convenience. There is ample room in the back for two adults to travel in style, but a third passenger would have to straddle their feet each side of a raised central tunnel.
Storage options on the car are impressive although the sharply raked design at the rear end of the car means the boot capacity of 605 litres is less than the Q7, but it’s still large enough to carry the luggage for a family holiday or golf clubs complete with trolleys. The 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats can be folded to increase the capacity even further and the powered boot opening is a bonus when laden down with shopping bags.
There are plenty of storage compartments scattered throughout the car to hide away goodies, such as the lockable glovebox, central box with wireless charger along with two of the car’s four USB ports and a SIM and SD slot. There are also cup holders, deep door bins and pockets in the backs of the front seats.
As one would expect, Audi has ensured the Q8 is packed with all the very latest safety features and driver aids to help protect occupants and pedestrians alike as well as preventing accidents from occurring in the first place. And it features the highly respected Audi quattro AWD system which will keep you moving when driving during adverse weather conditions.
All in all, the Q8 is a fabulously styled and feature-rich luxury SUV that can proudly hold its head high in Audi’s illustrious ‘8’ line-up.