Everything you need to know about the Audi Q8, the firm’s new flagship SUV which offers a rakish-looking and more luxurious alternative to the Q7
*** Note : £1 = $1.33 (correct at time of post)
- On sale: August
- Price from: £65,000 (est)
Luxury SUV coupés have become popular choices, as the success of models such as the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé and Range Rover Velar attests. Their popularity stems from the fact that they combine rakish, coupé-like looks with the class and most of the practicality of a conventional luxury SUV. However, Audi has never had a car to compete in this segment – until now.
The Q8 is Audi’s new flagship SUV, sitting above the Q7 – our 2018 Luxury SUV of the Year – in the firm’s line-up. It’s Audi’s most imposing SUV yet, with a sloping roofline, an aggressive new front end, larger-than-usual wheels and even hints of the influential Quattro sports coupé of 1980 in its styling – notably the bulging wheel arches. But what else do you need to know?
Audi Q8 dimensions
Although it’s based on the seven-seat Q7, the Q8 seats a maximum of five, and its external dimensions are significantly different from those of its stablemate.
For a start, the Q8 is almost 70mm shorter and around 30mm wider, giving it a sportier look and allowing engineers to tune the suspension to provide better roadholding and what Audi describes as “more dynamic” handling than that of the already highly capable Q7.
But perhaps the most noticeable difference is that the Q8’s roof is 40mm lower at its highest point – above the front doors – and slopes down more dramatically towards the rear.
Audi Q8 exterior design
The Q8 sports a new grille design that will appear on all future Audi SUVs. The six vertical chrome fins give the car a more upright stance, emphasising its size, and buyers can opt to have the grille surround finished in the car’s body colour, giving the front end a more cohesive look.
The Q8’s width is emphasised by a rear light cluster that runs all the way across the back of the car and uses a new LED arrangement to project a 3D shape.
The Q8 comes as standard on relatively normal 19in alloy wheels, but buyers can opt for wheels with a diameter of up to 22in.
Audi Q8 engines
Three 3.0-litre V6 engines are on offer at launch, all employing the fuel-saving 48V mild hybrid technology pioneered on the SQ7 performance model and subsequently rolled out elsewhere. There a choice of two diesels, with a power output of 228bhp or 282bhp, and one petrol unit producing 335bhp. However, the less powerful diesel isn’t expected to become available until several months after launch.
The 282bhp diesel hauls the Q8 from 0-62mph in a claimed 6.3sec and provides a top speed of 144mph. Audi hasn’t yet released any other of cial performance or fuel economy figures. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on all versions.
With its powerful 48V electrical system, belt alternator/starter and lithium ion battery, the Q8 can coast with its engine off for relatively long periods, at speeds of between 34mph and 99mph, to improve efficiency.
Audi Q8 technology
Also taken from the SQ7 is the Q8’s optional four-wheel steering system, which allows the rear wheels to turn slightly to help the driver manoeuvre the car in tight spaces and to boost stability at higher speeds. In the SQ7, this system is impressively effective and helps to mask the car’s considerable size.
In the UK, the Q8 comes as standard with adaptive air suspension. The driver can choose between seven driving modes, which provide a variety of settings for the suspension, steering and engine, ranging from focusing on comfort to agility and performance, as well as off-roading.
Audi Q8 dashboard layout
The layout of the Q8’s upmarket interior is very similar to that of the A8, which went on sale earlier this year. As with the latest A8 and A6 luxury saloons, it features a new control system for most of the major functions, spread across two large central touchscreens. The 10.1in upper display handles infotainment and sat-nav, while the 8.6in lower screen controls the air conditioning and seat temperature functions.
While these look modern and are delightful to use when the car is stationary, our experience with the A6 and A8 suggests that they’re much harder to navigate while driving and that selecting the right options can distract attention from the road. However, the Q8 also features Audi’s latest voice control system, which can do away with the need for using the screens if it works effectively.
Audi Q8 interior quality
One of the reasons for going to the dual-touchscreen layout is that it has allowed Audi’s designers to do away with most of the traditional buttons and switches, giving the interior an extremely uncluttered feel.
This, combined with fine leathers, a variety of chromed finishes and a build quality that is the benchmark at this price point, makes the Q8’s interior exceptionally inviting, both in the front and rear seats.
Audi Q8 space and practicality
Despite its lower roof, head room remains sufficient in both the front and rear of the Q8, even for very tall adults – something we’ve already put to the test ourselves. Rear leg room is reasonable, too, aided by the option of seats that can slide and recline.
The Q8’s boot has a capacity of 650 litres, extending to 1755 litres with the rear seats folded down. That compares favourably with the boots of its closest rivals, the BMW X6 (580-1525 litres) and Mercedes GLE Coupé (650-1720 litres), although it’s well short of the more practical Q7’s 770-1955 litres of space with its third-row seats folded away. In any case, you shouldn’t struggle to fit your luggage into the Q8’s boot.
Audi Q8 optional extra
The exhaustive options list includes four different types of leather and four types of seats and sound systems (crowned by a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen set-up), all of which can significantly affect the ambience of the interior, not to mention the car’s price.
In addition, you can choose from four driver assistance packages, ranging from a system that is capable of autonomously driving the car in traffic to one that warns of potential impacts and can contact the emergency services if it detects that you’ve had an accident. In total, 39 driver assistance systems are available on the Q8.
Audi Q8 pricing
With prices expected to start at around £65,000, the Q8 will be slightly more expensive than the X6 (£61,105) and GLE Coupé (£63,860). It’ll also be considerably more than the Q7, which starts at £51,425.
Order books for the Q8 are open now and deliveries will begin in August. Target Price discounts will be hard to come by initially, but, as a benchmark, the two year-old Q7 is now available with at least 6% off its list price.