Review: Audi Q8 (2018)
Looks good. Interior is superb. Packed with tech.
Expensive. Not quite as practical as Q7. Eight-speed tiptronic gearbox is frustrating.
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Audi Q8 (2018): At A Glance
It's taken Audi a little while to fill a gap in its range with a more expensive, less practical version of the Q7. But it's happened. Badged the Q8, Audi's new flagship SUV will take on the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, as well as the Range Rover Sport and Maserati Levante. Prices for the top-spec Vorsprung version start at £85,040.
At nearly 5.0-metres long, the Q8 is slightly shorter than the Q7 on which it's based yet 27mm wider. In terms of styling, we think Audi's done a good job of making this look a lot different to simply a Q7 with a sloping roofline.
Its coupe-style roofline means it's not quite as practical as the Q7, holding 605 litres of luggage with the rear seats left up (compared to the Q7's 770 litres). While the Q7 is available with seven seats, the Q8 will only come with five.
Space aside, the Q8's interior is typical Audi plushness. The brand's Virtual Cockpit replaces conventional dials, while there are practically no buttons. Two large central touchscreens provide access to the infotainment, navigation and heating. It's a similar layout to other recent Audi models including the A6, A7 and A8.
Only one engine will be available at launch - a 3.0-litre turbodiesel producing 286PS and 600Nm of torque. Badged the 50 TDI, the V6 uses Audi's eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, reaches 62mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 144mph. Mild hybrid technology means it can coast at speeds of between 34 and 99mph, automatically turning the engine off, while stop-start kicks in at speeds below 13mph.
A smaller 3.0-litre diesel with 231PS (badged the 45 TDI) and a 3.0-litre TFSI petrol with 340PS (55 TFSI) will follow early in 2019.
The Q8 is exclusively four-wheel-drive, with a mechanical centre differential splitting torque between the front and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60 as standard. When required, it can be shifted to the axle with the most traction.
Despite air suspension fitted as standard, the Q8 has a jarring ride - especially on the 22-inch alloys fitted to the top-spec Vorsprung model. It's not particularly sporty, either, but it's pretty quick in 50 TDI guise. The Q8's at its best covering long distances on smooth motorways, although technology such as four-wheel steering helps around town.
Ride aside, the Q8 offers typical plushness. It's expensive, but it makes a statement - and you'll love or hate the way it looks.
What does a Audi Q8 (2018) cost?
Audi Q8 (2018): What's It Like Inside?
Audi interiors are arguably the best in the business and the Q8 is exactly as you'd expect from the firm's flagship SUV. You won't find a cheap-looking finish anywhere, while the two central touchscreens give the Q8 a modern look, leaving few buttons for the essentials like starting the engine and turning the lights on.
Said touchscreens are easy to use and quick to respond, with the lower screen allowing you to control things like the air conditioning and allowing you to create shortcuts to features you use regularly (your favourite radio station, for example). The upper touchscreen, meanwhile, provides access to the audio system and displays the navigation.
The Q8 uses Audi's Virtual Cockpit in place of conventional dials. This is intuitive to use, allowing you to choose what you wish to prioritise during driving - be it driving information such as your current speed, or navigation info or even what's playing on the infotainment. It might sound needlessly complex, but it's actually very simple and a useful system to have.
One surprising feature of the Q8 is the amount of space on offer. Yes, the boot is marginally smaller than the Q7, and there are only five seats. But it'll suit most needs.
Sitting in the rear doesn't feel like the compromise you might expect. In fact, it almost feels like the Q8 is the ultimate car to be chauffeur driven in, such is the comfort and space on offer in the back. The rakish roofline doesn't impede space like it does in rivals, and large windows make it feel airy and pleasant.
Standard equipment from launch:
S line features 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air sport suspension, Quattro all-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential, Audi Drive Select, 48-volt mild hybrid, Audi HD Matrix LED headlights and dynamic front and rear indicators, LED daytime running lights, headlight washers, S line styling (S line bumpers, side ventilation grilles, side skirts and roof spoiler, Platinium grey front spoiler lip and diffuser insert with honeycomb grid in black), privacy glass, aluminium window trim, electric tailgate, electrically adjustable, heated, folding and auto-dimming door mirrors, front heated sport seats in leather and Alcantara, three-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel, illuminated door sill trims, stainless steel pedals, two-zone automatic climate control, LED interior ambient lighting, front centre armrest, front and rear floor mats, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch (including 10.1-inch full HD touchscreen and 8.6-inch full HD touchscreen), Audi Virtual Cockpit, Audi Sound System, DAB radio, Audi Phone Box with wireless charging, Audi Pre-sense Front, lane departure warning, parking system plus, rear-view camera, cruise control with speed limiter, keyless go, hill-hold assist, Isofix child seat mounting.
Vorsprung adds 22-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel steering, Titanium Black styling pack, panoramic glass sunroof, power door closure, front super sport seats in Valcona leather, heated front and rear seats, electrically adjustable front seats, flat-bottomed three-spoke leather steering wheel with shift paddles, extended leather pack, electrically adjustable steering colum, electric sunblind for rear door windows, electric luggage compartment, head-up display, Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, Audi Music Interface in the rear.
Child seats that fit a Audi Q8 (2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi Q8 (2018) like to drive?
From the second you take a seat in the Audi Q8, it feels pretty big. The door mirrors stick out, ready to be swiped off on country lanes, while the bonnet stretches out in front.
The Q8's got some tricks up its sleeves to make it feel smaller, however. One is the four-wheel steering (standard on the Vorsprung and a £1950 option on the S line). This makes the Q8 surprisingly agile on rural roads, while around town it reduces the turning circle by around a metre. Even on motorways it's a useful option, making the Q8 feel more stable when changing lanes.
You can select from five different drive modes, each tweaking things like the suspension and throttle response to best suit the situation. We found 'comfort' to be fine most of the time, dynamic mode doing little but making things a little too harsh and the steering pointlessly heavy.
There's no hiding the fact that the Q8's a big SUV. The ride quality is firm, especially on the Vursprung's massive 22-inch wheels, while the standard air suspension struggles to keep the car flat through bends. If you were expecting a large Audi SUV to rival the Porsche Cayenne in driving dynamics, this is not it.
It's a comfortable cruiser, though, and a clever 48-volt mild hybrid system helps save fuel by switching the engine off when you lift off the accelerator between 34 and 99mph. You'll only really notice this by keeping an eye on the rev counter, as the engine kicks in and out seamlessly.
Refinement levels are excellent, with bearly a grumble from the diesel engine making its way into the cabin. In fact, the size of the Q8 combined with its general refinement means it doesn't feel quite as quick as its 6.3 second 0-62mph time suggests - but watch the speedo as you hit the accelerator and it does indeed propel forwards with more than a degree of urgency.
That's once it's rolling, anyway. We've complained about Audi's eight-speed tiptronic gearbox in the A6 and A7, and it's just as infuriating in the Q8. Quick getaways from junctions are difficult, thanks to the slow response to the accelerator pedal at a standstill, and it's hard to drive smoothly.
|50 TDI||42 mpg||6.3 s||178 g/km|
What Cars Are Similar To The Audi Q8 (2018)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Family friendly, Four-wheel drive, Generous head room, High quality interior, Modern technology, Quiet cabin, Raised driving position, Rear legroom and Refined ride.
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