Audi has taken the wraps off its newest SUV, the Audi Q8 – a rakishly styled counterpart to the Q7. Primarily intended to appeal to Chinese and American buyers, the car will also make its way to the UK, where it’ll square up against cars like the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLECoupe.
The Q8 shares its mechanical underpinnings with the Q7, but is shorter and wider, with a lower roofline and a sporty design that helps set it apart from its rivals. The car’s body will feature plastic cladding on lower-spec versions, with the more expensive S line getting body-coloured wheelarches and matte grey trim. Alloy-wheel options range from 19 to 22 inches.
Inside, the Audi Q8 takes cues from the A8 saloon. Two central infotainment screens are centrally mounted and control the bulk of the car’s systems. Audi’s digital Virtual Cockpit also features – replacing traditional dials behind the steering wheel – while two seating layouts (four or five seats) and three types of leather trim will be available. The car’s seats can slide to give more boot or leg space, with boot capacity measuring 605 litres, or 1,755 litres with the seats folded down.
All Q8s will be offered with quattro four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, powered by a range of electrified petrol and diesel engines. Just one will be offered from launch: a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 282bhp and a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds, badged as the Q8 50 TDI. A less powerful 45 TDI with 228bhp will arrive in early 2019, while a V6 petrol 55 TFSI will follow, with 335bhp. All models are mild hybrids, with extended stop-start and coasting functionality to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Three suspension options will be offered – a normal spring and damper set up and a pair of air-suspension systems. Audi Drive Select will also be offered, featuring seven driving modes to adjust the suspension and response of the steering and engine to the situation or conditions at hand. Four-wheel steering also features to improve both low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.
A total of 39 driver-assistance systems will be available on the Q8, with most bundled together in packs on the options list. Tour Assist brings adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, speed-limit adjustment, while Emergency Assist checks that you’re awake and alert at the wheel; if it decides otherwise, the system can safely bring the Q8 to a stop if required. Park Assist Plus adds a 3D view camera and a remote parking system that works without a driver in the car, while the Trailer Assist pack helps with the tricky art of reversing a trailer.
Prices for the Audi Q8 haven’t been released yet, but we estimate that the entry-level model will start at around £50,000-55,000. It’s highly likely that high-performance SQ8 and RS Q8 models will follow in due course.
By: John Mcllory, Car Buyer