The Audi Q8 is the brand’s current flagship SUV. It has been positioned above the Q7, while it sits alongside the A8 luxury sedan. In terms of length, it’s not as long as the Q7 and comes with room only for five. However, it is wider, lower and comes made on the same wheelbase. Also, that roof has a very distinct rake in it, giving it an identity of its own. In our opinion, it looks way better than most SUV-coupes out there. The SUV also comes with multiple customisation options and thank Audi for that, for having brought it in as a CBU – in that way, all customers get the chance to spec their Q8 as per their choice. However, personalising your Q8 will also mean a longer waiting period.
Coupe looks, but better
In terms of design language, the Audi Q8 is something we’ve not seen before. But if you take a look at the new Q2, you’ll find a few cues inspired by its larger sibling. The Audi Q8 is one massive SUV, particularly when viewed from up-close. There are plenty of details that make it special, like the huge octagonal single-frame Audi grille, the pronounced lines all over and so much more. The frame, along with the slats and the surrounds for the lower intakes can all be customised. It gets modern Matrix LED headlights with a lovely DRL design, and the tail lights flicker when you unlock the SUV. Towards the back, you will notice flared rear fenders and that roofline is just perfect; it doesn’t slope too much; it just tapers nicely and flows directly into the C-pillar. The Audi Q8 we got our hands on came with 21-inch wheels, which do add to the wide stance of this machine. This is, by far, the best-looking SUV from Audi Cars we’ve seen.
Know about the engine
Inside the Q8, things are hugely impressive. There’s a lot of customisation at your disposal with 11 upholstery colour themes to choose from. The new dashboard is perhaps the most technologically advanced we’ve seen. It features a winged trim finish in gloss black that houses the dual MMI touchscreens. Quality, fit and finish are top-notch; it cannot be mistaken for being anything but an Audi.
The quality of plastics has come a long way since the first few Audi Cars launched in India many years ago. The Q8 features three screens: one for the Virtual Cockpit display, while the other two screens include the dual MMI infotainment unit, split in two screens. The one above gets media, phone and navigation while the screen below features climate control, seat functions and more. But this also means you’ll be taking your eyes off the road for bit. The Q8 also features haptic feedback that has a nice, tactile feel to it.
Everything looks the part on the inside too. Coming to equipment, it is loaded with a panoramic sunroof, adaptive air suspension, parking assistant, a 1,920W Bang & Olufsen hi-fi system, four-zone climate control, rear-wheel steering, a head-up display, seat ventilation and massage, HD Matrix adaptive LED headlamps and seat heating. The front seats are mind-boggling when it comes to comfort and offer multiple adjustments. Cooling, heating and massage functions can be accessed via the touchscreen. Leg room and headroom is vast at the rear.
Beneath the bonnet of the Q8 sits a 3.0-litre, turbo petrol V6, producing 335bhp and 500Nm of torque. Power can be felt building at a gradual pace; it isn’t sudden and the mid-range is not what you’d get from a V6 diesel engine. It doesn’t sound sporty when revved. The engine likes being dealt with in a very sedate manner and go from Dynamic to Comfort and you will notice how the relaxed the engine is. Adding to the great experience is ZF’s 8-speed automatic gearbox in this generation; it’s super-quick and shifts quietly. This is when you begin to understand just how refined the engine is, and the butter-smooth delivery will leave anyone impressed. Even the ride quality is brilliant, thanks to the air suspension. The setup isn’t too soft, but it isn’t firm either. We were surprised at the amount of grip available on these 21-inch wheels; these wheels do a good job in soaking up the rough edges.