As one of Audi's largest SUVs, you may have been considering it for your next family car. Let our review help you make your mind up!
Great standard safety features including emergency braking and lane departure warning
Respectable mpg with the 50 TDI
Automatic gearbox is a little slow to respond
Drivers have to rely on touchscreen with haptic feedback to control the infotainment system while driving, which can be distracting
When we say the Audi Q8 is an upmarket SUV, we mean it. The range-topping Audi Q8 - that’s Q for quattro, Audi’s four-wheel-drive system - is also ‘Q for quadruple-the-price’ of a standard SUV. But make no mistake, that abstruse letter ‘Q’ could also just as easily stand for quality - something that this car has in abundance.
In fact, in a market increasingly saturated with luxury SUVs like the Range Rover Sport, and prestige crossover coupes like the Volvo XC60 and the Porsche Cayenne, the new Audi Q8 still manages to dominate both the best family car and best luxury car classes. It’s not going to win any awards for its off-road performance, but its V6 turbo engine and mild-hybrid system make it a competitive choice when it comes down to running costs and there are plenty of high tech features to keep you entertained.
Let us be clear from the outset, if the main thing you’re looking for is space, the Audi Q8 probably isn’t going to be the car for you. Like the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe, this crossover-coupe sacrifices what would be the third row of seats for a shorter overall footprint (Check out the Audi Q7 car review to read about the Q8’s big brother). This also means that you’ve also got less boot space if your intention was to fold down the third row anyway. If the Q8 has previously caught your fancy, chances are you’ve been ogling that oblique roofline, which also comes at a price - reduced headroom for those sitting in the rear seats (though we’ll admit, the Q8 isn’t the worst in this department).
Overall however, if you’re looking for a car which balances sporty styling with practicality, the Q8 is a solid choice. It’s more frugal than most SUVs of this size and comes with tonnes of top tech and safety features, both free and optional, like Audi’s best-in-class infotainment system and adaptive cruise control.
The Q8 S Line may be the cheapest trim on offer, but it doesn’t skimp on features. You’ll get 21-inch ‘5-V-spoke S' alloy wheels, HD matrix LED headlights with lighting animations, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with the Audi MMI Navigation Plus infotainment system, Valcona leather sports seats and adaptive air sport suspension.
The next step up, the Edition 1 trim brings larger 22-inch ‘5-twin-spoke’ design alloy wheels, a ‘titanium black’ styling pack, a panoramic glass sunroof, 4-zone deluxe automatic climate control and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus.
Audi’s top tier Vorsprung trim is pretty much your home away from home. It comes with 22-inch ‘5-V-Spoke star’ design alloy wheels, all-wheel steering, ‘Super Sport’ seats in Valcona leather, front seat ventilation, a massage function and a Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound system. What more could you want?
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Audi is well known for its sleek aesthetic and the Q8 is no exception. It borrows much of its design language from sportier cars in the Audi range, including a giant octagonal grille and fierce headlights, which, when combined with its colossal size, is enough to chill the blood of any unsuspecting city car owners.
The Audi Q8 melds the practicality of an SUV with the agility and composure of a sports car.
Engine and Performance
The Audi Q8 is available with a choice of two engines: a 3.0-litre V6 50 TDI diesel and 3.0-litre V6 55 TFSI petrol. The petrol engine is naturally quicker, but the diesel makes more sense for most people because of its stronger performance at low revs and its greater fuel economy.
The diesel engine will see you from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 152mph. If that’s not fast enough, the petrol version can manage 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds and peaks at 155mph. One major gripe that we have is with the eight-speed automatic transmission that’s on each model. It can feel a little slow to respond, which is frustrating when you are trying to overtake.
Considering this is an SUV, it handles surprisingly well. There is minimal body lean through corners, and the Audi quattro all wheel drive setup ensures that there is always enough traction. You can reduce body roll even further with the optional air suspension set to Dynamic mode, but it’s never going to disappear on quick, sharp corners. Four wheel steering comes as an option, or as standard on the Vorsprung trim, which can make turn in a bit sharper and will of course reduce your turning circle - particularly useful when you’ve got a body this large.
Adaptive suspension comes as standard, and whether you opt for the 21-inch wheels or the larger 22-inch (which comes as standard on Vorsprung trim), the Q8 handles rough roads reasonably well. You will feel a bit of a judder going over potholes or expansion joints but it tackles irregular surfaces with more finesse than a BMW X6.
Audi Q8 Interior
The Audi Q8 is a premium car. While the interior is largely based on the Audi Q7 Estate, it also has a few unique features.
The top of the dashboard is adorned with a continuous air vent while the lower portion is finished in black and provides a high-end feel. The dash blends seamlessly with the infotainment system, giving the impression of a long, flowing display, which is enhanced by the ambient lighting in the Audi cabin.
The Audi Q8 Estate packs Audi’s latest dual-screen MMI touch system with Virtual Cockpit. This means there’s a total of 3 screens: a 10.1-inch central infotainment screen sits above a smaller 8.6-inch screen used to control things like heating and air con. As you’d expect, this eliminates the need for almost all buttons, resulting in a much cleaner cabin.
If you were a fan of the old buttons and knobs, this may come as a shock to you. You’ll likely find yourself aimlessly prodding and poking and pressing the wrong thing more than a few times, before a sudden blast of cold air teaches you the hard way that it’s not as easy as it seems to operate a touch screen while driving. That said, the touch screens are responsive and provide haptic feedback, just like you might get on your smartphone. For all that we might prefer a couple more physical buttons, we really can’t grumble at the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display behind the steering wheel, which can display your satellite navigation easily within your line of sight.
Other optional tech features include optional four-zone climate control, WiFi hotspot, a 360 degree camera system and front seats with massage and ventilation functionality. The highly-regarded Audi Tech Pack is also an additional extra.
The Audi Q8 Estate is a large SUV so naturally, it scores highly on practicality. Boot space is generous, and while this coupe-style crossover sacrifices a little room in the back, you’ll easily fit a family of five inside.
4,986mm L, 1,995mm W, 1,705mm H
The Audi Q8 is a big old beast, but it doesn’t follow the traditional Audi formula of “bigger number = larger size” - the Q8 is actually a bit shorter than the Q7. That being said, it’s probably not noticeable until you get the tape out.
Where you might notice the car’s slightly smaller footprint is in the boot. The Q7 Estate comes with a third row of seats as standard. Fold these down and you’ll have a whopping 865 litres of space. On the Q8 however, you’ll get 605 litres of boot space, which puts it somewhere between the BMW X6 (580 litres) and the Mercedes GLE Coupe (650 litres). The Vorsprung trim is the one to go for if your rear passengers don’t mind sacrificing a bit of legroom, as this will give you sliding rear seats. They also come with a 40:20:40 split functionality, so you can slide longer items down the middle without sending one of your passengers packing.
As far as passengers are concerned, the Q8 is just as spacious as the Audi Q7. The distance between the front and rear axle is the same, so rear seat passengers will have just as much leg room. The sloping roofline means that the headroom is a little less generous in the back, but it’s still more than enough for most occupants.
The Audi Q8 achieved a top 5* rating from Euro NCAP, thanks to an impressive selection of standard active safety equipment, including automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning if you settle for the Vorsprung trim or decide to upgrade to the Tour Pack, you’ll also get Audi ‘Pre Sense’, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.
Don’t expect show-stopping running costs from the Audi Q8 - it is a two tonne behemoth after all.
The 3.0-litre 50 TDI Quattro with mild-hybrid technology claims 33.2 mpg, which is competitive for its class. The 3.0-litre 55 TFSI manages a respectable 25.9 mpg.
The S line 3.0-litre sits in the lowest insurance group of the bunch, 47E. Vorsprung trim and the more powerful 55 TFSI petrol both sit in insurance group 49E. Not cheap!
|Cheapest Trim||Lowest Insurance Group||RRP|
It’s hard to say whether the new Audi Q8 Estate will stand the test of time when it comes to reliability. Generally, however, Audi performs below average in this category, placing 34th out of 40 manufacturers on the Reliability Index.
The standard three-year/60,000-mile Audi warranty isn’t quite as generous as the three-year/unlimited-mileage warranties offered by Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but for a small fee this can be extended.
Audi offers three levels of scheduled servicing with their ‘Complete Plan’.
The standard ‘Service’ will cover all of your services within the first three years, while the ‘Service and Maintenance’ package includes cover for your engine, suspension, gearbox and brake components. You’ll also receive three years’ breakdown cover as a bonus.
Audi’s top-tier plan, ‘Service, Maintenance and Tyres’, also includes replacement tyres, wheel alignment and puncture repairs.