Audi's Q family gets new flagship model

Hands on with the Audi Q8.

Audi’s Q-family of SUVs now has a new flagship model, the sophisticated and technology-rich Q8.

The German maker has competitors such as the Mercedes GLE and BMW X6 squarely in the cross-hairs, along with Maserati Levante, Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover models. First customer deliveries will start around mid-January 2019, though order books are open.

Initially, there is only one variant, the 55 TFSI Quattro equipped with a 3.0-litre V6 twin-scroll turbo-petrol engine that pumps out 250kW and 500Nm and drives to all wheels via an eight-speed tiptronic auto. The official 0-100kph sprint time is 5.9 seconds.

To increase engine fuel efficiency (saving up to 0.7 litres/100km), the petrol engine is assisted by a mild-hybrid drive system via a 48volt belt-alternator-starter unit connected to the crankshaft. The system includes a 48volt lithium-ion battery and DC/DC converter in the rear of the vehicle.
By mid-2019 it will be joined by the 50 TDI Quattro model powered by a 210kW, 620Nm, 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine also with mild-hybrid drive.  List price on both models is $128,900.

The Q8 combines SUV practical virtues with four-door coupe body styling and luxury car appointments. It’s wider, lower and shorter than sister model Q7 with which it shares wheelbase dimensions. There’s generous space inside, but unlike Q7 it has five seats only rather than seven.

Audi Q8 rear

New exterior styling including frameless side windows, bold single-frame grille of eight side design, large front air intakes, new design LED headlights, sloping roofline, and ‘quattro blister’ flared wheel arches give the Q8 a more modern, assertive and sporty look than the Q7.

The sleek, stylish new interior takes the brand’s reputation for quality finish to a higher level again. Like the A8 luxury saloon, Q8’s interior includes some pretty sophisticated technology including MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch response 10.1” and 8.6” touch screens with haptic and acoustic feedback, plus Audi’s virtual cockpit.

Smarts don’t stop there, though. The Q8 is fitted with no less than 39 advanced driver assistance systems as standard.

Steel spring suspension with adaptive suspension damper control and 21” wheels are standard. However, the $11,000 Premium Plus option pack includes adaptive air suspension and 22” wheels.  Amongst the options, you can also find all-wheel steering (Dynamic Steering Pack, $4500).

All-wheel-steer makes the car more manoeuvrable at lower speeds, reduces turning circle by 1.1 metres, and makes the car noticeably more responsive and dynamic at higher speeds.

Audi_Q8 interior