Car Reviews Motoring

Audi Q8 Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Although the coupe-SUV Q8 doesn’t look massive on paper, it is. In fact, it’s based on the big daddy Q7.

You only get five seats instead of seven, but that doesn’t mean it’s small on the inside either. On the contrary, it has a spacious interior, benefitting from all of Audi’s revisions in recent years, which have won it many admirers.

The model reviewed here is the S line 50 TDI 286PS quattro tiptronic, and the 2,967cc V6 diesel’s acceleration is fierce.

The result is zero to 62mph in 6.1 seconds, topping out at 149mph. But it’s not just about out and out clout. You see, the the name “quattro” is Audi’s terminology for four-wheel drive.

The system works very well. When the going gets bendy, it navigates around corners well, despite some noticeable body roll. Even at higher speeds, the car is calm and relaxing to drive.

The S Line test motor has massive 21-inch wheels, which make for a smooth ride, while the four-wheel steering gives it a turning circle comparable to a small hatchback. Indeed, the Audi feels stable and very grippy on the road, while driving around the sharp bends of a town centre feels effortless, with finger-light steering.

Weight does play its part, and there is only so much you can do to get around gravity. But, for such a heavy car, Audi has done an excellent job with the handling.

On the styling front, Audis, especially bigger ones, tend to come with enormous grilles, which are looking ever more chiselled and less rounded.

The Q8 wears its looks well compared with other Audis, but I still doubt whether the aesthetics will win prizes at the beauty pageant. At the front, there’s not much to talk about. Why? Well, the grille is so enormous that there isn’t room for anything else. Yes, it’s that big.

Around the back, there’s a large steep sloping rear window and an LED light array that spans the whole width of the boot, breaking up the body colour nicely. The Q8 also features pillarless doors.

The exterior looks may be debatable, but one thing that won’t be up for discussion is the quality of the interior. Audi has overhauled its design in the last few years, and the inside of the Q8’s looks as premium as you’d expect it to be.

Forget one screen – there is a trio. The primary infotainment display is integrated perfectly flat into the dashboard, to the point that you wouldn’t know it was a screen when the car’s switched off.

Beneath it is another screen that controls things like air conditioning and climate control. A third is a digital instrument display that replaces analogue dials behind the steering wheel.

There are still physical buttons on the wheel, and many of the essential systems can be operated from these switches via the digital instrument display. This can also display the navigation map full screen.

Touch-sensitive buttons aren’t as intuitive to operate as physical ones, though, as there’s no natural feel to ensure you’re pressing the right one. This may annoy you, especially on the lower touchscreen, which controls the temperature.

Meanwhile, the steering wheel itself looks nice and is flat-bottomed.

The front is spacious, with comfy seats and, in the back, headroom is decent, even for taller drivers. There’s lots of legroom, too, while the rear seats recline slightly and can even slide forwards and back individually.

The boot opens automatically to reveal a capacious 605-litre cargo space, increasing to 1,765-litres with the rear seats folded away.

The Q8 earned a five-star rating from Euro NCAP when tested in 2019, scoring 93% for adult occupants, 87% for children and 73% for safety assists.

There’s a lot of safety kit as standard on the Q8, including lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, a reversing camera, and ‘Pre-Sense’ (which gives collision detection alerts).

The Q8 has already won plenty of admirers, and I expect that to continue. It is monstrously expensive, though, costing over £70,500 for the model tested here.

The interior is a top place to be, and it drives well, though. As SUVs go, it’s about as luxurious as you can get.

But, given the price, it’d damn well better be, eh, guys?

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