Audi Q8 review 2019 | What Car? first drive

Hello and welcome to a What Car? first drive
in the stunning Atacama Desert and we’re driving the new Audi Q8. So, what is the Audi Q8? Well, thanks to Audi’s pretty conventional model names that’s
pretty easy to explain. So all the Audi ‘Q’ models are their SUV lineup. It starts
with the Q2 which is a small SUV, then a little bit bigger Q3, Q5, Q7 and now
Q8 – being the highest number – sits at the top of the range, above the Audi Q7. So the Q8 is slightly smaller than the Q7, with the Q7 you can specify having 7
seats. But, with the Q8 the maximum is 5-seats. So while the Q7
is all about practicality, and just being a brilliant all-round luxury SUV.
With the Q8 it’s more about style, it’s more about luxury. The Q8 is slightly shorter
than the Q7, but you still have the same amount of room inside. It’s only got a
smaller boot, and the roof line slopes back at the back, kind of like that
coupe-SUV look, like you find with the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe.
Anyway what do you need to know about the Audi Q8? Well it’s available in two
specs in the UK, nice and simple. Entry-level S line and then above that
you’ll have Vorsprung. S line is packed to the brim with kit, you get
massive 21-inch wheels as standard and you get Audi’s latest dual screen
MMI touchscreen infotainment system. You also get virtual cockpit as standard,
and you get a host of safety kit as well. So, autonomous emergency braking, you
get, lane keep assist, and you’ll also get the adaptive cruise control and steer
assist as well – but those are likely to be available in options rather than as
standard. As for the engines, when it launches in the UK in the summer this
year it will only be available with one engine and that’s a 3-litre
282 brake horsepower V6 diesel engine. Later in the lineup, you’ll get a V6 petrol
which is slightly more powerful, and you’ll also get a slightly less powerful V6 diesel – so the same engine but just tuned
down a little bit. This diesel V6 we’ve already driven in the Audi A6
recently, and it’s one of the new Audi engines that gets mild hybrid
technology with it as well. But when we say mild – we mean mild.
It basically means the engine can turn off when you’re coasting on the motorway, but
it doesn’t happen for long. In terms of performance, well although the Q8 is a
big heavy car, like the Q7, with the 3-litre V6 it’s perfectly
adequate for power. It gets up to motorway speeds really easily, and around
town it’s really smooth. The delivery is nice and progressive. One of the most
brilliant things about this engine though, is just how quiet it is.
So around town and at a cruise, you can barely hear the engine is on at all.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox that you get as standard with the Q8 can feel slightly
hesitant at lower speeds, and it can feel a bit slow to engage. But, it doesn’t
detract from the comfortable nature of the car, and really it’s a decent gearbox
by the class standards. Actually refinement generally in the Q8 is
brilliant. There’s a bit of suspension thump, and we’re on some quite rough
roads here, but generally it’s very very quiet, with a bit of wind noise
whipped up around the wing mirrors. Now, slightly interesting point about the
wing mirrors… They’re actually exactly the same as you’ll find on the
Lamborghini URUS – the high-performance SUV, and that’s because these two cars
were actually designed in very close proximity to each other. Going back to
the engine though, the only thing is it’s not exactly exhilarating, now this is
quite a big expensive SUV, and you feel like actually the 282 horsepower only
kind of gently taps into what this car could do. But there are rumours that an
RSQ8 or an SQ8 could be coming further down the line, so we’ll keep an eye out
for that. So the only suspension option that
you’ll get in the UK is the sport adaptive air suspension. Every car will
get that as standard. With the S line you get 21-inch wheels, with the Vorsprung
you get massive 22-inch wheels! Now those are big wheels to stick on a car. Putting
the word ‘sport’ in a suspension setup doesn’t necessarily fill you with
confidence that it’s going to be particularly comfortable, but we’re on
fairly challenging roads, and the ride is a bit fidgety over broken surfaces, but
it’s not uncomfortable. Certainly this is a comfortable car,
it’s quiet inside and it’s got a nice relaxing nature about it. So if we take a
look at the interior of the Q8, you’ll actually see that it’s quite familiar to
Audi’s latest models. So it’s a pretty similar design to the new A8, the
new A7, and the A6. That means it’s a very sleek design, and the build quality
is as good as anything you’ll find in the class. It also means, that it gets
Audi’s latest dual screen touchscreen infotainment system, the MMI system, the
latest generation of that. So that means you have this screen up here, where you
can control sat-nav and media and your phone. Then underneath it, you have
things that can control the air conditioning and other things like that.
We don’t really see it as a big step forwards from what Audi had
previously, so the previous MMI system had a rotary dial – that made it just a
little bit easier to control what you were doing especially on the move.
Whereas this is a bit complicated, a bit convoluted, and Audi have gone for this
acoustic haptic touchscreen. So that basically means, if you select something
on the touchscreen on the bottom, when you press it you get a kind of sensation
back from it. It’s a bit odd really, we just prefer physical buttons so that’s
not so great, that’s kind of a down point because you can’t change it. This is
what you get in the Q8. But it is good that you get it as standard so you don’t
have to pay extra money to get it, and another brilliant thing about the Q8 is
the Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – which we’ve long sung the praises of – comes as
standard. So the Audi Q8 is slightly shorter than the Q7, so what that means
is they’ve shaved the bit off the back of the car. That does mean that the
boot is smaller in the Q8 than it is in the Q7, but when we’re talking about the Q7, we’re talking about one of the most
practical cars you can get. So that has a massive boot and really, the amount that
it’s lost for the Q8 doesn’t mean that it’s a completely
unusable space. There’s still loads of room for luggage, certainly even for a
family of four, and it’s bigger than what you get in the X6, so it’s still a
decent size. Even if it is smaller than Q7. So the Q8 loses a bit of boot
space compared to the Q7, but the distance between the front wheels and
the back wheels are exactly the same in the Q8 and in the Q7. So that means
when you’re in the Q8 in the back, you get the same extremely generous amount
of legroom that you get in the Q7, so even tall adults will be able to stretch
out in the back and relax on long journeys. The only downside of the Q8
compared to the Q7, is the headroom. That’s because of the sloping roofline
that the Q8 gets. So it’s slightly lower and it swoops down in the back, so you
are slightly more hemmed in. But still I’m just under 6-foot and there’s still
a decent amount of room. You do notice the side of the roof cutting in slightly
more, but it’s not enough to make you uncomfortable and you’d have to be, well,
a Harlem Globetrotter to be uncomfortable in the back here.
So to summarise then, is the Audi Q8 a worthy addition to Audi’s illustrious
and packed lineup? Well, on this evidence we’d say yes. It’s better to drive, it’s
more spacious, and it’s got a nicer interiors than the BMW X6 and the GLE
Coupe. Although it is compromised compared to an Audi Q7, if
you look at it in its own right, there are lots of things to be positive
about. Now in terms of pricing there is big step up from an Audi Q7. Full pricing
is yet to be announced, but it’ll work out roughly about £12,000 or there
abouts and that’s a lot of money more. Objectively,
the Audi Q7 is easier to recommend because it it has everything that’s good
about the Q8, but it has more space. If you’re sold on these looks, you want
something that stands out a little bit more, then we can completely understand
why you would go for the Audi Q8. For the latest car news, reviews, and videos don’t
forget to subscribe to the What Car? YouTube channel. [Music]

About the Author: Michael Flood

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