AS a flagship of the Audi range, the new Q8 sits alongside the supercar R8 and the A8 executive saloon as an expression of brilliant design and engineering.

With a generous, elegant leather interior, touch-operated screens and a sublime drive quality, this luxury SUV offers a superb combination of power, versatility and comfort.

Surprisingly, it is only offered for the moment as a six-cylinder 50 TDI with 286PS, capable of 62mph in 6.3 seconds and with a 144mph top speed. But this engine is a perfect match, not only providing potent performance but also returning an average of more than 40mpg.

Opt for the S line specification and you get the quite brilliant HD Matrix LED lights (the best I have ever experienced), 21-inch alloy wheels and adaptive air suspension sport as standard.

And remember that the permanent quattro all-wheel drive and a ground clearance of up to 254 mm will enable you tackle the vagaries of British weather.

At 4,986 mm long, 1,995 mm wide and 1,705 mm high, the Q8 ramps up the presence factor when compared with other SUVs from Audi. With its coupé-style roof line it appears much lower than its Q7 sister model. It is 66 mm shorter, but has become 27 mm wider. The distinctive front end, the short rear overhang and whopping 21-inch wheels with a diameter of 795 mm paint a picture of powerful dynamics. It’s quite a statement of power and purpose.

With a wheelbase of almost three metres, the Q8 offers ample space for five people. In fact, Audi claims the interior space exceeds that of the direct competitors in almost all relevant dimensions.

With its large luggage compartment and generously sized storage compartments and tray areas, there is no doubt that it is ideal for longer journeys. The luggage compartment holds 605 litres, which increases to 1,755 litres with the rear backrests folded down. Golfers please note that two golf bags can fit in diagonally.

In addition to the electronically operated tailgate, there’s even an optional electric luggage compartment cover that automatically retracts when the tailgate is opened and is extended again upon closing.

The Q8 debuts the new face of the Q family. Six distinctive vertical chrome fins make the radiator grille appear upright and solid. Large, strongly contoured air intakes highlight the aggressive look.

Before we take a peek inside, I must mention the fabulous HD matrix LED headlights fitted as standard, which not only feature the dynamic turn signal front and rear, but also an impressive light show during locking and unlocking.

The headlight units each consist of 24 individual LEDs and offer a wonderful depth of illuminated vision on dark roads.

The upper MMI touch response display is the central element of the interior of the. With its black-panel look, it almost dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off. Simple, easy-to-understand symbols stand for the digital precision from Audi and for the high level of integration of the architecture and operation.

Clean and simple styling combines with quality materials and complex sound insulation to provide a feeling of calm.

The suspension makes a crucial contribution to the precise handling. The five-link front and rear suspensions are made largely of aluminium. The transmission ratio of the standard progressive steering becomes increasingly direct as the steering angle increases.

Adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is a standard feature, with a sport setup. It can be adjusted to four modes with the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, varying the ride height of the body by up to 90 mm.

The drive system utilises new mild hybrid technology. It integrates a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter into a 48-volt primary electrical system. The rechargeable battery is located underneath the luggage compartment floor and stores 10 Ah of electrical capacity. The dynamic SUV can coast between 34 and 99mph with the engine switched off, then the BAS restarts the engine quickly and comfortably.

The Audi Q8 is fitted with a 3.0 TDI engine that generates 286PS and can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 6.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 144mph. A smaller three-litre diesel with 231PS and a 3.0 TFSI petrol-engine car with 340PS will arrive shortly.

The operating concept in the Audi Q8 needs almost no buttons or knobs. Rather, it focuses on two high-resolution touch displays. The upper display with 10.1 inch screen diagonal is used for controlling the infotainment and the navigation system. The lower 8.6 inch display allows the driver to manage the heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as comfort functions and text input.

These combine with the Audi virtual cockpit as standard, which offers two views – classic and navigation – through its high-resolution 12.3 inch display.

Whether parking, in the city or on long journeys – the Audi Q8 makes life easier for its driver in many situations. Audi bundles the assistance systems into a total of four packages. The highlight in the tour assist package is adaptive cruise assist, which supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed, keeping distance and in traffic jam situations.

The system detects lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead.

The efficiency assist is another component of the tour package. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit and reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts.

Five systems provide safety in city traffic. Crossing assist detects critical traffic crossing in front of the car, Another system warns against vehicles approaching from the side, and rear cross traffic assist registers approaching vehicles during slow reversing, for example when coming out of a perpendicular parking space. Exit warning and lane change warning complete the package.

The systems in the park plus assist package support the driver during manoeuvring to counteract imminent collisions with small steering impulses and independent braking to a standstill, for example when detecting pillars in a multi-story car park. Kerb warning protects against damaging the rims during parking. Several images from the surround cameras allow precise manoeuvring down to a centimetre.

The parking package also includes the parking pilot, which independently steers the SUV into and out of a parking space while monitored by the driver. The driver can even get out of the car beforehand and trigger the process using the myAudi app on their smartphone.

This is one very smart car, a joy to drive and incredibly clever.


Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro S Line Tiptronic

Price: from £63,115

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 diesel producing 286PS

Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic/automatic driving all wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 6.3 seconds; top speed 152mph

Economy: 41.5mpg

CO2 emissions: 178g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: *****

Space/Practicality: *****

Equipment: *****

Security/Safety: ******

Value For Money: ***