The Audi Q8 is the latest utility vehicle from the premium German brand, one of seven SUVs and wagons available. It sits on the same wheelbase as the three-row Q7, but it is three inches shorter overall. Supplying room for five, this all-wheel-drive SUV is also a mild hybrid, thanks to its 48-volt electrical system.
Audi Q8 Trims
But the two-row Q8 isn’t simply a derivative of the Q7. Instead, what we have here is a clean-sheet design marked by an oversized grille, strong shoulders, a coupe-like roofline, and beautiful exterior lighting elements. One powertrain combination is offered and the usual three Audi trims — Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige — are available. The 2019 Q8 is priced from $67,400 to $76,550, plus a $995 destination charge.
Your final cost can go much higher, though, especially if you choose the Adaptive Chassis Package ($2,750), Luxury Package ($5,950), Night Vision Assistant with Large Animal and Pedestrian Detection Package ($2,500), and a Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System ($5,000). Further, by adding a special “Year One” Package (S Line trim, black optic exterior kit, 22-inch anthracite wheels) with red brake calipers ($2,250 + $400), and your final cost will push past $96,000.
Interior Ambiance and Amenities
So, with a sloping roofline, rear-seat headspace is comprised, right? Thankfully, it is not. What helps here is the position of the seat, which is just ahead of the deepest slope. At the same time, there is still ample legroom along with generous shoulder and hip room. Three-across-seating is entirely possible and comfortable.
Of course, the best seats in the Q8 are upfront. There, you’ll find thickly padded and supportive bucket seats. The leather seats are available in four color choices with contrasting stitching. The black dashboard and black carpeting are contrasted by a gray headliner. Decorative wood inlays of fine gray ash, eucalyptus, and gray oak add visual appeal.
The list of standard cabin features includes a sport steering wheel, three-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, heated 8-way front seats with power lumbar support, and full power accessories. Among the upgrades are various leathers with front ventilation and massage. Heated outboard rear seats and a heated steering wheel are also available.
Let’s Go Virtual
One of the strong suits for the all-new Q8 is its virtual cockpit, which features a large digital display. Gone are the traditional analog gauges, but they’re not missed. Instead, the bright instrument panel is visually stunning, interesting, and easy to change.
But that’s not the only electronic interface of note. Indeed, the digital display is only surpassed by the beautiful dual-screen infotainment system with its pristine graphics and rapid response. Audi also got rid of the rotary controller as a new dual touch-screen interface with haptic and audible control gets it done. The system outperforms anything the competition offers and that’s a big thing.
While the virtual cockpit and infotainment system receive plaudits, there are other noteworthy tech features. To begin, the surround-view camera system is wonderful with its real-time 3D model of the Q8. The system uses four wide-angle cameras on the outside of the Q8 to project images on the display panel. Not only that, but you can toggle around the vehicle and zoom in — the latter is especially helpful when backing into a very tight area you might otherwise avoid.
The standard audio system is comprised of 10 speakers, satellite and HD Radio, multiple USB ports, and Bluetooth. You’ll also enjoy Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. A navigation system is standard.
Audi also offers a pair of Bang & Olufsen audio systems, depending on the model and package chosen. The first one has 17 speakers, the second one has 23 speakers and nearly triples the wattage output of the first one. Qi wireless charging is optional.
Driving Assistance Features
Manufacturers continue to up their safety credibility, especially with driver assistance features. Audi kicks things off with automatic headlights and wipers. You’ll also find the Audi “pre sense basic and city,” which monitors traffic in front of the vehicle and issues collision warning and light braking. The system also detects cornering and stationary vehicles and pedestrians at speeds no higher than 52 mpg, warning the driver of an imminent collision.
If you want more safety tech you’ll find it through trim upgrades and package options. The expected items such as side assist, lane assist, traffic sign recognition, intersection assist, and adaptive cruise assist. A delicious full-color head-up display is also available.
Power, With Light Hybrid Assist
Under the hood is a new 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged V6 engine, which features a revised Audi valve lift system and the turbocharger placed directly inside the engine’s V configuration. With a rating of 335 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque, this SUV sprints from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. An eight-speed automatic transmission supplies rapid, yet smooth shifts and includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Also at work is a 48-volt battery system, which includes a small lithium-ion battery found underneath the second-row seat. The system includes a belt alternator starter. When braking, the tech recovers some of that power and feeds it to the battery. The 48-volt system works alongside a 12-volt arrangement.
Despite its relatively laudable performance numbers, the Q8’s 5,000-pound footprint soon becomes apparent. The engine must work hard to move this SUV, which affects fuel mileage. Indeed, the EPA estimates are a combined 19 mpg, which was about what we experienced. The Q8 isn’t as sporty as some might like, although its multiple drive modes and the available adaptive suspension system make a positive difference.
If you’re in a towing state of mind, you may find the 7,700 towing capacity suitable for your needs. This figure is on the higher end of the towing scale, matching or bettering such models as the Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the Mercedes-Benz GLE.
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We like the Audi Q8 and think customers will be happy in whatever guise they choose. It checks off all the important boxes in a luxury vehicle and surprises with its digital display and infotainment system.
Expect to pay at least $80,000 to acquire one, especially after all upgrades and packages are considered. That may seem like a steep price, but you’re getting so much more than you might expect.
Indeed, the Q8 is the most modern of all Audis and even makes the three-row Q7 seem ready for its interior overhaul. Thus, you’re getting a vehicle that not only raises the bar, but shows us what will eventually filter down to many other Audi models.
2019 Audi Q8 Specifications
|Base Sticker Price||$68,395 (including a $995 destination charge)|
|Price as tested (estimated)||$78,000|
|Engine||3.0-liter, turbocharged V6|
|Horsepower||335 @ 5,000 to 6,400 RPMs|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||369 @ 1,370 to 4,500 RPMs|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic automatic|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||5,004|
|Headroom (f,m,r…inches)||37.1, 38.1|
|Legroom (f,m,r…inches)||41.6, 40.2|
|Shoulder room (f,m,r…inches)||59.5, 58.5|
|Hip room (f,m,r…inches)||NR, NR|
|Storage (cubic feet)||30.5/60.7|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||NR|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||22.5|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway)||17/22/19 city/highway/combined|
|Manufacturing Plant||Bratislava, Slovakia|
See Also — End of the Road: Audi TT
2019 Audi Q8 photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.