There’s a kind of weird space in the luxury SUV market that has seen the emergence of coupe style SUV’s. There’s the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe that all have a back end that slopes away, to be frank I think both are design disasters. However, joining the party is the Audi Q8 55 TFSI and shiver me timbers, what a vehicle this is.
What is it?
The Q8 badge is a tad deceptive, unlike the Audi Q7 this is a strictly five-seater. In fact, it’s shorter than the Q7, but makes up some ground by being wider. Along with the A8 the Q8 is now regarded as a flagship vehicle in the Audi line up.
It scores Audi’s new digital age inspired interior, which sees a lot of buttons deleted and the use of sophisticated touchscreens. Frankly Audi offer the best interior of any European marque. I’ll place a rider on that statement, you really need to be comfortable with the digital theme. If you prefer something more classical or even glitzy then perhaps a BMW or Mercedes-Benz in more up your alley.
In many ways this is basically a limousine standard SUV. It offers an abundance of power, Audi’s quattro system and appropriately large cargo space out back for weekend duties.
But better still, it’s a stunning vehicle. It’s not based on another model, instead the designers started with a clean sheet of paper and then nailed it.
Behind the Wheel
Look we may drop the odd obscenity here at EFTM, but the only way to describe the overall driving experience is by saying f#$king wow. I did, over and over again. Any time I’ve jumped in an Audi recently I’ve always pinpointed one area; the brand makes you look way better than your ability.
Again, the Audi Q8 55 TFSI replicates this sensation. It takes corners like they’re non-existent. It has an uncanny ability to remain level and sure footed. Joining the amazing agility is power and massive dollop’s of it. The one negative is a fair degree of turbo-lag, it would better if the 500Nm of torque arrived just a fraction earlier. Especially when you’re in that “spirited” driving kind of mood.
This is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 – one that produces 250kW at 5,500rpm and 500Nm of torque spread between 2,900-5,500rpm. It’s matched to Audi’s 8-speed tiptronic transmission. At present there’s no diesel option but that’s not far off now.
Standard equipment includes 21-inch alloys, a S line exterior package, adaptive air suspension. Three-zone air-con, Valcona leather seats that are heated and cooled up front plus DAB+ radio.
To outline the technology in the Q8 would require an article longer than War and Peace. But as standard you score adaptive drive assist, adaptive cruise control and lane change warning. 360-degree reversing cameras are widespread these days, but the really good ones also offer a kerb view like the Q8. There’s should be no excuse for any rim on gutter carnage. In fact there are 15 various systems in place as standard to ensure you don’t hit anything.
Audi still have the best instrument cluster around thanks to its 12.3-inch virtual cockpit. Most functions are now controlled two centre touchscreens. The 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch screens rely entirely on touch and in some instances gesture control. You still hear and feel a haptic click each time you change a setting, but some may lament the lack of actual buttons. My only real gripe with the system is its ability to hold onto fingerprints, you’ll want to have a microfibre cloth handy to keep them clear.
Lighting in cars has come a long way. Our test car had standard LED headlights, but Audi do offer a Matrix LED package which is basically the holy grail when it comes to lighting the road ahead.
The Audi Q8 55 TFSI quattro tiptronic starts from $128,900. The only options fitted to our review car were metallic paint for $2,300, a $1,850 black exterior package and $400 Oak inlays. Fuel consumption is rated at 9.2L/100km, there’s no way I’d ever achieve that. I sailed closer to 14.0L/100km.
Why Would You Buy One?
Because you don’t need a Q7 and you don’t want an ugly coupe style Euro SUV.
There’s little doubt this is one of the more menacing luxury SUV’s getting around, with the figures to back it up. The whole package is just one giant blend of wonderfulness, if that’s a word. It’s a 9.1 of 10 from me.