After six years of rumors that began when Audi trademarked the Q8 name in 2012, the German company finally unveiled its proposition against the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. It called the Audi Q8, and it’s heavily based on a concept car that the Germans introduced in 2018. It’s modern, aggressive, it packs Audi’s latest technology, and promises to give the X6 and GLE Coupe a good run for their money.
When BMW introduced the X6 in 2009, a new segment was born. But although the crossover BMW describes as a Sports Activity Coupe proved somewhat popular with SUV enthusiasts, the trend didn’t catch on with other automakers until 2013. That’s when Mercedes-Benz revealed plans to develop a coupe-like crossover based on the M-Class. Shortly after, rumors of a Cayenne Coupe emerged, signaling that Germany’s finest automakers finally pay more attention to this niche. Come 2018 and Audi joined the battle with the prettiest SUV it has created in recent years.
It looks surprisingly sporty given its size, and the front fascia is downright aggressive.
Design-wise, the Q8 remains faithful to the Sport Concept we’ve seen in 2017. It looks surprisingly sporty given its size, and the front fascia is downright aggressive. It’s like Audi wanted to design a crossover based on the R8 sports car.
The front end sports the traditional Singleframe grille, but the element has been redesigned to look unique for this model. The unit is wider, taller, and sports sharp corners for a menacing look. The chrome trim is backed by a thick frame that extends toward the headlamps and the fog lamp bezels, while the grille combined vertical and horizontal slats finished in chrome and black.
The slim headlamps feature LED technology as standard, while Matrix LEDs are available. The black trim underneath make the lights seem a bit bigger than they are, but that effect vanished when the tiny LED strips light up. As a cool feature, Q8 owners can use the myAudi app on their smartphone to activate various lighting functions from the outside. The lower bumper is just as sporty as the grille, featuring massive vents onto the sides. The lower section curves upward over the underbelly plate, taking the shape of a sporty splitter. The muscular engine hood with the bulged center section completes the look.
The massive 22-inch wheels are tucked under prominent wheel arches, while the 10-inch ground clearance gives the Q8 an imposing stance
The side view blends the best of performance hatchbacks and crossovers. The massive 22-inch wheels are tucked under prominent wheel arches, while the 10-inch ground clearance gives the Q8 an imposing stance. On the other hand, the fine arches that define the front fenders and the rear haunches suggest that the Q8 is a rather dynamic SUV. The roof shape reminds me of the original Quattro notchback of the 1980s, especially due to the gently inclined D-pillar and the tall quarter window. However, the Q8’s roof goes the coupe way toward the rear, with the rear door window becoming narrower and the D-pillar slope increasing as it moves toward the really small deck lid.
The taillights scream for attention thanks to their slim, angular design with small, vertical LED strips and the horizontal light bar that runs the entire width of the tailgate
As far as size goes, the Q8 is 16.4 feet long, 6.6 feet wide, and 5.6 feet tall, which makes it shorter, wider, and lower than the Q7. Needless to say, it’s the sexiest vehicle Audi has launched in many years!
|Lenght||4.99 meters (16.4 ft)|
|Width||2.00 meters (6.6 ft)|
|Height||1.71 meters (5.6 ft)|
|Wheelbase||3.00 meters (9.8 ft)|
The interior is obviously based on the Q7, but it has an impressive amount of unique features
The interior is obviously based on the Q7, but it has an impressive amount of unique features. The continuous air vent strip is placed at the top of the dashboard, a design cue we’ve seen in a few Audis so far, but the lower section is finished in black, giving the cabin a luxurious look. What’s more, the background matches that of the infotainment screen, leaving the impression that the entire dash is just a big display. The blue ambient lighting at the bottom further enhances that effect.
The wide center console is flanked by two big and comfortable seats wrapped in fine leather with a diamond-quilt pattern
The wide center console is flanked by two big and comfortable seats wrapped in fine leather with a diamond-quilt pattern. While the standard seats look comfortable enough, Audi offers customized contour seats with massage and ventilation functions. There’s also optional four-zone climate control and an air quality package. Other convenience features include LTE Advanced data transfer, Wi-Fi hotspot, a navigation system with intelligent suggestions, and Car-to-X services for traffic and hazard information. The optional Audi Connect key allows you to lock/unlock the car and start the engine using an Android smartphone.
But how comfortable is the Q8 given that it’s shorter than the Q7? Well, the wheelbase is nearly 10 feet long, which means there should be plenty of legroom for rear passengers. The photos suggest that you can’t stretch that much behind the front seats, but you won’t become numb after a two-hour ride either. Audi claims that the Q8 offers superior legroom and headroom compared to its rivals. A quick comparison reveals that the BMW X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe offers similar legroom, but the Q8 fairs better when it comes to headroom for rear passengers, mostly because its roof is just a tad boxier above the rear seats.
The wheelbase is nearly 10 feet long, which means there should be plenty of legroom for rear passengers.
As far as luggage room goes, the Q8 can swallow up to 62 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seats folded flat. That’s more than the X6, rated at 53.8 cubic feet. That’s a lot of room for a coupe-styled SUV, but the tailgate opening is a bit narrow, which probably limits what you can stuff in the trunk. However, you can still carry large bags, and you can stack up a few items until you lose visibility through the rear window.
Audi has yet to release drivetrain information as of this writing, but much like the Q7, it should get a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines
Audi has yet to release drivetrain information as of this writing, but much like the Q7, it should get a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines. In the Q7, the 2.0-liter four-banger cranks out 252 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. Next in line is a 3.0-liter V-6 making 333 horses and 325 pound-feet of torque, which is the most powerful gasoline unit now that Audi has dropped the 4.2-liter V-8 for the SUV. Moving over to diesels, the familiar 3.0-liter TDI churns 272 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, while a second version of the turbo-diesel V-6 generates 218 horses and 369 pound-feet of twist.
A Q8 e-Tron version is also likely. This model will pair a 3.0-liter TDI and an electric motor built into the eight-speed automatic transmission. The combo develops 373 horses and 516 pound-feet of torque in the Q7 and provides a 35-mile range on electric power only.
While engine information is absent, Audi did release some info about other parts of the drivetrain. The Q8 is equipped with a mechanical center differential that transfers torque to the front and rear axles at a ratio of 40:60. When required, it transfers the majority of power to the axle with the better traction. Naturally, the crossover is equipped with Quattro all-wheel drive as standard.
The Q8 also benefits from the company’s new mild hybrid technology
The Q8 also benefits from the company’s new mild hybrid technology. The 48-volt system incorporates a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter. During braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and send it back into the battery. This technology also enables long coasting phases with the engine deactivated and a start-stop range that begins at 13.7 mph.