As Audi continues to expand its range so there’s an Audi for literally anyone who could conceivably want a car, it can be tricky to keep up. Luckily, there are plenty of things to make its latest SUV, the Q8, stand out. After a drive in the latest four-ringed beast it’s easy to see that there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Here’s eight things you need to know about driving Audi’s newest motor.
There’s one engine available at launch
Eventually there’ll be a whole stack of engines to choose from, including some S/RS versions if spy videos from the ‘Ring are to be believed. For now though the UK gets a 3.0 V6 turbodiesel. The Q8 50 TDI gets 286 horses and a frankly ludicrous 442 torques.
Those aren’t small numbers at all. Audi says they’ll lob it from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and up to 152mph. Having given it a tickle it feels pretty brisk when you put your hoof down. Ok, it’s not going to trouble the big V8s, but for most it’ll be more than quick enough.
Hey, guess what? An SUV built to modern standards isn’t a featherweight. Far from it. The Q8 weighs in at 2145kgs. A shade lighter than most of its competitors. However, anything more than two tonnes can’t be called ‘slight’, can it?
That said, you’d expect it to handle terribly considering the bulk, but it doesn’t. Thanks to some very smart suspension you can pitch it in to a corner and it won’t roll on to its door handles. Yes, there’s some lean, but not so much you’ll make your kids sick in the back should you choose to be ‘spirited’ on the way home from gran’s.
Seeing as it’s just shy of two metres wide (without the wing mirrors) driving down anything approaching ‘narrow’ can be a bit of an ordeal. The country lanes I tried it on were just fine, though it was easy to feel as though the Q8 was taking up the entire lane.
Tiny villages were also a bit of a squeeze, but being sat way above the road meant it was comparatively easy to place in the limited space available. On the motorway it was just fine, so you needn’t worry too much.
The sound of silence
It’s quiet in there. At motorway speeds it’s easy to have a decent chat with your passengers and not be interrupted by wind and tyre noise.
The diesel motor does make itself known in the cabin though. It takes the shine off the luxury of the car a touch, but if you can get your head around that you’ll have a grand time. I’ll wager the upcoming petrol options will be much quieter.
Touch all the things!
Audi’s leaning hard in to the touch screen revolution with the Q8. As well as a virtual cockpit showing the driver everything they’ll need in the instrument binnacle, there are two decently sized touch screens to sort functions that used to be the preserve of buttons. They’re slick and easy to use. Not a faff to navigate at all, in fact. When you first get in the car they look incredible, all smooth and futuristic. When you get out, however, they’re smeared in fingerprints. Best keep a lens cloth nearby if you’re out to impress. Fingerprints gunking up the place are the reason Rolls-Royce has shied away from touch tech thus far, apparently.
Angles, angles everywhere
Audi’s latest design direction is a pointy one. As such the Q8 is rather jagged. The rear lights are pointy, the rear is pointy, the front… pointy. It makes the Q8 look all futuristic and whatnot, but it might not be for everyone.
There’s a huge positive to all the protraturbation though – rear headroom and bootspace aren’t compromised despite the car’s ‘coupé’ stylings. Because the rear doesn’t gently slope down you can sit a normal sized human in the back and not break their neck. The boot is huge as well, so you’re not losing much SUV in the name of style.
You can actually have a good giggle if you’re feeling a little sporty. Yes it’s big and heavy, but using the diesel torque you’re still pushed back in your seat when give it a bootful.
The gearbox in the car’s ‘dynamic’ setting is a touch violent, but it gets the job done well enough. The steering’s direct enough but don’t expect feedback a plenty – it is an SUV after all.
You’ll probably want one
It’s good looking, fun, clever, cool, and practical. It’s hard to see a world where Audi won’t shift thousands of these things. Audi may be late to the ‘coupé SUV’ game, but the Q8’s a corker.