In-depth reviews

Audi Q8 SUV review

"The Audi Q8 is a luxurious, comfortable SUV but it isn't as sporty as its looks suggest, nor is it as practical as a Q7"

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Price
£66,805 - £105,425

Pros

  • Imposing looks
  • Indulgent interior
  • Advanced technology

Cons

  • Numb handling
  • Limited versatility
  • Unproven ride comfort

The Audi Q8 was the brand’s first coupe-SUV and it was arguably a little late to join an ever-expanding class, because BMW had had the X6 on the market for several years beforehand, with more recent arrivals including the Porsche Cayenne Coupe and Mercedes GLE Coupe.

Based on the same platform as the Q7, the Q8 presents itself as a more dynamic and sporty machine than its sister model. Indeed, it features a far more sweeping, muscular design than the rather battleship-esque Q7. It certainly has presence on the road, which is crucial to draw customers away from the clutches of rivals.

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Audi has done a good job of making the Q8 distinct from the Q7, particularly when you consider the differences between the two are essentially cosmetic. The front of the car features a far wider and lower version of Audi’s signature ‘singleframe’ grille design, with significantly larger air intakes beneath and sharp, slim LED headlights.

The flanks of the Q8 are distinctive, too. It borrows sporty design cues from other Audi coupe models, with angular wheelarch flares influenced by the Audi Quattro sports car that established the brand's four-wheel-drive credentials in rallying. The roof spoiler is a prominent feature, with a bold looking design that fits perfectly with the car’s sporty ethos. The full-width LED light bar at the back of the car gives it a futuristic look similar to that of the range-topping Audi A8. The S line model features 21-inch wheels that do an admirable job of filling the Q8's huge wheelarches.

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For those that want a high-performance version of the Q8, there’s an SQ8 with a 500bhp V8 petrol engine (which replaced a V8 diesel engine in July 2020). The range-topping RS Q8 model shares its 592bhp V8 petrol engine with the Audi RS6 Avant estate. Both these versions of the Q8 offer formidable performance but the SQ8 starts at just over £83,000 and the RS Q8 is north of £100,000.

Inside, things are more elegant than sporty; the ambience is similar to that experienced by Audi A8 drivers. The Q8 shares that model's cutting-edge central control system for infotainment and convenience features. This uses two touchscreen panels – 10.1-inch above, 8.6-inch below – that provide 'haptic feedback' (the sensation of a click or vibration) when commands are issued. It's a fantastic system that adds a real futuristic feel.

Another hi-tech touch is Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel, which is configurable to display various information, including 3D colour mapping, which can be displayed right in your line of sight, with speed and other driving data shown either side.

Every Q8 comes with a lot of technology and equipment, but there are still several trim levels to choose from. S line, Black Edition and high-end Vorsprung are available, with multiple options on the SQ8 and RS Q8 as well. Vorsprung versions boast an especially indulgent level of standard kit. Despite occupying as much space on the road as a Q7, there's no seven-seat option for the Q8 – that sweeping roofline would make it impossible to offer any headroom whatsoever in a third row. Instead, there's a huge boot and second-row passengers have as much space as in the Q7.

Audi's full suite of safety assistance systems is available and the Q8 got a strong five-star safety score when independently crash-tested by Euro NCAP. While Audi's performances for safety should give you confidence, reliability is still an area that could be improved. Audi’s 23rd-place ranking in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey wasn't hugely impressive.

The Q8's undeniable visual appeal – inside and out – makes Audi's biggest coupe-SUV an attractive ownership prospect. However, the Q8 is no better at transporting a family than its Q7 sister and doesn't offer any more driving excitement. Ultimately, the extra versatility of the seven-seat Q7 makes it easier to recommend.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    55 TFSI Quattro S Line 5dr Tiptronic [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £66,805

Most Economical

  • Name
    55 TFSI e Quattro S Line 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £75,205

Fastest

  • Name
    SQ8 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £82,925

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