The Audi Q8 combines the elegance of a four-door luxury coupé with the practical versatility of a large SUV. Richly equipped, comprehensively connected and tough enough for off-road duty, it is a confident companion for business and leisure. The Audi Q8 is expected to launch in Australia in early 2019.
Audi Q8 – the exterior design
With the imposing Singleframe in octagonal design, the Audi Q8 is the new face of the Q family. The brawny radiator grille stands upright and, together with the spoiler that has been drawn toward the front and the large, highly contoured air inlets, emphasises the self-confident look.
Elegantly sloping, the roofline terminates in gently inclined D-pillars and rests against the quattro blisters above the wheel arches, which house up to 22-inch wheels. Numerous details hint at the design of the original quattro.
Strong contours and athletically tight surfaces convey a feeling of power, sophistication and the special dynamics of the permanent all-wheel drive. The spoiler, wheel arch trims, door trim strips and diffuser are in a contrasting colour, to further emphasise the off-road look.
Standard LED headlights illuminate the road, with HD Matrix LED technology available as an option. Here both the three-dimensional signature of the daytime running lights and the taillights have a digital character.
A light strip connects the units at the rear, and as in the original Audi quattro, a black surface underlays this strip. Q8 owners can use the myAudi app on their smartphone to activate various lighting functions and experience them from the outside.
Audi Q8 – interior
Easy-to-understand symbols demonstrate the digital precision from Audi and the high level of integration of architecture and operation. The central element is the top MMI touch response display.
With its black-panel look, it almost dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off. All elements refer logically to one another, from the flat air vent strip to the wide console on the centre tunnel bearing the tiptronic selector lever.
In the dark, the optional contour light traces the distinctive design lines of the interior and provides backlight for the three-dimensionally lasered quattro badge above the glove compartment – an example of the attention to detail.
Options including customised contour seats with massage function and ventilation, four-zone automatic air conditioning and the air quality package further enhancing the ambiance.
Sensitive and concise: controls and displays
With the MMI touch response operating concept of the new Audi Q8, nearly every function can be accessed via two large displays. The upper 10.1-inch display is used for controlling the infotainment and the navigation system.
The driver uses the 8.6-inch display below that for heating and air conditioning, convenience functions and text input, the latter with his or her wrist resting comfortably and ergonomically on the selector lever.
Operation is swift and simple: a tactile and acoustic click confirms when a finger activates a function. In addition to all this, the natural language voice control turns the Audi Q8 into an intelligent dialog partner.
Drivers can speak their commands freely, the voice control able to understand, for example, “I am hungry” and in response suggests restaurants close by.
The instruments are shown in the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit. Its high-resolution 12.3-inch display can be switched between two views via the multifunction steering wheel.
The optional plus version includes a third, particularly sporty view, while the head-up display also projects important information onto the windscreen, including detailed lane guidance for navigation.
Audi Q8 – Features and Technology
The Audi Q8 comes standard with the top-of-the-line infotainment system, MMI navigation plus. It includes the Audi connect data transfer module with the LTE Advanced standard and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The navigation system recognises the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys and therefore can make intelligent suggestions. The online services from Audi connect add predictive features to the route planning process, letting the two Car-to-X services for traffic sign information and hazard information benefit from the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.
Optional Audi connect key lets the driver lock/unlock the vehicle, and start the engine using a compatible Android smartphone. Individual user profiles allow as many as 400 preferred settings to be stored for multiple drivers. With the myAudi app, drivers can also transfer special destinations to the navigation system, stream music or transfer the smartphone calendar to the MMI.
The Audi Q8 is top-notch with respect to sound and connection quality thanks to the Audi phone box and voice-over LTE. The same applies to the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System which delivers fascinating 3D sound with height information to all five seats. The music unfolds just as it was recorded in the concert hall.
Whether parking, in the city or on long journeys – the Audi Q8 supports its driver in many situations. Among the systems contributing here are the adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, crossing assist, lane change warning, curb warning and 360 degree cameras.
One highlight is the remote garage pilot, which will follow in early 2019. Under the supervision of the driver, it guides the SUV into a garage and back out again autonomously. The driver gets out of the car beforehand and activates the process using the myAudi app on their smartphone.
Remote parking pilot offers a similar level of convenience. Behind all of these features is the central driver assistance controller which continuously computes a differentiated model of the surroundings and uses this to manage the assistance systems.
The required data are obtained – depending on the selected options – from up to five radar sensors, six cameras, 12 ultrasound sensors and the laser scanner.
Audi Q8 – Versatile, sporty, elegant
The Audi Q8 exudes sporty dynamics and upscale prestige like no other SUV from the brand with the four rings. Measuring 4.99 metres long, 2 metres wide and 1.71 metres tall, the SUV coupe is wider, shorter and lower than its Q7 sister model.
With a wheelbase of nearly 3 metres, it offers a spacious interior that beats its direct competitors in most relevant dimensions, including interior length and headroom.
Audi Q8 – suspension and drive
Audi is quattro and quattro is Audi – of course this applies in particular to the Q8, the top SUV of the brand. The purely mechanical centre differential transfers the forces to the front axle and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60 as standard.
When required, it transfers the majority to the axle with the better traction. That, plus as much as 254 millimetres of ground clearance, short overhangs and hill descent control means the Audi Q8 can keep driving even after the bitumen ends.
The suspension with damper control is standard and Audi offers the adaptive air suspension with controlled damping as an option, with either comfort or sport setup. It adjusts the ride height depending on the driving situation and the driver’s preference by as much as 90 millimetres.
Besides the standard progressive steering, whose steering ratio becomes increasingly direct the further the steering wheel is turned, Audi also offers the option of all-wheel steering. It can turn the rear wheels as much as five degrees – counter to the direction of the turn at low speeds to increase agility and at higher speeds in the direction of the turn for better stability.
All drive systems are particularly efficient thanks to the new mild hybrid technology (MHEV). The 48-volt primary electrical system incorporates two important technology modules: a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter.
During braking, it can recover up to 12kW of power and feed it back into the battery. The MHEV technology enables long coasting phases with the engine deactivated and a start-stop range that begins at 22km/h.