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Audi Q8 review: An imposing premium SUV

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It’s 4 months since we noticed the Audi Q8 revealed on the Model Summit in Shenzen. Our emotions on the automotive are undimmed since that encounter: this SUV has critical presence. It’s additionally unmistakably an Audi, regardless of some design departures from the German automaker’s present SUV line-up.

We’ve now pushed two spec ranges of Audi’s newest sporty SUV – each in beautiful dragon orange color and a extra sedate metallic blue – out on the roads in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, to get a style of varied floor varieties.

The Q8 is designed to to lure clients away from the completely interesting Vary Rover and considerably duller BMW X6. Does the Audi have what it takes?

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Design

The Q8 makes the Q3, Q5 and Q7 appear, properly, much less thrilling by comparability. Partly due to the Q8’s distinctive lightstrip that slashes throughout the rear; it’s just like that on the forthcoming Audi e-tron (and different, future Audi fashions, little question) that makes for a particular and hanging design.

The Q8 is an aggressive-looking SUV. With an enormous grille on the entrance it has an imposing stance. That stated, we’re nonetheless not bought on it from each single viewing angle – we expect it seems greatest head-on.

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When it comes to measurement, the Q8 is just a little smaller in size than the Q7 (by 66mm; it’s 27mm wider although). Feels like a small distinction, however the Q8 doesn’t look as general large because the Q7, regardless of its three-metre wheelbase.

Audi’s design workforce appeared to the Quattro coupe when designing the Q8. That’s fairly clear: its roof is sloped low in the direction of the again, the place it sweeps into a big spoiler. The doorways are all frameless. And there are ‘Quattro blisters’ above the wheels, once more to reference basic coupe.

The Q8 has an in depth package record as normal however, naturally, you’ll be able to nonetheless fill it out with oodles of choices (when you’re prepared to open your pockets). As normal there’s adaptive suspension, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and a dual-zone automated air con system.

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Know-how and inside

The inside options all the identical digital cockpit controls behind the steering wheel that we’ve just lately seen inside different fashions, together with the Audi A8. Having the satnav view proper there in entrance of you is sensible, plus you possibly can change between different digital cockpit screens. Satnav works particularly nicely used with the non-compulsory head-up-display (HUD) that retains you abreast of present velocity limits.

There’s additionally a seamlessly-integrated twin touchscreen association within the centre console for controlling all the things from the radio to the driving modes. The 10.1-inch prime show is used for infotainment and navigation, whereas the decrease Eight.6-inch unit under manages the heating, air con and different consolation features. The icons displayed are configurable, so it can save you your self from menu digging by including related shortcuts in your personal wants.

As we’ve stated of this setup in Audi’s different automobiles: we expect there should be a number of extra bodily controls, notably for drive choose (which is presently an up/down arrow association on the backside of the decrease touchscreen), to make for a much less eyes-off-the-road consumer expertise. A few of these controls are onerous to seek out whereas driving, though the haptic suggestions (the display vibrates to really feel convincingly like urgent buttons) does assist, as do the on-wheel choices for widespread features.

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In case you’re capable of give issues your full consideration, nevertheless, the system is straightforward to make use of and there are some good touches similar to with the ability to scrawl your required vacation spot together with your finger on the decrease touchscreen. No sluggish textual content enter right here.

The system additionally helps the Audi Join key for Android telephones, which means wi-fi entry and different car-monitoring screens. Qi-compatible wi-fi telephone charging takes place underneath the central (automated) armrest, which is absolutely useful to only pop your telephone within the cradle without having to consider any cables. Join providers are provided free for the primary three years.

There are a great deal of driver help methods fitted too. A intelligent 360-degree around-the-vehicle view makes use of 4 cameras (one on all sides) to compose a picture wanting on the car from above. Adaptive cruise help (Vorsprung mannequin solely) helps you with accelerating, braking, sustaining velocity, preserving distance (additionally in visitors). Then there’s lane help and sideways car detection.

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The Q8 is an SUV with the emphasis on ‘sports’, because the baggage area is huge. The boot boasts 605 litres of area as normal, or an enormous 1,755 litres with the rear seats folded down (that’s round 70 litres greater than the area within the big Audi A6 Avant) so can take loads of gear.

Households will respect the large swathes of room too. There’s loads of stowage contained in the passenger compartment. Flexibility is excessive: two youngsters and all their accouterments gained’t dent the obtainable area, or three adults can sit throughout the again in consolation – so there’s loads of adaptivity.

Trim ranges and engine choices

We drove the three.Zero TDI V6 automotive in two trim ranges. It’s the one engine out there for now, though petrol choices will comply with in 2019 (once more, three.Zero litre). It’s clearly a strong 286ps unit – however it stunned us how noisy it appeared from outdoors the automotive when idling. Inside, although, the soundproofing means issues are much more serene.

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There’s no phrase on a hybrid choice. As an alternative, the present automotive has a 48V ‘mild-hybrid’ system that kicks in whenever you coast inside the 34-100mph vary, though we discovered the electrical energy took over much less typically than we anticipated. A number of occasions we lifted off and coasted to attempt to invoke the system, however the combustion engine remained in management. That’s the factor with mild-hybrids which might be such huge automobiles.

The 2 trim ranges obtainable at launch are the S Line, beginning at £65,040, and Vorsprung, beginning at £83,040.

The S Line model consists of Matrix LED lights, 21-inch alloys and adaptive air suspension. There’s additionally privateness glass, as electrically adjustable seats and a 10-speaker sound system.

Vorsprung, which is known as after a part of Audi’s slogan, provides a Valcona leather-based inside, all-wheel steering, the head-up show (HUD), amongst different additions like titanium black door mirrors and inserts within the grille. There’s additionally an improve to 22-inch alloy wheels, electrical boot opening and electrical sunblinds for the rear home windows, in addition to a panoramic glass sunroof and Bang & Olufsen sound system.

It’s a good leap, at £18,000. Whereas there’s some nice extras – and the variations are clear when contained in the automotive – the typical purchaser in all probability gained’t take that additional step. It relies upon if you’d like the perfect or higher.

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Driving

The Q8 has a commanding driving, however you don’t really feel so excessive up that you simply’re driving a tank – one thing that lets say concerning the Q7 – whereas the Zero-62mph in 6.three seconds means it’s no slouch.

Regardless of its measurement, the Q8 really is enjoyable to drive, particularly in dynamic mode, after which the extra restrained consolation mode feels a bit lifeless. For those who don’t need to fiddle round, although, auto mode will serve most functions, including some punch into the combination when it’s wanted and firming issues down when it’s not. The gearbox is an Eight-speed tiptronic unit, so you’ll be able to manually shift utilizing the paddles do you have to want.

On a B-roads the automotive doesn’t really feel giant in any respect – in truth it’s fairly exceptional for such a big and heavy automotive (it’s simply over two metric tons). Nevertheless, on nation lanes that additional width could be felt, however security options similar to lane departure assist hold you on the straight and slender.

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Verdict

Massively interesting to drive, the important thing to the Audi Q8’s general attraction is its flexibility and degree of kit. The S Line specification provides the most effective worth for cash – and we’d argue that it nonetheless will get you the complete Q8 expertise at almost £20,000 lower than the top-end Vorsprung. Naturally, that mannequin’s superior gear degree does place it a reduce above.

As with the opposite top-line Audis, we’re very impressed with the digital cockpit tech, however consider the touchscreen setup might be distracting for some, and we’d like just some extra guide controls (though it isn’t that fashionable to say so).

The Q8 is a worthy machine to supplant the Q7 on the prime of Audi’s SUV record. Not solely is it a lot extra thrilling than its barely longer brother, it poses questions for Vary Rover to which it gained’t essentially have all of the solutions.

Options to think about

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Volvo XC60

This was our runner-up automotive of the yr 2017. It seems nice and there’s some particular tech inside. No, it’s not the supreme off-roader that the Land Rover is, however there’s an amazing passenger cabin. And in contrast to the Q8 there’s a superb plug-in hybrid model – although it’s fairly on the costly aspect.

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Vary Rover Velar

The fourth car to put on the Vary Rover badge is the superb Vary Rover Velar – winner of our automotive of the yr award in 2017. It’s excellent, very snug and is completely stacked with tech inside. As you go up the spec listing, the Velar fairly quickly hits the £60,000 mark – however for that you simply’re getting a tremendous car.

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Audi Q7

Should you’re contemplating the Q8, you could think about its barely bigger brother, the Q7. It’s a exceptional automotive, however it’s a little bland when it comes to the styling. Our decide of the fashions is the fire-starting SQ7 with 4 litres and three turbos – however there’s loads of oomph additional down the vary as nicely. Much less sporty than the Q8, it’s a great choice when you don’t need to stand out within the automotive park.

(pocket-lint.com, https://goo.gl/Hdmq78)

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