Audi Q8 Review: Does The Big Brawny German Manage To Leave A Mark?

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4-door coupes were first made popular by Mercedes, after launching their CLS. Soon after, a lot of other carmakers followed suit considering the popularity of the coupes. BMW launched its X6 which again was a big hit, Porsche followed suit with the Cayenne coupe and Mercedes further launched the GLE coupe. How could Audi not follow on? Audi introduced their take on the SUV coupe thing, the Q8, based on the Q7. We recently got to get behind the wheels of this German SUV and the findings were quite interesting.

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Design & proportions

The Q8 is the flagship Q series SUV from Audi and it sure is designed that way. Upfront, it now gets the large, imposing octagonal grille which is in line with Audi’s new design language. It gets chrome surrounds all around the grille and 6 vertical slats that sit in. The inlet feeders on the bumper below are neatly designed and so are the stunning looking headlamps. You get intelligent HD lights with a flamboyant set of DRLs which double up as blinkers. And yeah, you still get a headlamp washer which is a cool thing.

 

On the sides, the sloping roofline is clearly visible. The spoiler creates a sort of illusion that displays a more sloping roofline than it actually is. Chrome surrounds on the window lines and frameless doors are a further treat to look at from the sides. In addition to that, you get a simple but lovely set of 20” alloys and an optional 21″ and an optional all-wheel steering as long as we are talking about wheels.

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On the rear, the main highlight is the taillights. It features a lovely set of LED taillight and swipe out LED indicators to further aesthetically please the eye. Another noticeable feature is the connected stop lamp which is illuminated. The Audi logo sits on a piano Black finished plate and whichever angle you look from; this SUV looks good. Heads are bound to turn.

The Q8 is based on the Q7 and hence the wheelbase is identical, which is the longest in the segment. Although, the overhang on the Q8 is a bit less and hence the overall length of the Q8 is a bit less than the Q7. Although, the Q8 appears to be a lot more butch and brawny machine. The ground clearance is a tad above 250mm in offroad mode and a massive 605 L of boot space to gobble up everything you have got.

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The Q8 we had with us had a Red paint job and further accentuating that shade of colour are the optional red brake callipers you can get, which apart from looking stunning, look equally sporty.

Interiors

Frameless doors are a rather great invitation into the cabin. When you get in, you realise how comfy the seats are. The seat is electrically adjustable and gets extendable thigh support. The driver also gets a tiny glove compartment to house some tiny stuff.

After getting in, those massive touch screens are surely going to capture your attention. On the top, you get an 10″ touch infotainment system, below which sits an 8.6″ touch screen for climate control both of which provide haptic feedback and a sound alert when you press in. Not to forget the massive 12.3″ latest generation virtual cockpit.

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On the centre console, you get a knob that allows you to switch between 7 drive modes – comfort, efficiency, auto, individual, off-road, all-road and dynamic. The fit-finish qualities are impeccable and the cabin itself is quite practical with enough storage spaces and charging points.

Other noteworthy features include ambient lighting, driver assist, auto park, frameless auto-dimming IRVM, wireless charging, panoramic sunroof, 8 airbags and a 23-speaker audio system. Yes, not 4, not 8, not 12, but 23 speakers. How Audi of Audi?

Audi Q8 Review

At the rear too, you are greeted by frameless doors. When you get in, you’d instantly notice that despite being a coupe SUV, the headroom is surprisingly better. Even 6 foot tall occupants will not find their heads brushing against the roof which is impressive. Knee room & legroom at the rear are quite adequate and reclining seats which can also slide, further enhance the comfort at the rear. AC controls, ashtray, central armrest, adjustable headrests for all 3 passengers, ample storage & charging points make up for a good practical cabin space at the rear too and is definitely a key highlight of the Audi Q8 in comparison to its competitors.

Performance

We will give you a number to gauge how quick this thing is. Weighing more than 2 tonnes, it sprints from 0-100 under 6 seconds. Generating all the grunt is a 3.0L turbo petrol engine that produces 340PS of peak power and 500Nm of peak torque and that grunt is put on the asphalt under both the axles ( thanks to Quattro all-wheel-drive ) via an 8-speed Automatic transmission. Also included is a 48V mild-hybrid system that further aids fuel efficiency, can coast on electric power alone and provides a bit of a boost if need be. Despite that Blimey quick sprint time, this doesn’t kick you back. It’s more like a solid punch in a silken glove. The transmission also is reasonably quick and not at all complaint worthy and should you wish to take manual control of things, you can do it via paddle shifters or the sequential shifts via the gear lever itself. Quattro all-wheel drive can intelligently vary the drive percentage to either axles depending on traction.

Dynamics

Q8 offers air suspension as standard and hence offers absolutely stunning ride quality. It glides over bad roads like butter on bread and offers supreme comfort. And, the ride quality is definitely better than the BMW X6. But, making an SUV go quick in a straight line is one thing and making it go quickly around corners is another. And the Audi Q8 can do both. It feels highly nimble and sure-footed around corners and inspires a lot of confidence.

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If we nitpick though, we would have liked at least level 1 autonomous driving features on a car that costs quite a lot.

Fuel efficiency

Official ARAI number is 10 km for every litre of fuel it drinks. Although, in stop-start City traffic, it can drop to 5-6 kmpl in some modes. However, in efficiency mode, you can extract a shade under 11 kmpl on the highway, a number that surpasses it’s ARAI number.

Pricing

The base variant starts at INR 1 crore while the fully-loaded variant will set you back by around INR 1.34 crores ( all prices, ex-showroom ). It is almost similar to the Porsche Cayenne in terms of pricing but one look at it, one drive in it and you know why you pay what you pay.

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Conclusion

The Q8 is a very good looking and very practical Audi. It offers superb comfort and a truckload of features. It is particularly quite adaptive and well suited to Indian conditions and can do everything for you with a beautiful smile. It had a great presence, impeccable practicality and with great looks both on the inside and outside, should be a good seller for Audi because it indeed is very good.

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