2021 Audi Q8

2021 Audi Q8 Review: Pace, Grace And Practicality

The 2021 Audi Q8 sits in a corner of the SUV market that is growing in popularity. This premium ride is classified as a midsize luxury crossover SUV coupe and comes powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder gas engine mated to a 48-volt lithium-ion battery hybrid system. This handsome car competes with other coupe-style SUVs such as the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. As an equally luxurious but slightly less practical SUV than the Audi Q7, the Q8 offers loads of desirability for its starting price of $68,200. The Q8 rides beautifully and, on the open road, it makes for a convincing cruiser with enough performance on tap for most situations. It should be noted that the Q8 can feel sluggish in town, but it is a small issue, and the plush interior and generous amounts of tech make up for it. The infotainment system can get distracting but is easier to operate once you're used to it, and this mild-hybrid coupe-SUV also offers good interior space and is nearly as practical as a conventionally-styled SUV.

Read in this review:

2021 Audi Q8 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Q8?

The 2021 Audi Q8 is the flagship of the brand's SUV range, and for 2021, it comes with a few new standard features. Audi side assist and pre sense rear are now standard on the base trim. The optional Convenience package now includes a heated steering wheel and top-view camera on the base model. Premium Plus models now add a standard heated steering wheel, and the Executive package available to this model includes heated rear seats, leather-upholstered armrests, adaptive cruise assist, Audi active lane assist, and HD Matrix-design LED headlights.

Pros and Cons

  • Cool looks
  • Sporty dynamics
  • Refined overall experience
  • Lots of tech
  • Distracting infotainment system
  • City driving can feel like a chore
  • Exterior styling limits passenger and cargo space

Best Deals on Q8

2021 Audi Q8 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Premium 55 TFSI quattro
3.0L Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$68,200
Prestige 55 TFSI quattro
3.0L Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$68,200
Premium Plus 55 TFSI quattro
3.0L Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$68,200

Q8 Exterior

Audi has designed a decidedly handsome exterior for the Q8, which draws attention no matter where you go. This sleek SUV comes packed with a ton of exterior features from the base model upward. The Premium derivative features 20-inch five-double-spoke design wheels, full LED headlights with high-beam assist, and a power rear liftgate. Premium Plus models add 21-inch five-segment-spoke design wheels. The Prestige Plus includes LED taillights with animation. The Black Optic package on the Premium Plus adds 22-inch Audi Sport wheels, red brake calipers, along with unique front and rear bumper inserts, black roof rails, and black trim around the side windows. The S line package (not available on the base trim) includes S line fender badges, illuminated door sill inlays, and 21-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with contrasting gray and partially polished finish wheels.

2021 Audi Q8 Front View CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Front Angle View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

The Audi Q8 SUV is classified as a mid-size luxury crossover SUV coupé, and its dimensions are similar in size to that of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. The Audi Q8 quattro rides on a 117.9-inch wheelbase and is 196.6 inches long, making it over two inches longer than the Porsche. Height comes in at 67.2 inches and width is 86.2 inches with the mirrors included and 78.5 without them. The track in the front is 66.1 inches, and 66.8 inches in the back. All trim levels weigh in at 5,004 pounds and offer a ground clearance, when loaded, of 5.75 inches.

  • Length 196.6 in
  • Wheelbase 117.9 in
  • Height 67.2 in
  • Max Width 78.5 in
  • Front Width 66.1 in
  • Rear Width 66.6 in

Exterior Colors

Color options play a massive role in the overall styling of a car, and with the Q8 being such a beauty, it would make sense that Audi has bestowed this SUV with a great number of exciting paint colors that will suit every taste. The 2021 Q8 is offered with two complimentary colors, namely Carrara White and Night Black. For metallic colors, you'll have to cough up an extra $595. The metallic range includes Dragon Orange, Florett Silver, Galaxy Blue, Glacier White, Samurai Gray, Vicuna Beige, and Orca Black. On Premium Plus variants, the stunning Navarra Blue Metallic becomes available when you go for the S Line package, while Daytona Gray Pearl is added to the palette as well and costs $595. Navarra Blue is the color to go for here.

  • Vicuna Beige Metallic
  • Galaxy Blue Metallic
  • Florett Silver Metallic
  • Glacier White Metallic
  • Dragon Orange Metallic
  • Navarra Blue Metallic
  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect
  • Orca Black Metallic
  • Samurai Gray Metallic
  • Carrara White
  • Night Black

2021 Audi Q8 Performance

Performance is equal across the trim range, with each car benefiting from the same turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder power and eight-speed transmission. The total power output for this engine is a respectable 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which gets sent to all four wheels via a quattro all-wheel-drive system. Power from this engine is ample once you start moving, and most will feel satisfied with what is offered here. The Audi Q8 SUV might weigh over 5,000 pounds, but it still has some get up and go: the 0-60 sprint takes only 5.6 seconds, which is a tenth of a second quicker than the base Porsche Cayenne Coupe. However, the more affordable BMW X6 is faster. The Q8 will continue on to a limited top speed of 130 mph. In most gears, the Audi feels faster than the Porsche, which is an impressive feat considering the fact that the Cayenne Coupe is lighter. Being an SUV, the Q8 offers a pretty decent towing capacity of 7,700 pounds, which should be enough to haul a premium caravan to Florida for the holidays.

2021 Audi Q8 Driving Front Angle CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Forward Vision CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

From the base model, all the way to the top-tier Prestige, you get a single engine and transmission option. Under the hood of the 2021 Q8 SUV lies a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder gas engine mated to a 48-volt/9.6 Ah lithium-ion battery hybrid system and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with quattro AWD. This mild-hybrid powertrain produces a healthy 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Out on the open road, this combination offers smooth power delivery and strong overtaking abilities, which is exactly what this SUV was designed for. Still, unfortunately, there is a weak spot: in and around town at low speeds, the engine can feel hesitant and unresponsive, which gets frustrating when trying to take gaps in traffic or competing with Honda Civics away from the lights. Sure, the Q8 is a heavy car, but rivals such as the Cayenne Coupe don't suffer from the same issue and provide seamless power all the way through the rev range. The exhaust note is also very conservative, and we believe that it deserves a meaner growl. The experience here is satisfactory, but Audi USA needs to work on low-speed drivability.

  • Engine
    3.0L Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The 2021 Q8 manages to balance a tall ride height with impressively sporty driving dynamics for a unique overall driving experience. As can be expected, it's not as pleasing to drive around a corner as Audi's range of sedans, but it still puts up an impressive performance. Ride comfort is good, especially when the vehicle is fitted with the optional air suspension system, and even with the massive optional 22-inch wheels, bumps get soaked up without any major complaints. The Q8 proves to be quite the agile handling crossover, and its quick steering responses are a boon for tight city traffic and parking. It also comes in handy if you ever decide to take this beauty off-road. Grip in the rain and on dirt tracks is excellent thanks to Audi's legendary quattro AWD system, which inspires confidence on any road surface, but throw this bulky SUV into a corner with too much gusto, and you'll be greeted with mild understeer. The brake pedal feel is good at cruising speeds but failed to impress at lower speeds due to inconsistent performance. Independent reviews claim that the Q8 will stop from 70 mph in just 170 feet.

Q8 Gas Mileage

The Q8 is a large car, and that usually means an expensive fuel bill, especially when you consider that this Audi SUV is powered by a large capacity turbocharged gas engine. The EPA rates that the Q8 will manage a best figure of 18/23/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. This is not bad when you compare it to the competition: the Porsche Cayenne Coupe will match that number with 19/23/20 mpg. A diesel solution could have helped bring the numbers down. Thankfully, the Q8 is fitted with a large 22.5-gallon fuel tank, which allows it to drive for up to 450 miles on a single tank of gas.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    22.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 18/23 mpg
* 2021 Audi Q8 Premium 55 TFSI quattro AWD

Q8 Interior

Step inside the cabin of the 2021 Q8, and you'll be greeted with premium materials and opulent luxury. This is one of the best interiors in the class and can stand up to competition from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche any day of the week. Fine leather and real wood inserts are found across the interior, and the tech levels are also up to standard. The base model of the range features a panoramic sunroof, leather eight-way power-adjustable heated seats with four-way lumbar control for the driver, and three-zone automatic climate control. The Premium Plus adds four-zone automatic climate control and a multicolor contour/ambient LED interior lighting package. The Prestige also gets a leather upper dashboard and power rear window shades.

2021 Audi Q8 Driver Seat CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Steering Wheel CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

Unlike the Q7 which boasts a 3rd row of seats, this SUV can officially carry five adults, but you could squeeze a few more in the spacious trunk if need be. Don't let the coupe body style fool you: the Q8 offers a ton of space for both the front and rear passengers, with a legroom figure of 41.6 inches in the front and 40.2 in the rear. The headroom is also more than enough for six-foot-tall adults in the front and rear. The seats are sumptuous in the way that they support the two front passengers and should prove to be extremely comfortable over the long haul. The driving position is rather commanding, which is excellent in traffic and for driving off-road, and accessing the front seats is easy thanks to some large front doors. Getting in the rear is also a cinch due to the ample head and legroom, and you don't have to worry about squeezing into a 3rd-row seat here.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.6 in
  • Front Head Room 37.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.1 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The inside of the Q8 is a classy affair, and Audi has selected only the finest leather and wood grain materials. The base model's seats can be upholstered in your choice of Black with Rock Gray cross-stitching, Okapi Brown, Saiga Beige, or Pando Gray with Rock Gray cross stitching. A black dashboard and Lunar Silver headliner applies in all cases. There are three inlay options: Fine Grain Ash Natural Brown Wood, Lava Brown Eucalyptus Natural Wood, or High-gloss Gray Oak Wood. The Prestige model comes with perforated Valcona leather in Sardar Brown when you opt for the Design Selection package, and you also get Basalt Gray Eucalyptus Natural Wood inlays and other extras that add a combined $6,300 to the base price. The Luxury package adds an Alcantara headliner and a full leather package, including the center console, instrument panel, and door armrests.

2021 Audi Q8 Trunk and Cargo Space

You're not going to be left wanting here. The 2021 Q8 offers a generous amount of trunk and overall cargo space for large families and adventurous couples. Open up the tailgate, and you'll be greeted by a spacious 30.5 cubic feet of space, which is more than enough for a week's worth of groceries for a family of four. If more space is required, then the sliding, split-folding 40/20/40 rear seats can be dropped. This means 60.7 cubic feet of space. The Porsche Cayenne Coupe, on the other hand, can only manage 22 cubic feet with the seats upright, and 54.3 cubic feet when folded. That makes the Q8 highly competitive in this category.

Small items are stored in the slim door pockets, cramped glove box, or narrow nook below the center armrest. Cupholders are provided for both front- and rear-seat occupants.

2021 Audi Q8 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
2021 Audi Q8 Trunk Space with Seat Folded CarBuzz

Q8 Infotainment and Features

Features

The specs on the Q8 read like a real luxury car. All models are equipped with a panoramic sunroof, leather seating surfaces, heated eight-way power-adjustable front seats, as well as safety systems such as Audi pre sense front, front/rear parking sensors, a digital driver's display, adaptive damping, Audi pre sense basic, and high-beam assist. The mid-range Premium Plus adds four-zone automatic climate control (up from three zones in the base model), contour/ambient LED interior lighting, ventilated front seats, and wireless charging. Prestige models introduce an upper leather dashboard, power rear sunshades, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, a head-up display, and traffic sign recognition.

Infotainment

Infotainment systems play a massive role in the overall user experience of any new vehicle, so it should come as good news that the MMI Navigation plus system with MMI touch response inside the 2021 Audi Q8 is a great one. The dashboard is dominated by a top 10.1-inch touchscreen and another smaller screen below for climate controls. This setup looks clean and functions just as well, but can become a distraction whilst driving. Each Q8 SUV comes with Audi connect with online services, SiriusXM radio with a 90-day trial subscription, Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an Audi smartphone interface, front/rear USB ports, navigation, Audi Connect Prime & Plus. While the Premium comes with Audi's standard sound system, the Premium Plus and Prestige models are fitted with a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system that features 17 speakers and a subwoofer, as well as a 16-channel amplifier with 730 watts of power. This system sounds excellent when bumping Juicy by Doja Cat. If you're after an even better sound experience, Audi offers a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen system for $5,000, but this option is limited to the Prestige.

Q8 Problems and Reliability

The Q8 has proven to be a reliable SUV and has only been recalled once in the last two model years. The single recall was issued in May of 2020 for a transmission oil pipe that could develop a leak. J.D. Power has given the 2020 Q8 a solid reliability score of 80 out of a possible 100. Audi will back the Q8 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and drivetrain warranty, an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on hybrid and electric parts, and a four-year roadside assistance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

Q8 Safety

At this price range, it is to be expected that occupant safety has been prioritized in a big way, and when it comes to the Q8, that is true. This has to be one of the safest cars in its class, and a review by both the NHTSA and IIHS proves that the Audi Q8 will keep you safe in most situations. The NHTSA gave the 2021 model a full five-out-of-five stars, and the IIHS gave the 2020 Q8 a Top Safety Pick award. Enough said.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

2021 Audi Q8 Key Safety Features

The safety rating agencies clearly love the Q8, so there must be a good reason why this vehicle is so impressive. The secret lies in the Q8's numerous driver assistance systems that come as standard across the range. The base variant features six airbags, including side-curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are an optional extra at $350. Driver assistance features that are standard across the range are Audi pre sense front/basic/rear, front/rear parking sensors, high-beam assist, Audi side assist, and Audi pre sense rear, including rear cross-traffic assist and vehicle exit warning. The Prestige includes a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, and traffic sign recognition. A night vision assistant with large animal and pedestrian detection is an optional extra on the Prestige at $2,500. The Executive Package adds safety features such as Audi adaptive cruise assist with traffic jam assist and turn assist on the Premium Plus for $2,800.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Audi Q8 SUV a good car?

Those looking for a premium, practical and powerful mid-size SUV don't have to look much further than the 2021 Q8. This elegantly styled SUV provides an excellent balance of all the elements that make up an appealing daily driver and doesn't do anything particularly bad. Inside the Q8, passengers are treated to a refined cabin that boasts leather surfaces and the latest Audi tech. Being an SUV by classification means that there is naturally a good amount of interior space; in fact, it is one of the class leaders, and the overall trunk and cargo space is impressive as well. New owners will appreciate the MMI infotainment system but should be aware that it can distract drivers. In terms of performance, the Q8 delivers enough go to satisfy most needs. It will sprint to sixty in the blink of an eye and overtake slow-moving cars without breaking a sweat. Starting at not much less than $70,000, the Q8 certainly isn't cheap but is competitively priced compared to its rivals, and we would recommend it any day of the week.

🚘What's the Price of the new 2021 Audi Q8?

The 2021 Audi Q8 is available in three trims, which means three prices. The base model starts with an MSRP of $68,200. This price does not include tax, registration, or a destination fee of $1,095. Stepping up to the mid-range Premium Plus will cost you $72,050. Finally, the Prestige trim car goes for $77,850. Fully loaded, the Prestige will set you back a hair over $100k. If the cost of a new Audi Q8 seems too high, you won't have any trouble finding a good used model for sale, and the 2020 Q8 is starting to look very attractive on the secondhand market.

2021 Audi Q8 Quattro Models

Audi offers the 2021 Q8 in three different trim levels: the Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All three trim levels are powered by the same turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine producing 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a mild-hybrid system aiding the smooth operation of the stop-start system. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission.

The Premium features full LED headlights with high-beam assist, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, three-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats with memory settings and four-way lumbar adjustment for the driver, a 10.1-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM radio, as well as safety systems such as front/rear parking sensors, Audi pre sense basic and cruise control with coast, resume and accelerate capability.

The Premium Plus adds features such as four-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, a phone signal booster with wireless phone charging, a surround-view camera system, a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, and a contour/ambient LED interior lighting package, amongst others.

Prestige models add a number of added safety features such as a head-up display, traffic sign recognition, and traffic jam assist, and HD Matrix-design LED headlights. The interior features a leather upper dashboard, and power rear sunshades.

See All 2021 Audi Q8 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Starting with the base model, new owners can opt for the $1,500 Black Optic package, which treats the exterior to 21-inch alloy wheels, front and rear bumper inserts, black roof rails, and black trim around the side windows. The $1,250 Convenience package adds wireless phone charging, auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors. The Premium Plus can be had with the $750 S line Style package, which includes S line fender badges, the S line exterior appearance package, illuminated door sill inlays, and 21-inch alloy wheels. The $2,750 Adaptive Chassis package includes adaptive air suspension and all-wheel steering. For an extra luxurious experience, the Prestige model can be fitted with the $6,300 Luxury package. This package adds features such as Valcona leather seats, an Alcantara headliner, and dual-pane acoustic glass.

🚗What Audi Q8 Model Should I Buy?

With a price difference of close to $10k between the base model and the Prestige, Audi offers a solid spread of features over the three Q8 trim levels. New owners will be pleased that all three trim levels share the same powertrain, which makes the purchasing decision slightly more straightforward, and it will all boil down to how many features you're looking for. The Premium is no pauper and comes with a stack of new tech features that places it right next to its competition. Standard features such as front and rear parking sensors, three-zone automatic climate control, and Audi pre sense front are all notable features. For only $4,000 extra, we would go with the Premium Pus, which adds features such as a Bang & Olufsen sound system and a surround-view camera system. The Premium Plus offers the best value for money in terms of standard features.

Check out other Audi Q8 Styles

2021 Audi Q8 Comparisons

Audi Q7 Audi
Lamborghini Urus Lamborghini
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Audi Q8335 hp18/23 mpg$68,200
Audi Q7 248 hp19/23 mpg$54,950
Lamborghini Urus 641 hp12/17 mpg$207,326

2021 Audi Q8 vs Audi Q7

As the name suggests, the Q7 slots in below the Q8 in Audi's SUV lineup. The Q7 is offered with two engine options: you get to choose between a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot developing 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, or a turbocharged 3.0-liter six producing an equal 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter engine provides a superior gas mileage figure of 19/23/21 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycle. Performance from the 2.0-liter engine is impressive, but the 3.0-liter engine offers superior pulling power at only a small cost to fuel economy. Inside, the Q7 looks and feels similar thanks to its shared DNA and features, but it is worth noting the third-row seating on offer in the Q7, regardless of the fact that it's very tight back there. The Q7 dominates in terms of cargo space, with a total of 69.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats. The Q7 starts at $54,950, which is a considerable $13,250 less than the Q8. Get the Q7 with the 3.0-liter engine if you want pace and space.

See Audi Q7 Review

2021 Audi Q8 vs Lamborghini Urus

The Urus and Q8 share the same MLB Evo architecture, but that is where most of the similarities end. The Urus is an SUV with the heart of a supercar and offers performance in a different league to the Q8. The RS Q8 would be a better comparison in terms of power. Under the hood of the Urus lies a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 producing 641 hp and 627 lb-ft. This allows the Urus to sprint from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds. The Urus will get a dismal 12/17/14 mpg, though. It also features performance accessories such as carbon-ceramic brakes. This car is on a different level performance-wise. On the road, the Urus is surprisingly comfortable when it needs to be, and can match the Q8 for cruising capability, but is the sharper car to fling around the corners. The Urus features a more sports-oriented cabin compared to the Audi Q8 interior, but can't match it for standard features, and trunk and overall cargo space is also much less impressive. The Urus starts at over $200,000. Get the Urus if you want to race Ferraris from the lights while taking your kids to school.

See Lamborghini Urus Review

Audi Q8 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Audi Q8:

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