At long last, Audi has succumbed to the coupe-SUV craze.
After an exhaustive teaser campaign, which even included a bizarre mini web-series, Audi has finally lifted the wraps off the first-ever Q8 SUV. Essentially Audi’s answer to the BMW X6, the Q8 “combines the elegance of a four-door luxury coupe and the convenient versatility of an SUV.” It’s been a long time coming, frankly, since BMW practically pioneered the coupe-style SUV segment with the X6 over ten years ago. As we suspected, the stylish coupe SUV looks a lot like the original Q8 concept - and that's no bad thing.
Measuring 16.4 feet long, 6.6 feet wide and 5.6 feet tall, the Q8 is wider, shorter and lower than its Q7 sibling, but has a five-seat layout instead of seven. With a wheelbase of nearly 9.8 ft, the Q8 has a surprisingly spacious interior that Audi says beats its direct competitors like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Coupe. With the rear seats folded down, the luggage compartment holds up to 62.0 cubic feet and 21.3 cubic feet with them up. Aesthetically, the Q8 stands out from the rest of the Q range thanks to Audi’s new styling language first seen on the new A8 flagship sedan. At the front is a prominent singleframe grille with six vertical chrome strips, flanked by matrix LED headlights.
An elegantly sloping roofline highlights the profile, while at the back you’ll find a pair of LED taillights connected with a thin LED bar and a sleek integrated spoiler. Inside, the Q8’s high-tech interior mimics the layout of the opulent A8 limousine, featuring two large touchscreens. A 10.1-inch display is used for controlling the infotainment and the navigation system, while a 8.6-inch display below controls the heating and air conditioning along with other convenience functions. Natural language voice control also understands voice commands like “I am hungry” and will helpfully recommend restaurants nearby.
Instruments are shown in the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit, which has a high-resolution 12.3-inch display that can be switched between two views via the multifunction steering wheel. In terms of powertrains, Audi has so far only announced the 50 TDI version of the Q8 for Europe, which is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 diesel. It uses mild-hybrid technology incorporating a 40-volt electric network, a lithium-ion battery, and a belt-driven alternator-starter. With the engine off, this allows the SUV to run at speeds of up to 100 mph and recover up to 12 kilowatts during deceleration, which improves fuel consumption by about 0.7 liters per 100 kilometers (62 miles).
The 3.0-liter V6 TDI sends 286 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro AWD system. With this setup, 0-62 mph takes 6.3 seconds. However, in the first months of 2019 the engine range will expand with a slightly less potent 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI gasoline variant with 340 hp, the latter of which is more likely to arrive in America. The new Q8 will launch in Germany and other European countries in Q3 this year before US sales begin in 2019.