Audi Q8: Classy comfort and quiet confidence

Audi Q8 Middle East Press Pack-43
(Photos: Audi Middle East)
Audi’s late-coming tech-laden, sure-footed, and well-resolved gambit into the increasingly popular style-led and so-called “four-door coupe” premium SUV segment, the Q8’s crosshairs have been firmly fixed on the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe since 2018. Bringing 48v mild hybrid technology and a twin-screen infotainment system borrowed from the luxury A8 saloon to the table, the four-wheel-steer Q8 shares a platform with its Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg, Lamborghini Urus, and Bentley Bentayga cousins.اضافة اعلان

More subtly incorporating a low roof aesthetic than competitors, the Q8 introduces a futuristic Audi SUV design language and incorporates an octagonal interpretation of Audi’s vast, snouty trademark grille, with a confidently mature sensibility. It also discreetly references the iconic 1980s Audi Quattro in certain design details. Driven on Oman’s demanding 3,000m Jebel Akhdar, the sculpted orange Audi Q8 was a distinctly imposing presence that well matched its rocky surroundings, with its muscular surfacing, sharp ridges and angles, and high, level waistline.

Refined and responsive
Powered by a turbocharged direct injection 3-liter V6 engine, the entry-level 55 TFSI petrol Q8 model is nevertheless rarely found wanting more power on steep inclines and altitudes of 2,000m above sea level. Developing 340hp at a 5,000–6,400rpm plateau and 500Nm torque throughout a wide and accessibly versatile 1,370–4,500rpm band, it is confident and quick on the move, capable of 0–100km/h in 6.2-seconds and a 250km/h maximum.

Responsive from standstill with a quick-spooling turbo, the Q8 pulls consistently and confidently through revs, with a smooth delivery and subdued sound, bar a faint turbo whistle when frameless windows are open. Driving all four wheels through a slick and quick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox that well utilizes available output for performance and efficiency, the Q8 meanwhile incorporates aluminum construction elements for strength, rigidity, safety, and to restrain its inevitably hefty weight.

The Q8 also features a 48v mild hybrid system that primarily powers various ancillary and electrical systems, allows seamless automatic coasting for 40-seconds between 55km/h to 160km/h, and stop/start system operation from 22km/h. The 48v system contributes to a 0.7l/100km fuel consumption saving and is recharged through regenerative braking and the combustion engine. While the Q8 was not designed to intrude on the driveline, it can, however, contribute a 7Nm torque boost through the starter/generator.

Four-wheel finesse
Stable, settled, and refined at speed, the Q8 also delivers tenacious traction and road-holding courtesy of its Quattro four-wheel-drive. Driving with a default 40:60 front-to-rear power split for greater agility, it reallocates up to 85 percent power rearwards or 70 percent frontwards as necessary. Driving tidily through rollercoaster-like hairpins, the Q8’s agility is aided by brake-based torque vectoring. But its optional four-wheel-steering system was the real star through winding roads.

Entering and carrying corners with a smaller, lower, and lighter car’s agility, the Q8’s four-wheel-steering simulates a shorter, more maneuverable wheelbase as rear wheels turn 5° opposite to the front at lower speeds. Quick through hairpins with unexpected nimbleness, huge grip, and little tire squeal, the Q8 was as reassuring as riding on rails. At speed, the rear wheels meanwhile turn 1.5° in the same direction for enhanced stability and lane change response.

Fitted with optional air suspension, the Q8 tautly contained body roll in lower riding Dynamic driving setting. Focused and firm, yet smooth in Dynamic mode, the Q8’s Comfort mode is however more forgiving and fluent in riding over imperfections. Rising to a generous 254mm ground clearance for off-road driving, the Q8 easily dispatched moderately steep dirt road inclines and proved comfortable, maneuverable, adjustable, and grippy through winding gravel routes.

Adaptive ability
If slightly firm over jagged speed bumps and imperfections, the Q8’s standard regional spec 285/40R22 tires and 22-inch wheels are well-compensated for ride comfort by adaptive air suspension. However, ride quality and steering feel would further improve with smaller, lighter 19-inch Euro-spec tires. That said, steering was otherwise well-weighted, direct, and quick, while braking was reassuringly effective, with vast ventilated discs and six-piston front calipers well-resisting fade on steep descents.

Swathed with soft textured leathers and optional Alcantara roof-lining, the Q8’s quiet cabin features a classy design and user-friendly layouts, including large stacked twin infotainment screens with black glass haptic touch feedback buttons. The driving position is supportive and comfortable, while an optional 360° camera aids in reversing visibility. Front space, rear legroom, and 605-liter luggage volume are ample. Even with a coupe-like roofline, rear headroom is adequate, if not generous, for taller passengers.

Well-equipped, the Q8 features a standard panoramic roof, four-zone climate control, configurable Virtual Cockpit digital instrumentation, Isofix child seat latches, and Side Assist and Pre-sense safety system. Optional features include seat ventilation, parking assistance, and more. However, its 48v system could also potentially power the high-end luxury Audi A8’s high-tech predictive active electro-mechanical suspension as a possible option.

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