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Audi Q8 55 TFSI e Quattro Vorsprung 5dr Tiptronic

  • Automatic
  • Petrol Parallel PHEV
  • 5 door suv
  • 34 g/km CO2
  • 5.7 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 394 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

The Audi Q8 is one of those large coupe-style SUVs, part of a genre pioneered by BMW a decade ago with their X6 and subsequently copied by Mercedes. Audi's considered solution for fashion-orientated folk browsing in this segment is Q7-based and very Vorsprung durch technic. Especially in this updated form.

Background

In this century's second decade, the Volkswagen Group's MLB Evo platform spawned lots of luxury SUVs. First, we had the Audi Q7, then the Bentley Bentayga, the Porsche Cayenne, the Volkswagen Touareg and the Lamborghini Urus. Finally, in 2018, we came back full circle to another Audi, a derivative of the Q7, this swoopier Q8, first launched in 2018. The Q8 was Audi's entry into the large sector SUV-coupe market, started in the Noughties by the BMW X6, which was then followed by the Mercedes GLE Coupe. The latest versions of both of those two rivals have received facelifts in recent years, so the Q8 has had one too, a car that these days sells alongside a completely separate EV model, the unrelated Q8 e-tron. Here though, we're looking at the combustion Q8, which continues to roll of the VW Group's Slovakian Bratislava production line (alongside the Q7, the Cayenne and the Touareg) and shares the same wheelbase and cabin width as its large Audi stablemate. The driveway demeanour though, is very different here, the emphasis on fashion, rather than family. It's pointless asking whether we really need this kind of car. People want them. Audi's made one. Is it any good? Let's find out.

Driving Experience

The intended emphasis with this Q8 is far more on comfort and luxury than it is on lithe handling. Which is why Audi uses the full-length version of the Volkswagen Group's MLB-Evo architecture for this car, rather than the slightly shorter, more agile design of this chassis fitted to a rival Porsche Cayenne. As you'd expect, it's the same platform as features in the Q7, though here, the Ingolstadt engineers have fitted it out with shorter springs and larger wheels - which is unfortunate because both detract from the supple ride that ought to have been this Q8's calling card, fitted out as it is with standard air springs for the aluminium five-link front and rear suspension. To be frank, we've tried passively-suspended luxury-segment SUVs that have handled poor surfaces better. We'd hoped that the brand might have addressed this issue as part of this facelift, but as previously, unless you stretch to the six-figure sums required for the fastest SQ8 and RS Q8 versions, the drive dynamics of the mainstream models fall into that no-man's land between comfort and sportiness. Yes, as before, at speed through the turns you get excellent traction and decent body control. But this Audi's still much happier when you're not throwing it about. Or when you're towing; it can tug along up to 3,500kgs and 'off piste', the air suspension can raise the car as much as 254mm off the deck. Given that the brand is no longer developing combustion engines, it's no surprise to find that there are no changes to the two conventional powerplants that lie beneath the bonnet of this revised Q8. They're both 3.0-litre V6s, a 55 TFSI petrol unit with 340PS and the 50 TDI diesel with 286PS that we tried. As before, both models are fitted with the brand's 48V mild hybrid system with its belt-driven starter motor. And drive via an 8-speed Tiptronic auto. Plus of course there's standard quattro 4WD, which divides torque front-to-rear in a 40:60-split. When required, it transfers the majority of power to the axle with the better traction. The mainstream alternative is the 394PS petrol Plug-in Hybrid 55 TFSI e model, now improved with a larger 25.9kWh battery which improves EV driving range substantially to 51 miles. Your two other Q8 model options both use a sonorous but thirsty 4.0-litre petrol V8, which offers 507PS in the SQ7 and a prodigious 600PS in the RS Q8. These variants get the All wheel steering (also available with top 'Vorsprung' trim on an ordinary Q8). And can also be fitted with a 'sport differential' and electromechanical active roll stabilisation.

Design and Build

The visual changes made here are subtle but effective - a restyled front grille with revised air intakes and standard-fit LED headlamps (with optional Matrix beams) which now have a revised daytime running light signature. The rear LED tail light design has been updated and trim pieces like the door surrounds, the underside guard and the rear diffuser are finished in contrasting colours to designate the various trim levels. Otherwise, it's as you were. Audi's understandably keen to point out the differences between this Q8 and the more conservative, family-oriented Q7 model it's mechanically based upon. Its coupe-style roof line makes it appear much lower than that sister model and it's 66mm shorter and 27mm wider. Plus there's a more distinctive front end, a shorter rear overhang and a mighty set wheels, which now vary between 20 and 23-inches in size. Thanks to the frameless doors, the coupe-type roof line stretches low across the vehicle body visually, ending in a long roof spoiler. The roof line arches slightly towards the flat sloping, strong D-pillars, which are supported by wide, muscular contours. Inside, this improved model isn't much different, so as before there's the now familiar dashboard black-panel look common to all current like Audis, with twin stacked centre screens, a Virtual Cockpit instrument display and main controls that almost dissolve into the fascia's large, black surface when switched off. The brand has now widened the range of apps available on the MMI infotainment system to include third party providers like Spotify and Amazon Music. Of course, this coupe-style model doesn't provide the Q7's third row of seating, but Audi insists that there's ample room for five people, pointing out that the interior space exceeds that of the direct competitors in almost all relevant dimensions. The luggage compartment holds 605-litres, which increases to 1,755-litres with the rear backrests folded down. Two golf bags can easily fit in diagonally. Think in terms of a 100-litre boot space reduction with the TFSI e PHEV model.

Market and Model

In the mainstream Q8 range, there are three trim levels - 'S line', 'Black Edition' and 'Vorsprung'. Pricing starts at around £73,000 for either the 50 TDI 3.0-litre diesel variant or the 55 TFSI petrol model. That's very competitive with this model's two main rivals, the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe. Pricing starts at around £94,000 for the SQ8 and around £113,000 for the RS Q8. Standard equipment across the Q8 range is, as you'd imagine, is very comprehensive. Like all top Audis, this one gets the brand's 'MMI navigation plus' infotainment system, which uses the latest LTE Advanced standard for data transfer. The navigation system offers intelligent destination suggestions based on previous journeys. Luxury is of the highest order but many owners will want to embellish the standard kit list with niceties like the optional 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. As is usual nowadays, there's autonomous driving tech too, most of it included in the optional 'Tour assist' package which gives you adaptive cruise assist (a feature that provides longitudinal and lateral control in all speed ranges) and 'efficiency assist' (which uses sat nav data to automatically adjust your Q8's speed to the current speed limit and automatically reduces your speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts to lower fuel consumption. Plus there's 'Emergency assist' which takes control of the car if you're taken ill and safely stops it automatically.

Cost of Ownership

The Q8's primary 50 TDI 3.0-litre diesel engine uses mild hybrid technology, integrating a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter into a 48-volt primary electrical system for greater efficiency. The rechargeable battery is located underneath the luggage compartment floor and stores 10 Ah of electrical capacity. That allows this Audi to coast between 34 and 99mph with the engine switched off; when you brush the throttle, the belt alternator starter restarts the engine quickly and during deceleration can recover up to 12kW of energy. The start-stop range starts as low as 13mph. Let's get to the WLTP figures. For the 50 TDI variant, the combined fuel figure is up to 34.9mpg and the CO2 reading is up to 213g/km. The alternative 55 TFSI petrol variant manages up to 25.4mpg (combined) and up to 235g/km of CO2. If you want to do better, consider the 55 TFSI e Plug-in hybrid variant, which now has a 25.9kWh battery with a 51 mile EV range. As for the 4.0-litre petrol performance models, the SQ8 returns up to 23mpg and 289g/km; while the RS Q8 can only manage up to 21.2mpg and 307g/km. What else? Well all versions of the Q8 cost £570 a year in VED road tax for year's two to five of ownership. And all sit in the highest possible Benefit-in-Kind taxation bracket. On to residuals. A typical Q8 50 TDI S line model would, after three years and 60,000 miles be worth 46.7% of its original value, though you'd lose a bit of that with top-spec 'Vorsprung' trim. As usual with Audi models, there's a choice of either a 'Fixed' or a 'Flexible' servicing regime, the choice between the two depending on the extent of your likely annual mileage. As for insurance groupings, well all Q8s are rated at a top-of-the-shop group 50, which seems unreasonable when a mechanically identical Q7 rates from group 44.

Summary

You can see why Audi felt it had to build this car, though it's a little hard to understand why it took the brand until 2018 to bring it to market. Despite this delay, the original Q8 never brought anything radically new to the fashionable formula undergirded this sort of car and of course, this updated version doesn't either. Even so, the Q8 does still manage to bring buyers seduced by this class-conscious category something a bit different. Turn up to a business meeting in an X6 or a Mercedes GLE Coupe and some might dismiss you as a showy extrovert. Arrive in a Q8 and the impact would be a touch more subtle. For some, that will be important, particularly as this Audi is - in its own way - just as stylish and avant garde as its two main Teutonic arch-rivals. If you want one of these, then probably nothing else will do. Which is exactly as it should be when it comes to this class of car.

  • Automatic start/stop system
  • Operating buttons in black, glass look with haptic feedback
  • Power door closure
  • Power operated tailgate
  • Remote park assist plus
  • Audi music interface with 2 USB ports with charge and data functions
  • Aux-in socket
  • Bang + Olufsen sound system
  • DAB Digital radio
  • Black exhaust tailpipes
  • Black single frame mask
  • Electric panoramic glass sunroof
  • Loading edge protection in stainless steel
  • Platinum grey front spoiler lip and diffuser insert with honeycomb grille in black
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Singleframe grille surround in matte platinum grey
  • 3 spoke heated leather multi-function sport steering including paddle shift
  • Black dinamica headlining
  • Comfort front centre armrest
  • Electric luggage compartment cover
  • Electric sunblind for the rear side windows and manual sunblind for the rear window
  • Luggage compartment sill protection in stainless steel
  • Power adjustable steering wheel
  • Rear centre armrest with 2 cupholders
  • Stainless steel pedals
  • Tool kit
  • Valcona leather upholstery + front super sport seats with S embossed logo
  • Ambient lighting package plus - Q8
  • Black styling pack plus - Q8
  • City assist pack - Q8
  • Extended leather pack - Q8
  • Multi coloured extended LED Interior lighting pack - Q8
  • Tour pack - Q8 Vorsprung
  • 3 point seatbelts on all seats
  • Audi pre sense front
  • Convenience key with safelock
  • Driver and front passenger, front side and curtain airbags
  • Front passenger airbag deactivation
  • Predictive pedestrian protection
  • Seatbelt monitoring
  • Tyre pressure loss indicator
  • Warning triangle and first aid kit
  • Anti theft alarm with tow away protection
  • Anti-theft wheel bolts and wheel loosening detection
  • Electronically operated child lock
  • Immobiliser
  • Keyless go with remote central locking
  • Battery Capacity % guaranteed under warranty: 70
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 22
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 745
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): 225
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: 7
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Left Side Rear
  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 7
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb: 77
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb - TEH: 76
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb - TEL: 77
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb: 48
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb - TEH: 47
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb - TEL: 48
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb: 34
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 35
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 34
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 2995
  • Compression Ratio: 11.0:2
  • Cylinder Layout: V6
  • Cylinders: 6
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 84.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 89
  • Engine Code: 4MT023
  • Engine Layout: NORTH SOUTH
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 8 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 24
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb: 1.5
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 1.5
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 1.5
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb: 188.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb - TEH: 188.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb - TEL: 188.3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 3.0
  • Badge Power: 394
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: TFSI e Quattro
  • Coin Series: Vorsprung
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 50E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 5.7
  • Engine Power - BHP: 394
  • Engine Power - KW: 290
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5300
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 443
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 61.2
  • Engine Torque - NM: 600
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1370
  • Top Speed: 149
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 285/40 R22
  • Tyre Size Rear: 285/40 R22
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: 5 V STAR SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 22" ALLOY
  • Height: 1678
  • Height (including roof rails): 1717
  • Length: 4992
  • Wheelbase: 2998
  • Width (including mirrors): 2190
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 75
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 3110
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1589
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 439
  • Max. Loading Weight: 695
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 3500
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2415
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 13.3