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Test drive: LLM motoring editor Lisa Curtiss reviews the Audi Q8

By Lisa Curtiss  |  September 4, 2021
Audi Q8

As luxury large SUVs go, the Audi Q8’s a leading contender for the best-in-class crown. Little comes close to matching its blend of impeccable build quality, presence, space and performance.

This brand flagship statement-making model offers all the elegance of a four-door luxury coupé with the convenient versatility of a large SUV. Frameless doors, a sleekly slanting roof line and performance-hinting muscular curves certainly make this one of the most attractive on the market. Viewed in the metal on test it has ample kerb appeal and carries its substantial dimensions (4,986 mm long, 1,995 mm wide and 1,705 mm high) with stylish ease.

Slip inside the rather fabulous cabin to discover excellent quality materials, state-of-the-art technology and attractive design flourishes. Spacious, bright and airy, it’s the perfect vehicle for passengers to really enjoy even the longest of journeys in. We found on test the vehicle’s height and large windows make it possible to see over hedges to the countryside and coast beyond, and there is ample room to relax in complete comfort and watch the world whizz by. Its large boot can accommodate everything you’re likely to need for a week away to a five-star swanky hotel or spa, hefty Waitrose shop or Pony Club trials.

Audi Q8

It’s a delight to drive too – superbly refined, responsive and plenty of power on tap. Our Q8 50 TDI quattro 286PS Black Edition Tiptronic on test boasted a hefty 600 Nm of torque, delivering a 0-62 sprint in just 6.1 seconds – more than respectable given its substantial size. Agile yet sure-footed too, the Q8’s at home navigating tight and slippery B roads or motorway long runs. All Q8s feature quattro four-wheel drive, along with an eight-speed auto gearbox, but most will keep their tyres firmly on tarmac instead of venturing off-road.

The car’s Adaptive Air Sport Suspension automatically regulates ride height and damping to all four wheels for an enhanced driving experience, while quattro all-wheel drive with its self-locking centre differential and Audi Drive Select ensure you are safely secured to the road. This torque, power and performance mean it’s a great car for towing too, handy if you’ve a horse trailer or two.

The Q8 is available in a choice of three trims – all well equipped in terms of safety, tech and infotainment kit and features. Our Black Edition on test at £78,000 came in Audi’s gorgeously eye-catching metallic galaxy blue, with front sport seats with ‘S’ embossing in black leather and alcantara. There’s a raft of options to choose from including those we enjoyed – city assist pack, comfort and sound pack, parking assist with parking aid plus, trailer hitch and panoramic glass sunroof.

A highlight of the Q8 is its top-class MMI navigation plus with MMI touch response infotainment system, which includes two full HD touch screens up to 10.1 inches in size. This incredibly advanced navigation system offers intelligent personal route assistance, 3D city models and detailed route information including points of interest and much more.

Audi Q8

Another is Audi Connect which takes convenience and driving enjoyment to a new level. Features and services like remote lock and unlock, parking location tracker and real-time vehicle information are accessed through the car’s infotainment system, with additional remote features available through the myAudi app.

Even entry-level Q8’s come with plenty of equipment as standard. Leather sport seats, 21-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels and comfortable air suspension are all included, plus a three-screen infotainment system with built-in sat-nav and smartphone mirroring. There’s an excellent reversing camera also as standard to help make it easy to manoeuvre around especially useful in navigating out of tight and tricky places, and plenty of active safety kit, including lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

In summary, the Q8 is a beautifully crafted, luxurious and exceptional large SUV not many rival models can beat.