Double Apex spent a few days in the company of the Audi Q8 55 TFSI and we share our thoughts on the all-new model here.
About a decade ago, Audi launched its very first SUV, called the Q7. Since then the family has grown somewhat. Earlier this year we brought you news of a completely new model to the Audi SUV portfolio, extending the tally to five. The Q8 took its place at the apex of Audi’s SUV offerings and heralded a new look for the brand’s mud-pluggers.
Up close the Q8 is quite an imposing thing. The Q8s appearance smacks you in the face, if the reactions of onlookers were anything to go by, and not in a bad way. Almost all reactions were positive. Judging by the manner in which the Cape’s dozy driver’s jumped out of its way, the appearance must be quite menacing in one’s rear-view mirror.
Sliding into the cabin you notice the unique frameless windows. Some of the detailing, such as the large, intricate headlamps were a little lost against the dark hue of our loan unit. Images of lighter-coloured cars really highlight the large grille and oversized lights. At nearly five metres long and two point two metres wide, it casts quite a large shadow. The width, in particular, proved to be a challenge in the Cape’s CBD where parallel parking spots were just not made for a car of this size.
Plenty of space
The upshot of the large exterior dimensions is that the interior is extremely spacious. Front occupants feel as though they sit quite far apart and there is enough room on the rear bench for three adults, even if they have long legs. Audi claims a cavernous 605 litres of space of boot volume. That figure grows to a van-like 1 755 litres with all the rear seats folded flat.
High-tech look and feel
The Audi Q8 looks and feels premium inside, too. Ahead of the driver is a configurable digital display that provides the driver with pertinent info. On the centre of the facia there are two, high-definition full-colour touchscreens. The upper takes care of entertainment, connectivity and navigation, while the lower is responsible for climate and seat heating. Touchpoints for passengers, such as the arm-rest and door cards, are covered in high-quality finishes
Standard specification of the Audi Q8 55 TFSI is extensive. Just a few of the items on the list include electrical adjustment for the front seats and steering column, an automated tailgate, panoramic roof, surround-view cameras, Bang & Olufsen 3D hifi with 23 speakers, leather upholstery, electric operation of the rear luggage cover and HD matrix LED headlamps.
On the move
Once you are used to its size, the Audi Q8 55 TFSI is easy to pilot. Visibility out of the cabin is good and helped by sensors which warn of vehicles within your blind spots. A heavily assisted steering helps matters as it makes piloting the large car subjectively feel lighter than it really is. We cannot imagine having to coax the 22-inch alloys to change direction without any assistance on the steering rack.
The 250 kW/500 N.m developed by the turbocharged motor is more than enough oomph for this package. That torque figure, in particular, makes the Audi Q8 55 TFSI feel accelerative in the mid-range. Audi claims a 0-100 km/h time of 5,9 seconds, a figure we quite sure is achievable.
Its primary ride quality ie, its general ride on the road is very good. The test unit was fitted with optional air suspension that allows for variable ride height. However, there are times when the suspension isn’t quite quick enough to react to road imperfections. Perhaps the optional 22-inch alloys are to blame. The ride doesn’t deteriorate to crashy, but the Q8 doesn’t quite match the likes of a Range Rover in this regard.
Much like the Audi R8, the Q8 has impressed as Audi’s first foray into the uber-luxury SUV segment. This rarefied arena is populated by the likes of the top-end Range Rover models, Porsche’s Cayenne, BMW’s X6 and Mercedes’ GLE Coupe, not an easy set of rivals to best.
The Audi Q8 55 TFSI is an excellent first attempt at a large, luxury SUV and links to brands such as Bentley and Porsche really do pay off for cars in other parts of the VW Group stable. Given the choice, we may forego the large alloys (standard items are a decent 20 inches anyway) and stick with standard, passive suspension. In terms of an overall prospect, the Q8 really is a great family car, provided your budget stretches this far…
Model: Audi Q8 55 TFSI
Price: R1 388 000
Engine: 3,0-litre V6, turbopetrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, AWD
Max power: 250 kW
Max torque: 500 N.m
Top speed: 250 km/h
0-100 km/h: 5,9 sec
Fuel consumption: 9,1 L/100 km