This is the all-new Audi Q8. And it is not, as the name might suggest, a bigger, more luxurious version of the Q7, Audi’s flagship SUV.
In fact, it’s actually a little bit smaller than the Q7.
You see, the Q8 is Audi’s attempt to get in on the action that BMW created for itself with the X6 – it’s a sleek, coupe-like SUV with a sloping roofline and a sportier stance. In Audi’s words, the Q8 “combines the elegance of a four-door luxury coupé with the practical versatility of a large SUV”.
Underneath, the Q8 shares many parts with the Q7, though from the outside, you’ll notice that it’s wider, shorter and lower than its sister. Due to these new dimensions, there’s no seven-seat option on the Audi Q8, and rear-seat headroom will be impacted. Though Audi claims that the Q8 bests its rivals in terms of interior space.
Inside, it’s much the same as any of the current flagship Audis. That means you get an A8-like interior with two touch-screens perched on the centre console. The top one is for your normal infotainment stuff, while the bottom one is mostly used for AC controls, though it’ll also turn into an additional control panel for other functions if the top screen is otherwise engaged. You also get the well-reviewed Audi Virtual Cockpit as standard.
There’s permanent Quattro four-wheel-drive with a mechanical differential. The torque split between front and rear is 40:60 as standard, but depending on what you’re doing with the car, the system will send more power to whichever tyre has the most grip. Suspension-wise, you get damper control as standard, or if you’re feeling flush, you can have adaptive air suspension as an option.
There’s also the option of all-wheel-steering, which will give you a hilariously small turning circle for such a large car. Oh, and the system is a mild-hybrid, with electricity coming from the 48V electrical system seen on the Q7, Bentley Bentayga, and all manner of expensive stuff from the Volkswagen Group.
Audi hasn’t revealed details of the engines that’ll power the Q8s bound for the Middle East – only a diesel is available at launch in Europe. However, it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll get a 3.0-litre V6 in a couple of flavours of horsepower. Further down the line, because this is a sporty SUV, there’ll no doubt be an SQ8 and perhaps even an RSQ8.
Anyway, the Audi Q8 launches in the UAE this autumn. What do you think? Would you have this, or a BMW X6?