Audi has just joined the coupe-turned-crossover crowd, with the launch of the all-new Q8. The full-size SUV adds some extra style to the practicality of the not exactly dowdy Q7.
Like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the Audi Q8 offers the "elegance of a four-door luxury coupé with the practical versatility of a large SUV." It may not offer quite as much style as a sedan or space as a traditional SUV, but as far as combining the two, this class is a popular place to be right now.
Put the Q8 alongside its more upright Q7 sibling and at 4,990 mm long, 2,000 mm wide, and 1,710 mm tall, it is shorter in length (66mm) and roofline (31 mm), but 32 mm wider. That apparently makes it look sleeker on the road. Under the swooping hatch, the Q8 will hold 1,755L of your stylish stuff.
The Q8 wears Audi's latest octagonal Singleframe grille. It's upright, chunky, and bold. Hiding underneath is a spoiler that emphasizes the large air inlets. Audi says this is the new face of its Q line of SUVs. Underneath the wide wheelarches Audi calls quattro blisters are massive 22-inch alloys. If you're looking for the subtle style of models like the Q7 and A8, you won't find it here.
Audi hasn't said what engine will power the Q8, but it will use the brand's new 48-volt mild hybrid system. It adds a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter that recovers up to 12 kW of power during braking. It also allows start-stop at speeds up to 22 km/h. The Q8 will have Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system with a mechanical centre differential. With an available adaptive air suspension, the Q8 offers up to 254 mm of ground clearance and can change height by up to 90 mm. All-wheel steering helps with manoeuvrability at lower speeds and stability at higher ones.
Inside, the Q8 shares much of its minimalist design with the A8. Topping it off is a new MMI system that lets the user control nearly every function through a pair of touchscreen displays in the centre stack. The upper 10.1-inch screen controls the infotainment and nav, and the 8.6-inch lower screen runs the ventilation and convenience functions. Give the voice control a command like "I am hungry" and it will find you a nearby restaurant.
The instrument cluster uses Audi's virtual cockpit display. The 12.3-inch screen can switch between two views, with an optional plus model adding a third sport screen mode.
The Q8 adds driver aids like adaptive cruise, efficiency assist, lane change warning and curb warning. Coming early next year, garage pilot will let the driver guide the Q8 into and out of a garage semi-autonomously using a phone app.
The all-new Audi Q8 is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.