2019 Audi Q8: In Case Your Family Isn’t Q7-Sized
Bigger number, higher price, but fewer seats.
Year, Made, Model: 2019 Audi Q8
Topline: Audi has detailed the Q8, the new range-topping option in its crossover lineup, and its challenger to the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X6.
What's New: At launch, all Q8s will share the same powertrain. Audi's 3.0-liter TFSI V6 uses a single V-mounted twin-scroll turbo to aid production of 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Fuel consumption is reduced with start-stop, operated by a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Power is fed through an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, and out to the wheels through Audi's signature Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Torque split by default is 40:6 split front to rear, but can adapt depending on conditions.
Despite the Q7 having the option to use the smaller 2.0-liter TFSI engine, the Q8 has no such option (at launch, at least). An Audi spokesperson tells us that more engine options are in consideration, though they declined to specify whether that opened up the possibility of an SQ8 or RS Q8.
Electronically-controlled adaptive damping on the Q8's multilink suspension is standard. Specifying the Adaptive Chassis package adds four-wheel steering and upgrades to multimodal adaptive air suspension, which can be told to ride low for on-road stability, or stand up tall for off-road sojourns. This suspension is also capable of lowering the rear by 65 millimeters (2.5 inches) for loading and unloading.
Buyers of the 2019 model year Q8 can request a Year One option package that adds S-line sporting appearance details, such as red brake calipers, S-line badging, and alternate bumpers. Special 22-inch wheels are a part of this package, up from the base "Premium" model's 20-inch wheels, while Premium Plus and Prestige buyers get 21-inch wheels as standard. A 22-inch option differing from those offered in the Year One package are also available.
Arguably most important of all in the five-seater Q8 is its interior, and Audi hasn't skimped there. Leather seating is standard, and the plush material can infect the dashboard too if desired. Fronts are adjustable in eight ways, and are heated, while heating for the rears and the steering wheel is optional. Three-zone automatic climate control (that can be upgraded to four-zone) lets in the air and with a panoramic sunroof, the light. Ash wood inlays are standard styling, but if you have a superior taste in wood, eucalyptus is also available.
A special Luxury Package turns the front seats into Valcona leather-wrapped, contour-hugging seats with a massage function. With it, the passenger seat gets automatic memory settings too, glass is upgraded to dual-pane, and you get extra leather on the center console and door armrests.
Techie types may be delighted by a multi-touchscreen infotainment system and navigation. If built-in nav isn't your schtick, and you'd rather use your smartphone, it will both pair with the system to display directions on the dash and charge wirelessly in the phone cubby on Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The latter also gets access to a full head-up display to keep your eyes—and focus—on the road, but strangely, the stereo options seem ready to fight for your attention. A Bang & Olufsen 3D stereo is standard on Premium Plus and Prestige, and Prestige buyers can upgrade it further to Bang & Olufsen's Advanced 3D sound system with 19 speakers and a 1,820-watt amplifier. The cost: $5,000.
This all goes without mentioning the comprehensive set of safety and travel convenience technologies onboard. Active cruise control, every variety of collision warning imaginable, and traffic sign recognition partially sum it up.
What You Need to Know: The utility of crossover pseudo-coupes such as the Q8, X6, and GLC are questionable next to their three-row relatives, the Q7, X5, and GLE. Pricing is typically similar if not higher, and because of their tall center of gravity relative to the coupes they mimic, their performance can't really cash the checks their looks often write. We don't doubt the Q8 is a nice place to be with four of the most important people in your life, but the Q7 (or X5/GLE) can be the same for a larger circle of your friends.
Base Premium Q8s start at $67,400, while Premium Plus calls for a $71,400 price tag, and Prestige $76,550. Tack on Audi's $995 delivery fee to all three when Q8s start to show up in Audi dealers in the fourth quarter of 2018.