The Car Connection Audi Q8 Overview
The Audi Q8 is a full-size luxury crossover that prioritizes interior comfort compared to the Q7, which is a better family-mobile. The Q8 seats up to five adults in two rows of seating, while the Q7 seats up to seven in three rows.
With the Q8, Audi has a rival for vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE Class, BMW X5, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and Volvo XC90. The Q8 rivals some of the more stylish variants of those vehicles (GLE Coupe, X6) but lacks the steeply sloped roofline.
For 2020, Audi added high-power Q8 variants, the SQ8 and RS Q8, with 500 and 600 horsepower, respectively. The 2021 Q8 was largely identical to the year before it.
MORE: Read our 2021 Audi Q8 review
The new Audi Q8
The new Audi Q8 is related to a slew of large crossovers, built under the Volkswagen Group family that includes the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga, and Audi Q7. The Q8 even counts the Lamborghini Urus as a distant cousin.
The wheelbase of the Q8 is identical to the Q7, but the Q8's roughly three inches shorter, bumper to bumper. Deleting the third row for the Q8 gives second-row passengers more leg room (more than 40 inches) compared to the Q7.
Outside, the Q8 separates itself from the Q7 with a wider, lower stance and available headlights that can flood the road ahead with bright lights, but automatically dim portions of its beam for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians to reduce glare. (The same headlights are also available on the A6, A7, and A8.)
The Q8 sports an angled roof, swollen shoulders and haunches, and a bulkier body, compared to the Q7, but the range-topping crossover stops short assimilating into the four-door crossover "coupe" concept embraced by other luxury automakers.
Audi's all-in on technology, however. The Q8 sports more than 30 inches of beautifully detailed screens in the Q8, beginning with the 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster Audi calls "Virtual Cockpit." The configurable screen shows typical speed, trip, and tach information, but also can show full-width maps and navigation directions. A 10.1-inch touchscreen handles infotainment detail and can also show map and navigation information, but also radio, media, some vehicle settings, and a surround-view camera display. The Q8 offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. An 8.6-inch lower touchscreen handles some vehicle and climate control functions, and accepts handwriting input for destination entry.
The Q8 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels with ascending features. All cars are equipped with at least 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, seating for up to five, and an adaptive steel suspension. All Q8s are powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 that makes 335 horsepower and is exclusively mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on the Q8, although it's geared more toward all weather than off road. An available air suspension makes the ride even more comfortable and can raise or lower the car.
Performance variants rely on a twin-turbo V-8 that spins out 500 hp in the SQ8 or 600 hp in the RS Q8. Both are equipped with standard all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic. According to Audi, the RS Q8 can speed up to 60 mph from a standstill in about three seconds.
With two rows of seats in place, the Q8 holds more than 30 cubic feet of cargo. With the second row tumbled down, the Q8 holds more than 60 cubic feet of cargo.