- Comfortable, spacious interior
- Exciting performance variants upcoming
- Good safety scorecard
- Available advanced driver systems
- Very expensive
- Conservative style
- Challenging outward vision
- Spend-up rear airbags
features & specs
The 2020 Audi Q8 is a comfortable full-size crossover that has few rivals among luxury rides.
The 2020 Audi Q8 didn’t need to wait long to be crowned the king (or queen) of the automaker’s lineup. After just one year on sale since its introduction last year, the Q8 full-size crossover will be joined in 2020 by fire-breathing performance variants that will help cement its position as the aspirational Audi to buy.
The Q8 is already loaded with Audi’s latest tech and is one of the most comfortable five-seat luxury crossovers on sale. More horsepower later this year will just be icing on an already sweet cake.
Little changes for the Q8 this year aside from the eventual arrivals of the V-8-powered SQ8 and RS Q8. We give the Q8 a 7.0 TCC Rating that’s skewed toward “base” versions of the nearly $70,000 crossover. The SQ8 and RS Q8 likely will approach and exceed six figures; if rated separately they would go even higher. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Like last year, the Q8 is available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trims that are all appropriately named; no Q8 is spartan inside. Top trims will command $80,000 before dipping into high-powered versions.
It’s related to the three-row Q7 family crossover, covered separately, but the Q8 only has two rows that are suitable for up to five adults. The rear end is appropriately abbreviated, but the Q8 still rides on a long wheelbase that affords great room for passengers and cargo.
Its styling is relatively conservative, only the rearmost roof pillar is noticeably different from the Q7. Inside, the Q8 is awash in leather and touchscreens and comfort, the luxury-car trifecta of today.
Under the hood of most Q8s is a turbo V-6 that makes 335 horsepower that drives all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The four-wheel independent suspension is tuned for comfort and the Q8 chews up miles.
Hotter versions will draw on a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 for 500 and 591 hp that are surely quicker. Our drives of the RS Q8 revealed a wolf dressed in more than two tons of wool; it accelerates up to 60 mph in less than four seconds and takes corners like a car that weighs half as much.
Regardless of what’s under the hood, the Q8 is supremely comfortable inside, with more than 40 inches of rear seat leg room.
Automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings are standard on all models, while driver-assistance systems and blind-spot monitors are worthwhile options.
The Q8 hardly wants for standard equipment anyway: 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment with smartphone software and an 8.6-inch touchscreen for vehicle functions are included on every model. Top trims go further with a surround-view camera system, premium audio, air suspension, and a four-wheel steering that helps the big crossover carve tighter lines.
2020 Audi Q8
Hardly daring, but also handsome, the 2020 Q8 is reserved and tempered style.
Audi didn’t dive into the styling deep end with the Q8 compared to rival crossovers from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.
Next to the mechanically related Q7, the 2020 Q8 has a racier rear end, but its roofline is largely intact.
The Q8 gets a 7 for style, with points above the average score of 5 for a good exterior and good interior.
The Q8’s wider nose now has been sculpted on to the 2020 Q7 for good reason: It’s more handsome and interesting than other Audi crossovers. The wide intakes on the Q8 give it an athletic view from up front, and the Q8’s thicker body sides, roof pillar, and wheel arches are all worn well. Even the Q8’s rear doors are massive, but still good-looking.
The interior is more considered and luxurious, even if it is a Q5 gone to a big-and-tall shop.
The Q8 bathes passengers in ambient lights that are configurable, and every trim gets soft leather upholstery inside. The wall of touchscreens in the center stack and large digital display are tasteful—they go deep black when the car is off and fade into the dash. We’re still not fans of the large swaths of piano black trim, but we understand that it’s a luxury trend.
The Q8 Prestige offers several hand-picked interiors from designers that can’t be missed and our favorite is brown leather interior, silver headligher, and gray leather dashboard. It’s impressive and beautiful—it’s also $6,000 extra.
2020 Audi Q8
Few crossovers are as comfortable and composed as the 2020 Q8.
The 2020 Audi Q8 is a relative chunk among chunky crossovers with fastback rooflines. The Q8’s related to the Q7, but lops off three inches of rear end for style.
However, like the Q7, the standard Q8 prefers a relaxed pace and open road to chew through miles. That’s not necessarily applicable to hotter versions on the way: the SQ8 and RS Q8 that sub in a much bigger engine.
Our rating of 7 here skews toward the pedestrian end (that’s less than $90,000, mind you) and the turbo V-6 fitted under the hoods of most Q8. Starting from an average score of 5, the Q8 gets points above average for brisk acceleration and a smooth ride that gets even better with added options.
The standard Q8 is powered by a 335-hp 3.0-liter turbo V-6 that drives all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The trio power the SUV to 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.6 seconds, according to Audi, and triple-digit speed hardly taxes the engine.
The rear-biased all-wheel-drive system is sure-footed and full time, it doesn’t disconnect from any wheels, which dents its fuel economy. (It’s rated at 22 mpg highway, which is low among two-row crossovers.) The system is seamless in shifting its power; it can send up to 70 percent of its power to the front wheels or up to 80 percent to the rear wheels, depending on terrain. Few Q8s will go off road (especially on tall, 20- or 21-inch wheels), but there’s enough grip to tackle just about any rutted road.
The standard front and rear five-link suspension includes adaptive dampers that toggle between comfort and sporty, although both settings are relatively soft. An optional air suspension goes further into comfort modes and adds four-wheel steering for better maneuverability and thicker glass for a quieter ride.
All of that filters out road imperfections in the Q8 and delivers a solid ride that’s comfortable and quiet inside.
The Q8’s steering is similarly relaxed and despite the Q8’s 5,000-pound weight, it hardly feels tippy in cornering.
We’ve spent time in the RS Q8, which is equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that makes nearly 600 hp. Audi says it takes less than four seconds to speed up to 60 mph and its buttoned-down suspension makes quick work of just about any corner. It’s also mated to the same 8-speed automatic that fires off imperceptible shifts and can keep the engine ready for any canyon workout. Electronically controlled anti-roll bars keep the RS Q8 composed on the road—and keeps rear-seat passengers from refunding their lunches.
2020 Audi Q8
Comfort & Quality
Dinner party? Bring the 2020 Q8 and all adults will comfortably fit aboard.
It’s not the biggest Audi crossover on the lot, but the 2020 Q8 is the most comfortable for adults.
That’s because the Q8 is related to the three-row Q7 but skips the pretense that anyone older than pre-teens can fit in the third row. Instead, second-row riders in the Q8 get more than 40 inches of rear seat leg room that makes the Q8 almost as fun to be driven in as it is to drive.
It gets a 9 on our comfort score thanks to generous room in all five seating positions, great interior materials, and good cargo space.
The front seats are long-haul comfortable and adjustable in more than a dozen directions. There’s plenty of stretch-out space for long legs or long torsos, even the standard panoramic sunroof doesn’t deeply cut into available head space.
Top trims get heated, cooled, and massaging front seats ( performance variants don’t get the massage function on their standard sport seats).
We’d almost prefer the back seats anyway thanks to the great leg and knee room. Compared to the Q7, the Q8 has two more inches of leg room and a rear seat that can slide fore and aft about four inches for better comfort or cargo space.
The outboard second row seats can be optionally heated, and top trims offer four-zone air conditioning that redefine “microclimates.”
Three average-size adults can sit across the Q8’s rear seat thanks to a center tunnel that doesn’t rob too much space.
Behind the second row, the Q8 holds more than 30 cubic feet of cargo. With the second row folded that space grows to more than 60 cubic feet—or many pallets of flowers from the local home hardware store, ask us how we know.
Every Q8 is fitted with high-quality materials, including leather upholstery and real wood inlays. Top Prestige models sub in a leather dashboard that’s soft and luxurious.
2020 Audi Q8
Federal and independent testers give the 2020 Q8 top marks and complement great optional advanced safety systems.
The 2020 Audi Q8’s safety scorecard is commendable, even if it’s outward vision isn’t.
The IIHS called the crossover a Top Safety Pick last year and federal testers gave it a five-star overall rating. Coupled with good active safety tech and great available active safety options, the Q8 gets an 8 with only one demerit for poor outward vision.
Every Q8 is equipped with automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings this year. The Q8’s automatic emergency braking system was rated last year by the IIHS as “Superior” at avoiding forward crashes with other cars, but the system wasn’t tested for pedestrian safety.
Audi offers additional safety features that include adaptive cruise control, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and rear side-impact airbags—the latter of which should be standard on luxury cars, in our opinion.
The additional safety systems can combine forces to help pilot the Q8 in heavy traffic to help reduce fatigue on the way home. The system is far from hands-free, in fact if it doesn’t detect driver input it will slow the car to a stop in its lane, turn on its hazard flashers, and call first responders. Don’t be the one to tell the fire department that you wanted to sleep behind the wheel.
The fat rear roof pillars make seeing out of the Q8’s rear a challenge. Blind-spot monitors would ideally be standard equipment on all Q8s but they’re not, thankfully parking sensors are.
2020 Audi Q8
Every 2020 Audi Q8 is well-equipped, and top versions add supreme luxury touches.
As Audi’s biggest and most expensive crossover, the 2020 Q8’s loaded with tech that you’d expect in a luxury, flagship SUV.
Not much has changed inside since the car was new last year, except “base” models get more of the standard good stuff. (Base, by the way, in a crossover that starts at nearly $70,000 is entirely relative.)
We give the Q8 points above average for good standard equipment, a good infotainment system, and some compelling options. Others in the class pile high the options list, while Audi’s baked in the popular features as standard equipment. It’s an 8 here.
Like last year, the Q8 is available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels. The base 2020 Q8 Premium costs $69,195, including mandatory destination charges. Fully loaded, a top-end Q8 Prestige can run up to nearly $80,000—the upcoming SQ8 and RS Q8 may easily crest six figures when those prices are announced.
Every Q8 gets heated front seats, 20-inch wheels, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment with smartphone-compatibility software, Bluetooth connectivity, panoramic sunroof, active safety features (that we cover above), leather upholstery, wood trim inside, navigation, a panoramic sunroof, and an 8.6-inch touchscreen for vehicle functions and climate controls.
At the top, the Q8 Prestige costs $78,695 and includes 21-inch wheels, a head-up display, premium audio, a surround-view camera system, four-zone climate control, uprated headlights, and a suite of driver-assistance features.
We’d hit the goldilocks spot in the middle at the Premium Plus trim level that costs $5,500 less than the top-dollar model and only skips the head-up display, leather dashboard, and matrix headlights. All three trim levels are luxury-grade crossovers, but the money saved on the top-dollar version is better spent on an air suspension that’s optional on Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels and costs $2,750. We’d also add Audi’s active driving assistants for $1,750 that can help keep the Q8 centered in its lane, stop and go in heavy traffic, and includes a stoplight timer compatible in some cities that will display how long the car will sit in an intersection. It’s particularly handy for busy parents or multi-tasking drivers to know how long they can anticipate staying stationary while reaching for objects in other seats.
Other popular upgrades include a $600 cold weather package that adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
All Audis get a 4-year/50,000-mile comprehensive warranty.
2020 Audi Q8
The 2020 Q8’s size and standard all-wheel drive sink fuel economy ratings.
So far, only V-6 versions of the 2020 Audi Q8 have official EPA ratings but more (and thirstier) versions are on their way.
The EPA says the 2020 Q8 manages 17 mpg city, 21 highway, 18 combined. That’s a 3 on our scale.
The SQ8 and RS Q8 both rely on a twin-turbo V-8 for propulsion, with upward of 600 horsepower. It’s a safe bet that both crossovers will rate lower than the V-6 version.
The Q8’s EPA ratings are relatively low among two-row crossovers, but we’re guessing few luxury car buyers care. Among other non-issues for prospective buyers: All versions are rated for premium fuel.