2019 Audi Q8 Preview

Liz Kim | Jun 06, 2018
FAST FACTS
  • All-new flagship SUV coupe based on the Audi Q7
  • 5-passenger seating capacity with up to 62 cu. ft. of cargo space
  • Mild-hybrid drivetrain for improved efficiency
  • Showcase of Audi luxury and technology
  • On sale in the United States in the fall of 2018

Introduction

When it comes to shopping for a luxury SUV, some people are overwhelmed with the embarrassment of riches when it comes to choosing a model. Then there are others who shrug at the available offerings and ask, “What else do you have?”

For those, Audi presents the latest in 4-door SUV coupes—the 2019 Q8. It’s basically an Audi Q7 that’s been widened and shortened and upscaled to create what the company hopes is a new, more attractive and desirable vehicle.

2019_audi_q8-4195_720.jpg

2019 Audi Q8 rear quarter right photo Opinions diverge as to whether they’ve created a universally appealing alternative, but Audi felt it needed something to compete with the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE coupes.

And if some people aren’t happy with the exterior styling, everyone can agree that the interior—like almost every Audi—is beautiful, and that the new Q8 will most likely be pleasurable to drive.

Exterior Features

Dimensionally, the Q8 is wider than the Q7 by one in., shorter by 3 ins., and lower to the ground, giving the latest Audi SUV a more athletic crouch. Wheels sized up to 22 ins. in diameter enhance the Q8’s stance.

Up front, a 3D-effect frame surrounds a new grille design, which Audi says portends a new family look for its SUVs. But the biggest difference between the Q7 and Q8 is the latter model’s sloping roofline, which gives it a fastback appearance that, in turn, allows Audi to command a higher price premium.

Interior Features

That racy roofline comes at more than a financial cost: The Q8 holds fewer people and less cargo than the Q7.

Based on European volume measurements, the Q8 holds a reported 21.4 cu. ft. of cargo behind its 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, compared to 27.2 cu. ft. offered by the Q7. With the rear seats folded down, the Q8 supplies 62 cu. ft. of volume, versus the Q7’s 73.3 cu. ft.

The Q8’s cargo capacity is more on par with the smaller Audi Q5, and so is seating capacity. The Q8’s cabin, however, is larger and more sumptuously bedecked, befitting its stature as Audi’s flagship crossover. Quilted leather gives the seats a royal flair, and horizontal design cues are cunningly expressed throughout.

Audi announced several features for the Q8, but hasn’t defined what is standard and optional. Highlights include heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats as well as subtle ambient lighting to soothe during the commute home. A Bang & Olufsen sound system stimulates your aural senses, while a 4-zone climate control system and an Air Quality package keep everyone comfortable and breathing clean air.

Under the Hood

Audi hasn’t officially confirmed the powertrain for the U.S.-specification Q8, other than to say it will have a new mild-hybrid system designed to extend the automatic engine start/stop system’s operation, allow for more fuel-efficient coasting, and supply the juice needed by all of the SUV’s technology.

This suggests that the Q8 will have the same new turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-8 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission combo that’s going into the redesigned 2019 Audi A6, A7, and A8 models.

Whatever actually winds up under the Q8’s hood will power a Quatttro all-wheel-drive system with a rear-biased torque split. A standard adaptive damping suspension can be upgraded to an air suspension, which supplies up to 10 ins. of ground clearance to make it easier to clamber over snow drifts and drive down overgrown trails.

As if.

Safety

Expect the new Q8 to be equipped with all of the safety technology available for the Q7 on which it is based.

In addition to the usual suspects, including important features such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, the Q8 will offer such innovations as Cross Assist, which can prevent you from turning when it is unsafe to do so.

Technology

Stacked black-panel touch-screen displays handle all infotainment, climate, and other vehicle settings, replacing traditional controls on the center of the dashboard. Additionally, the Q8 is equipped with Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 12.3-in. digital display with various themes and data settings. A head-up display is onboard, too.

To make using all of this technology easier, Audi says the Q8’s natural voice command system is simple, intuitive, and easy to use.

Convenience systems include a Curb Warning function that presumably prevents you from putting ugly scratches on the Q8’s large—and likely expensive—rims. Remote Garage Pilot and Remote Park Pilot are semi-autonomous systems that allow the Q8’s owner to park the SUV remotely while standing outside of the vehicle and using a smartphone application.

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