The four-door coupe styling philosophy has come a long way. In recent history, vehicles like the CLS Mercedes, A7 Audi, and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe have transformed the idea of what exactly can be a coupe. In 2009 BMW gave us the X6, which was dubbed a SAC or Sports Activity Coupe. It essentially defined an SUV, that is based on a car, with a smashed and swooped rear end as a coupe. The long hood, 2 door, sleek back original coupe design was officially buried. Mercedes and Acura added dirt to the grave with the GLE Coupe and the now defunct ZDX. With its new Q8, Audi is diving into the mix.
The Q8 is mechanically based on the Q7, Audi’s previous top SUV (if it’s ok to call it that). Because of all the wonderful styling you get by choosing the Q8, it has a $67,400 starting price versus the $49,900 price for the base model Q7. The Q8 also has two fewer seats than the Q7. The rear styling, pulling ques from the Ur-Quattro, doesn’t allow for an extra row. Admittedly the third row in the Q7 is quite cramp to begin with. It would be unimaginable that anyone could fit in a third row if the Q8 had one.
The interior of the Q8 follows the 2019 Audi A8 and A6 dashboard design. The center console, for better or for worse (it’s sad to see physical buttons disappear), is made up of two touch screen displays. The top 10.1-inch screen is used to control the MMI infotainment and navigation settings. The 8.6-inch touch screen below that controls the climate and comfort features and is customizable.
Although touch screens don’t give the same type of feedback as having an actual physical button, the screens in the Q8 do have a vibration to assure users their selection has been received. Shortcuts can also be created and applications can be moved around on the screen.
As if almost 19 inches of screen wasn’t enough, the Q8 comes standard with Audi’s virtual cockpit (it’s an option on the Q7). A 12.3-inch display replaces the traditional instrument panel and can show full-color maps along with driving and audio data. The Prestige trim also comes standard with a head-up color display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility come standard on the Q8.
The Q8 comes standard with Audi’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. The engine makes 335-hp and has a 48-volt mild hybrid system. At very low speeds and during takeoff the system allows the Q8 to run on only battery power. According to Audi, 0-60 times should be about 5.6 seconds. An eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and an adaptive suspension which allows the driver to choose between ride modes also come standard. There is an optional $2,750 adaptive chassis package, which includes height adjusting air suspension and all-wheel steering for better low-speed maneuvering.
Overall, the Q8’s styling isn’t as grotesque as the X6 and isn’t as dopey as the GLE coupe. As the SUV segment continues to grow in popularity and bend the reality of what is and isn’t a coupe, the Q8 should easily find a place in the market.