Home / Auto / Audi Q8 50 TDI REVIEW – Bags of appeal but you may be better off with a Q7

Audi Q8 50 TDI REVIEW – Bags of appeal but you may be better off with a Q7


Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

The idea of a sporty SUV or even Lamborghini producing a 4×4 like the Urus would have been a suggestion to have the men in white coats running in your direction not so long ago, but now it looks like an astute business move. The same is true of this Q8 too.

In the wake of the hugely successful BMW X6, a large 4×4 coupe sounds like a preposterous combination on paper but has earned the Bavarian firm well over 400,000 extra sales globally since it arrived 11 years ago. With the Q8 aiming for the same market, Audi will be hoping that some of that success rubs off on its own version.

But does it look different enough from the larger Q7 seven-seater. From the dominant front grille and distinctive pinched rear end with 3D lights, you’d certainly have to say yes, especially when close up. From a distance though and especially in side profile, we’re not so convinced.

This is still a big car and despite those slightly sporting aspirations and sitting lower on the road, it’s not all different from a Q7 to the eyes of a casual observer.

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

So can it drive that different? Under the bonnet of our particular model, the 50 TDI, was a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine with 286bhp, enough to get it from 0 to 60mph in 6.3 seconds and onto a 152mph top speed. Meanwhile, the 50TDi can return 32.1mpg average fuel economy and 178g/km emissions.

Those are respectable figures for such a big car but despite that slightly sportier look compared to the Q7, this Q8 can’t re-write the laws of physics.

The engine feels quite lazy and sluggish at times, while even in manual mode, the gearchanges take far too long when you’re wanting to press on.

Even at slower speeds on urban roads, there seems to be a slightly slow response from the gearbox to your inputs on the throttle pedal making it slightly jerky as you pull away unless you do it very slowly.

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

The irony is that Q8 does actually handle quite well, with little body roll through corners and sharp steering than turns in smartly into corners when required.

However, there’s only so much that the suspension can do and the Q8 still feels wide and heavy at times while the ride struggles to soak up every road imperfection.

The steering lacks any kind of feel about what the car is doing beneath you too. The noise suppression from the engine, road and wind is exceptional though.

And that ultimately is perhaps where matters start to unravel a little for the Q8. It might look rather sportier than the larger Q7 with a marginally sleeker look, but its exterior dimensions work against that when you’re on the road. It doesn’t shrink around you in the same way that a BMW X6 does.

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Make no mistake, this is not a car that will put a smile on your face after a hard drive down your favourite twisty B road. Critics might argue that a BMW X6 doesn’t really do that either, but there’s no question that the X6 is more manoeuvrable on the road.

Inside, the Q8 has Audi’s usual immaculate build quality, with the dashboard dominated by the infotainment system on the wide touchscreen. Rather unusually, this has a slight haptic feel to the controls which takes some getting used to.

Stranger too, is that commonly-used items such as the temperature controls can be used as buttons or also sliding controls, both of which require you to take your eyes off the road to operate. It’s not hard to see why many manufacturers stick with traditional rotary controls for the cabin temperature.

Up front there are also two USB sockets plus a further two for rear passengers, although Audi hasn’t taken the opportunity to future-proof the Q8 by fitting any smaller USB-C sockets as some of its rivals have.

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

The materials throughout are very tasteful though with a mix of leather and suede-effect alcantara along with dark wood on the doors.

Given that slightly lower roofline compared to the Q7, there’s a surprisingly good amount of headroom in the back seats. However, there’s only really enough space for two as the middle seat is both narrow and also has a wide transmission tunnel where your foot would go.

While few are likely to buy this car for its practicality, the 605 litre boot is shallow but deep and there’s a high loading lip, although the air suspension can lower the car for easier access if needed.

There’s no doubt that the Q8 has plenty of appeal, but whether it has enough of an appeal over and above the larger Q7 is another matter. That lack of differentiation between the two compared to the BMW X5 and X6 or the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport could potentially be an issue for customers going forward.

That’s a shame as we think with slightly sharper handling characteristics and better looks, the Q8 could have another winner in its Q family.

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Audi Q8 2019

Audi Q8 2019 (Image: AUDI)

Logbook Lowdown

Model: Audi Q8 50TDI

Price: from £83,040

Engine: Turbo-diesel – 3.0-litre

Power: 0 t0 60mph in 6.3 seconds, 152mph top speed

Average fuel economy: 32.1mpg

CO2 emissions: 178g/km

Rivals: BMW X6, Mercedes GLE Coupe, Range Rover Sport

Rating: 8/10



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