The letter ‘Q’ used as name always reminds me of the famous character in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels – the mysterious man in the lab who produces the trick pens and other goodies the spy uses in his relentless pursuit of the baddies.
So, Audi’s halo model at the top of ‘Q’ range – the new Q8 – is, in its own way, a provider of hi-tech clever systems put together in a five-door luxury coupé-styled SUV.
The Audi Q8 is large being 4,99 metres long, 2,00 metres wide and 1,71 metres tall, so the is wider, shorter and lower than its Q7 sister model. With a wheelbase of nearly 3,00 metres, it offers a spacious interior up to 1,755 litres of luggage space.
The Audi Q8 follows the design language that Audi first brought onto the road with the new A8 and and features the single frame grille in octagonal design.
The Audi Q8 is available in a choice of 12 colours: two solid paint finishes and 10 metallic or pearl effect shades including the new colour Dragon orange, which is exclusive to the Q8.
With as much as 254 millimetres of ground clearance, short overhangs, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and hill descent control, the Audi Q8 is no slouch off the tarmac and, suspension with damper control is standard.
Audi offers the adaptive air suspension with controlled damping as an option, with either comfort or sport setup. It adjusts the ride height depending on the driving situation and the driver’s preference by as much as 90 millimetres.
Besides the standard progressive steering, Audi also offers the option of all-wheel steering. It can turn the rear wheels as much as 5 degrees – counter to the direction of the turn at low speeds to increase agility and at higher speeds in the direction of the turn for better stability.
The new Audi Q8 55 TFSI is equipped with a 3,0-litre six-cylinder spark-ignition engine that produces 250 kW. In the range from 1 370 r/min to 4 500 r/min, it develops a maximum torque of 500 Nm. Thanks to the turbo-charged petrol engine, the Audi Q8 sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5,9 seconds. Its maximum speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.
An additional engine variant in the form of a 3.0 TDI will be available in South Africa from mid-year 2019.
Claimed fuel consumption is between 8,9 l/100 km and 9,1 l/100 km with emissions between 207 g/km and 210 g/km.
The drive train efficiency is thanks mild hybrid technology (MHEV). The 48-volt main electrical system incorporates two important technology modules: a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter. During braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and feed it back into the battery. The MHEV technology enables long coasting phases with the engine deactivated and a start-stop range that begins at 22 km/h. In customer operation, it reduces consumption by up to 0,7 l/100 km.
Inside, the central element is the top MMI touch response display. With its black-panel look, it almost dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off. In the dark, the contour light traces the distinctive design lines of the interior and provides backlight for the three-dimensionally lasered quattro badge above the glove compartment.
The entry-level model seats are covered with cricket leather and then there is a choice of selections, which features Alcantara/ leather combination or Valcona leather. The customised contour seats can be covered in Cedar brown, Black, Metropolis Grey or Beige Valcona leather with contrasting piping. Customers who order the S line sport package get sport seats covered in Valcona leather with embossed S logo in the front seat backs. The S sport seats are also available in Valcona leather with a rhombus pattern and embossed rhombus S logo.
The Audi Q8 comes standard with parking aid plus with 360 degree display (surround view cameras) which makes it stress-free to manoeuvre in and out of parking spaces. The ‘night vision assist’ improves difficult visibility after dark. It uses an infrared camera to detect pedestrians and larger wild animals at great distances and marks them with a yellow frame in the Audi virtual cockpit.
The new Audi Q8 includes the functions of adaptive cruise control, and active lane assist, Audi pre-sense front including turn assist. The system detects lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. The improved adaptive cruise assist slows and accelerates the Audi Q8 predictively by analysing sensor information, navigation data and traffic signs. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit, reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts.
The emergency assist ensures safety in exceptional circumstances. It detects within system limits whether the driver is inactive and, in such cases, prompts them via visual and acoustic signals as well as brief activation of the brakes to retake active control. If this does not prompt a reaction, the system takes control of the Audi Q8 and automatically stops it in its own lane. This also activates the safety measures of Audi pre sense system.
As usual, the options list and package configuration for the car are a longer reading list than ‘War and Peace’ tbut The Audi Q8 55 TFSI quattro tiptronic will be priced at R1 388-million standard with the 5 year / 100 000 km Audi Freeway plan and inclusive of all taxes.