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Audi Q8 2020 review: 50 TDI

Posh and practical, the Audi Q8 has the lot

For those family buyers in the market for a luxury SUV with five seats and the kind of exterior styling that's pretty much guaranteed to make the neighbours take notice, I might have just the car for your shortlist.  

Meet the Audi Q8 50 TDI, a coupe-styled SUV that competes against the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Don't let the coupe design fool you though, this SUV is a sizeable family hauler.  

But surely there must be more to this luxury SUV than distinctive styling? And does all that size translate into useable space? My kids and I had the Q8 for a week to find out.

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✅ What does it look like?

Sporting a distinctive coupe design, the Q8 is hard to miss. The big gaping grille in black gloss, bookended by LED headlights, and taillight bar at the rear look cool and help accentuate its size. Slightly shorter and wider than its Q7 sibling, but with a coupe-style sloping rear end, the Q8 packs a seriously muscular look. 

Sporting a distinctive coupe design, the Q8 is hard to miss. Sporting a distinctive coupe design, the Q8 is hard to miss.

Our test car came with the optional 22-inch alloys, which sit snug within the Audi's sizeable wheel arches. The Q8 has a hefty but well-proportioned waistline highlighted by subtle feature lines that run down each side, and unique pillar-less doors which are also a design highlight. It's a good looking hulk of a car that's sure to turn heads.

The Q8’s black leather interior, combined with the premium materials used across the dash and doors, complement the slick-looking twin-screen centre dash. It’s a properly polished set up that delivers on the luxury promise.

✅ How does it drive?

The 50 TDI Q8 is powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine producing 210kW of power and 600Nm of torque, which is matched to an eight-speed auto transmission driving all four wheels. It will do zero-100km/h in a claimed 6.3secs. Not bad for something that weighs almost 2.5 tonnes.

Around town the Q8 felt heavy, but with smooth acceleration that was never particularly rapid or urgent. Around town the Q8 felt heavy, but with smooth acceleration that was never particularly rapid or urgent.

To aid in fuel consumption, the Q8 has a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that allows it to coast at high speeds and also shuts the engine off when decelerating. Claimed consumption is rated at 6.9L/100km. Over the course of the week we covered 450km of suburban and city driving, with the trip computer displaying a fuel consumption reading of 8.6L / 100km.

Around town the Q8 felt heavy, but with smooth acceleration that was never particularly rapid or urgent. Under a firm right foot there is some lag from a standing start in first, followed by a surge in second and third gears. Not great for getting out of tight traffic jams quickly. The eight-speed automatic transmission was a peach around town with gear changes almost imperceptible at low speeds.

An eight-speed auto transmission drives all four wheels. An eight-speed auto transmission drives all four wheels.

The highlight was the adaptive air suspension, which offered a surprisingly good ride considering the 22-inch rims we were sitting on. There was luxury-level refinement in the cabin which managed to maintain an air of calm and quiet regardless of the road conditions.  

The downside was the overzealous Lane Keep Assist, which made a menace of itself on numerous occasions. At times I found myself almost wrestling for control which did not exactly make for a pleasurable driving experience. Happily you can turn this function off. 

✅ How spacious is it?

The large dimensions of the Q8 translate into a generous amount of space for the family front and rear.

Head and legroom back there is excellent and could easily accommodate three six-foot adults. Head and legroom back there is excellent and could easily accommodate three six-foot adults.

The seats are comfortable and supportive with acres of space in the back for the kids. Head and legroom back there is excellent and could easily accommodate three six-foot adults without too much fuss.

Boot space is generous, with 606 litres of space available with the seats pushed all the way back. With the rear seats (split 40:20:40) folded down this expands to a considerable 1755 litres - good for a couple of kid's bikes or three scooters plus picnic gear.

Boot space is generous, with 606 litres of space available. Boot space is generous, with 606 litres of space available.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

Storage is plentiful with bottle-sized door pockets all around, two cupholders between the front seats and two in a flip-down armrest in the back, and a centre console storage bin that also houses a wireless phone charger.

My kids in the back seat had access to rear air vents with dual-zone climate controls. My kids in the back seat had access to rear air vents with dual-zone climate controls.

The Q8 comes with host of parking aids including 360-degree surround-view camera system with AI graphic interface, front and rear parking sensors, with semi-autonomous park assist also on hand to help manoeuvre into tight spots. They proved particularly helpful ensuring the 22-inch rims kept a safe distance from the kerb.

My kids in the back seat had access to rear air vents with dual-zone climate controls as well as two USB points and a 12-volt power outlet.

✅ How safe is it?

The Q8 was awarded the maximum five stars by ANCAP in February 2019, and with a comprehensive list of safety features, it’s not hard to see why.  

There’s auto emergency braking (AEB) up to 250km/h, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a forward cross-traffic alert system known as ‘Intersection Assist’. 

The Q8 was awarded the maximum five stars by ANCAP in February 2019. The Q8 was awarded the maximum five stars by ANCAP in February 2019.

Additionally, there are front and rear airbags including dual front, front-side, rear-side, and full-length curtain. For parents with capsule or booster seats there are two ISOFIX and three top-tether baby seat attachment points.

✅ What’s the tech like?

The tech interface looks impressive and is the nerve centre of the car through which much of the systems are controlled.  The top touchscreen controls the media and navigation function, while the lower one manages climate and car controls. Both have haptic feedback which gives the sensory impression of hitting a physical button rather than the screen.

The tech interface looks impressive and is the nerve centre of the car. The tech interface looks impressive and is the nerve centre of the car.

I’m a fan of the user experience, from the instant haptic feedback to the excellent clarity of the screens, with the 3D mapping a standout. While I generally prefer analogue for my climate controls, the large, well laid out buttons make it easy to use while driving.   

The top screen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus you get sat nav GPS, DAB digital radio and a 10-speaker sound system. Drivers have the option of a voice control system as an alternative to using the touchscreens.

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Q8 50 TDI pricing starts at $129,900, however you get plenty of standard kit for your money. 

Four your money you get the S line exterior styling pack, Valcona leather upholstery, front seats with electric adjustment plus heating and ventilation, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, LED headlights (with auto high beam) and daytime running lights, a head-up display, Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, and the MMI touch response control screen with 10.1- and 8.6-inch screens.

The Q8 50 TDI pricing starts at $129,900, however you get plenty of standard kit for your money. The Q8 50 TDI pricing starts at $129,900, however you get plenty of standard kit for your money.

Our test car came with a number of additional extras, including Glacier White metallic paint ($2,300), roof rails in black ($900), high gloss black exterior package ($1,850) and the Premium plus pack ($12,100) – this includes 22-inch alloys, adaptive air suspension, privacy glass for rear windows, HD matrix LED headlights, four-zone climate control, 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system and LED interior lighting package.

The final price as tested came to a thumping $147,050.


The Wrap

If you’re looking to stand out from the SUV crowd and only require five seats, the Q8 may be your ticket to family taxi luxury. Yes, this big family hauler does not come cheap, but it impresses with its ride, practicality and acres of space.

Likes

Distinctive looks
Space and practicality
Refined ride

Dislikes

Expensive
Lane keep assist annoying
Feels heavy to drive

Scores

Dan:

3.9

The Kids:

4

$129,900

Based on new car retail price

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