The current-generation Q7, was introduced in 2017 is a 7-seater SUV that was the original Quattro SUV that has gone through various up-grades and redesigns since it first appeared at the Frankfurt motor show in 2005 The new Q8, sporting a wider and slightly shorter wheel-base has been brought to market by Audi to compete in the top end against the likes of the X6 and the Range Rover, and by all accounts possibly sets a new bench-mark for this vehicle category.
The Q8, an unapologetic luxurious 5-seater SUV cross-over sedan, is a fun-to-drive, grin-inducing delight. Its powerful, turbocharged V6 engine delivers near-immediate power, and the interior is roomy, luxurious, and spacious enough for five adults.
A clear differentiator is the car's advanced infotainment technology, which while sophisticated with multiple touch-screen technology, is relatively easy to use with a bit of practice and for the technophile's will be a complete treat. The Q8 is the first range of Audi in South Africa to feature the new MMI touch-screen technology with dual touchscreens in the centre which can be operated through touch, voice input and handwriting (for navigation inputs).
One of the key variances between the Q7 and the Audi Q8 is under the sleek bonnet. The Q8 has a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 motor. The power plant is responsive and ready to deliver power at a moment's notice. the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, delivers smooth, quick shifts and was a clear stand-out feature when driving. The 3.0 TFSI V6 power plant, produces 250kW and 500NM of torque, providing the Audi Q8 with enough power to keep you smiling in any driving conditions - on or off-road.
The Q8 comes standard with 20-inch wheels, but 21" and 22" wheels are available as added options. The Q8's ride is taut--neither stiff nor bouncy-- and the SUV remained composed, soaking up road imperfections and variations with ease. The Q8 provides a choice of suspension setups: A regular coil spring with adaptive dampers, an adaptive air suspension and a sport air suspension setup. The suspension settings provide suitable ride for any conditions and with a decent ground clearance and wider wheel base provides a very comfortable ride wherever you venture. The open road drive on our test run, gave us a feeling of gliding along rather than driving.
The interior, with its "cockpit design is luxurious and fitted with rich leather seats, natural wood trim on the doors and dashboard, high-gloss black panels, and even suede along the roof pillars and the material overhead. It is also incredibly quiet inside.
The controls, although advanced, were easy to work with after some familiarization. There are many settings, modes, and options on each of the two centre screens as well as the multifunction screen in the instrument cluster. The seats have excellent support and a variety of adjustments, making them perfect for short trips or all-day drives. The square-shaped, nicely finished trunk has plenty of room. Folding down the second-row seats expands the cargo area for longer items. The rear seats also slide fore and aft for increased luggage space or legroom. The load bay is claimed to hold 605 litres' worth of luggage but opens to 1 755 litres with the seats folded down.