2019 Audi Q8 First Drive Evaluation | Fashion and substance weighed within the steadiness

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SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, Chile — Selection is nice, even when a few of these decisions appear to make no sense in any respect on paper. For 2019, Audi will provide its brand-new Q8, yet one more alternative for private luxurious consumers searching for a sporty crossover. Contemplating the success of coupe-shaped utility automobiles just like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, regardless of the actual fact they they virtually fully lose the utility facet of a so-called sport utility automobile, it is shocking that it took Audi so lengthy to pen an entry into the phase. And the Audi Q8, not like its opponents, retains a principally flat roofline, which implies consumers will not should sacrifice as a lot of the ‘utility’ a part of the game utility equation.

However what in regards to the ‘sport’ facet of this SUV? Audi representatives cite the Land Rover Vary Rover Sport as a possible rival for its new Q8. Contemplating that Land Rover has discovered round 20,000 consumers for the Sport in every of the previous three years, that is not a foul bogey for Audi to focus on.

The entire Q8’s opponents are extra about maintaining appearances than blitzing a race observe, but it surely’s apparent sporty, trendy tackle the SUV components resonates with consumers in America. So it is smart in immediately’s market to supply the Q8, though it is probably not very sporty, and has much less utility than the associated Q7.

Audi Q8 front2019 Audi Q8 rear

A part of the rationale is that on this phase, styling is of utmost significance. Audi designers drew inspiration for the Q8 from the unique Quattro Coupe from the 1980s. The styling hyperlink is most obvious within the type of blistered fender arches in any respect 4 corners. These blisters bulge out over elective 22-inch wheels (19s are commonplace) and provides the Q8 a muscular stance that is bolstered by the automobile’s imposing width. The Q8 is 2.6 inches shorter than the Q7, however principally shares the identical wheelbase. It is also about an inch and a half shorter, which once more helps emphasize the automobile’s 79-inch width, which is over an inch wider than the Q7. On the rear, an extended, horizontal, blacked-out panel separates intricate taillights and likewise harkens again to the previous Quattro.

And so long as it is sporting a monotone palette, we predict the Q8 seems to be awfully good in individual. Nevertheless it would not actually ooze fashion the identical manner because the X6 and GLE Coupe. European Q8 consumers who select Audi’s S Line trim stage will get a novel set of grey exterior accents, together with a form of masks across the Q8’s huge octagonal grille. It is not but clear if this two-tone scheme will come to America, however even when it does, our recommendation is to skip it. As an alternative of providing a extra premium look, we predict the grey accents cheapen the seems to be of the Q8 in the identical manner a stripped-down base-model economic system automotive is cheapened by unpainted plastic bumpers. Take a look at the video beneath to see what we imply.

There’s an total sense of sci-fi meets trendy expertise contained in the Q8. Massive swaths of shiny black plastic adorn the Q8’s inside. These seem like trendy interpretations of the panels used within the “Star Trek: The Subsequent Technology” tv collection. Two stacked LCD touchscreen panels make up the middle of the sprint. These screens provide haptic suggestions — which means they produce the feeling of a bodily click on to verify digital button presses — which helps make them really feel a bit extra like conventional buttons and dials. The Audi Q8 inside represents the way forward for sci-fi previous come to life, and fortunately all of it works fairly darn nicely in the true world.

The underside LCD display is positioned to fall proper on the driver’s fingers, assuming his or her hand is resting atop the shifter. It is from this decrease panel that the automotive’s local weather features are accessed – within the case of the Q8, there are 4 particular person local weather zones, one for the driving force, one for the passenger, and two for the rear seating space — but it surely’s additionally a panel that may acknowledge handwriting for navigation inputs. An higher panel measuring 10.1 inches throughout is the principle show of the Q8’s MMI expertise. Maps, audio, and different infotainment options show on this panel, which can also be contact delicate.

One distinctive characteristic that makes MMI rather more person pleasant than some competing methods are shortcut icons that may be added in a row throughout the decrease LCD panel. These shortcuts can embody something from a steadily used GPS vacation spot to the cellphone variety of a good friend or member of the family. We discovered the system principally intuitive to make use of, as soon as we found out stable press was required to make picks and get any useful haptic suggestions.

Audi Q8 interiorAudi A8 gaugesAudi Q8 interior detail

One main limitation of Audi’s MMI expertise — and this is applicable to any infotainment system that requires a robust connection to the Web — is that lots of its most helpful options did not work out within the Atacama Desert the place we traveled to check the Q8. This being the case, we could not actually check Audi’s pure language voice management. In idea, you will get updates on the climate, and even inform the system that you just’re hungry, which might immediate the system to provide you options for close by eating places. In fact, should you’re driving is generally confined to extra developed areas — and it very seemingly will likely be — you may get pleasure from all the advantages of MMI.

Audi’s Digital Cockpit expertise is commonplace within the Q8. As an alternative of a conventional gauge cluster, the digital dashboard is configurable to indicate all types of helpful data, our favourite being an enormous, brilliant map with GPS driving instructions. An elective head-up show additional reduces the necessity for the driving force to maneuver their eyes from the highway.

Trying previous all of the shiny LCD screens, the remainder of the Q8’s inside is clear, with easy strains and high-quality supplies. A chrome strip runs the size of the sprint, and although it might appear to be interrupted by the HVAC vents, it is cleverly stays straight irrespective of the place the vent is pointed. Taken as an entire, the Q8’s inside has a severe concept-car vibe, and it is manner nicer inside than its opponents from BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Land Rover. For those who’re into high-tech inside furnishings, the Q8 affords them in spades.

The heated, cooled and massaging entrance seats of our check automotive have been pretty perches on which to look at the gorgeous desert panorama fly by. The rear seats are roomy sufficient for 2 passengers of above-average top to get good and comfy. As a result of five-seat, two-row configuration, Audi has managed to permit fairly a little bit of fore/aft motion for the second row. Leg room is greater than enough, and since the roofline would not swoop down too radically, our six-foot, two-inch check driver had no hassle with headroom, both.

Audi Q8 shifterAudi Q8 interior detailAudi Q8 rear climate controlsAudi Q8 MMI

A three.Zero-liter turbocharged V6 engine would be the solely powerplant out there at launch in America. Shared with the Q7, it places out 335 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque and sends that energy by way of an eight-speed automated transmission to all 4 wheels. A 48-volt battery permits Audi to combine its mild-hybrid expertise, which is able to recovering power that may in any other case be misplaced to braking and reuse it to assist energy the automobile.

The V6 powerplant usually feels as much as the job of shifting the massive four,700-pound SUV round, however, on our drive route that briefly crested 15,000 ft in elevation, there have been occasions that the turbo mill was left huffing, puffing, and forcing the transmission to carry gears for an uncomfortably very long time. Whereas most homeowners won’t ever really feel the consequences of that form of elevation, the turbocharged three.Zero-liter V6 simply would not have the form of muscle to make the heavy Q8 any extra enjoyable to drive than the family-focused Q7. It is merely enough for a automobile of this value and positioning within the market.

Fortuitously for energy junkies, we already know a extra highly effective SQ8 is on the best way. And if even that is not sufficient for you, know that the upcoming Lamborghini Urus additionally shares the identical platform because the Q8.

Audi’s Drive Choose controller has moved from a dial on the console to a few arrow-shaped buttons beneath the decrease LCD display. We discovered these buttons awfully fiddly to work with, particularly when making an attempt to vary modes whereas shifting. It is virtually unattainable to seek out the small buttons with out shifting your eyes from the highway, after which you need to examine one of many LCD screens to see which mode you’ve got chosen.

Audi Q8 driving

We discovered the Consolation mode to be a fairly good all-around setting for the Q8. Dynamic mode alters the ratio and provides weight to the steering, and if the automobile is fitted with elective air dampers, it additionally companies up the suspension. It is a noticeable change between Consolation and Dynamic, and it is enjoyable to play with the settings, however actually, the Q8 is not a sports activities automotive and isn’t going to drive like one. A default Auto mode senses the highway and screens the driving force’s habits, and customarily falls someplace between Consolation and Dynamic in its settings.

Quattro all-wheel drive is commonplace within the Q8, and may ship as a lot as 70 p.c of the automotive’s energy to the entrance wheels, and as much as 85 p.c to the again wheels. For those who go for the air suspension system, you may additionally profit from four-wheel steering and the power to boost the suspension utilizing Off-Street and Allroad settings. And sure, we did drive the Q8 off-road, by way of snow, and even by way of a water crossing deep sufficient to the touch the underside of the Q8’s undercarriage. It is an SUV in spite of everything, and even when zero homeowners will ever put its off-road features to the check, it is good to know they’re there, proper?

Audi Q8 driving in the desert

And that just about sums up the 2019 Audi Q8. The world doesn’t want one other coupe-like four-door crossover. However not like a few of its opponents — BMW X6, we’re taking a look at you — the Q8 would not sacrifice the majority of its utility for the sake of fashion. And we predict that is a very good factor, even when the X6 has been a gross sales success for BMW. The Audi Q8 in some way manages to mix fashion and utility in a novel manner, providing a extra sensible alternative for style-conscious consumers who nonetheless need or want a useable again seat and cargo space.

We are able to hardly consider that it took Audi 10 years to hitch BMW on this phase of the market, however now that they are right here, we’ll grudgingly admit that we predict Audi’s going to promote fairly a couple of extra Q8 crossovers in America than the A8 sedan that has simply as a lot expertise, is extra comfy and is dynamically superior to drive. And that is advantageous, as a result of, in spite of everything, alternative is nice. Now, consumers can select between coupe-like crossovers from all three of the massive German luxurious manufacturers. And of these three, the Audi has essentially the most expertise, essentially the most trendy inside, and even the healthiest dose of practicality. Whether or not or not it has sufficient fashion to draw consumers on this phase, although, is what’s going to finally be the deciding think about its success.

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