If you like the Audi Q7 but don’t need all three rows of seats, the luxurious all-new 2019 Audi Q8 deserves your attention, aided by a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and a sporty roofline that looks great without compromising utility as much as you might expect.
You'll Like The 2019 Audi Q8 If...
If you want a modern, well-equipped SUV with a sense of style that doesn’t compromise utility, the 2019 Audi Q8 deserves a look. It’s sporty, too, thanks to active suspension damping, which is standard.
You May Not Like The 2019 Audi Q8 If...
With prices that start at $67,400, the new Q8 has scads of more affordable 5-seat SUVs competing for your dollar. While these SUVs may not offer the refinement or luxury of this Audi, they perform the same basic tasks for a lot less coin.
The Q8 is all-new for 2019, based on an updated version of the chassis that underpins the Q7. The longitudinally mounted engine, a 3.0-liter V6, is also new, fortified by a single twin-scroll turbocharger nestled in the aluminum block’s vee.
In this driver-centric environment adorned with finely crafted leather and ash wood, space abounds front and rear. The Q8’s split-folding rear bench splits 40/20/40, which means the outer seats are more comfortable than the one in the middle. In the Q7, the second row splits 35/30/35, so it’s slightly more comfortable for three across, even though the Q8 boasts a bit more legroom and a bottom cushion tilted less toward the rear. The Q8’s multimedia interface, like that of the new A6 and A7, features two high-resolution touch displays with haptic and acoustic feedback. The lower screen, replacing Audi’s traditional rotary-dial controller, serves as a print pad for text inputs drawn by finger.
Audi says the new 2019 Q8 introduces the German brand’s new SUV design language. The look is highlighted by a muscular single-frame grille with six vertical chrome slats, along with a wide mask connecting the grille to the LED headlights. The forward-slanted D-pillars are a stylistic link to the hallowed original Audi Quattro coupe, as are the pronounced fender flares and light strip connecting the taillights. Side doors with frameless windows help to visually lower the roof of the new Q8, for a sportier look.
KBB had the chance to drive the new Q8 for several hundred miles in wintry Utah and Colorado, mostly on 2-lane highways and dirt roads that were either snowy or muddy. First impressions: This luxurious SUV is a foul-weather friend, an exceptionally quiet vehicle that gobbles up the miles with ease and masks its speed. You can tell it’s a refined, high-quality vehicle the moment you sit in it. Front-seat travel is generous and so is headroom, even with the standard sunroof. The view out the front is great, but the one through the rearview mirror is pinched a bit by the sloping roof. On the highway, the Q8’s turbo V6 feels amply powered, even in the high-altitude ski areas of Park City and Telluride. The steering is light but accurate, and the 8-speed automatic gearbox works well enough to make the driver forget about the shift paddles on the back of the Q8’s thick-rim steering wheel. The Quattro system sends 60 percent of the power rearward in most situations, which helps keep the Q8 from feeling like a large and front-heavy crossover SUV. That stated, the new Q8 indeed is heavy, tipping the scales at 5,004 pounds, about 100 pounds more than the Q7 with the V6. This is attributable in part not only to the 10Ah battery of its 48-volt mild-hybrid system, but also to its larger wheels that range from 20 to 22 inches. This heaviness can be sensed while driving the Q8 hard on twisty pavement, but the Q8 stays composed, aided by four selectable driving modes (Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual) that allow you to tailor the Q8 to your liking. When Adaptive Air Suspension is added to the Q8, its additional modes (Allroad and Offroad) provide the clearance, damping and stability-control adjustments that keep this new Audi SUV plodding along with confidence in the snow and mud. When the Q8 is parked in Offroad mode, the rear of the vehicle can be lowered 2.5 inches via a switch in the cargo area to ease the loading or unloading of cargo. The Q8 normally wears all-season tires, but the vehicles we sampled were equipped with Continental WinterContact snow tires, size 245/40R-21. A wise move, given the wintry conditions.
The Q8 Premium, fitted with 20-inch wheels, MMI navigation, ash wood interior trim, a sunroof and 3-zone climate control, starts at $67,400, Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). The Q8 Premium Plus, equipped with 21-inch wheels, a 3D Bang & Olufsen sound system, the top-view camera system and 4-zone climate control, begins at $71,400. The top model, the Q8 Prestige, fitted with HD Matrix-design headlights, a head-up display, a leather dash (with contrast stitching) and touch-sensitive aluminum interior buttons, goes for $76,550. Fully loaded, a Q8 Prestige nearly touches $100,000. The destination fee for all Q8s is $995. For comparison purposes, consider that a 2019 BMW X5 starts at $61,695, while a V6-powered 2019 Audi Q7 begins at $59,950. As always, before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Audi Q8.
Inside, all 2019 Audi Q8s are fitted with heated, leather-covered seats, ash inlays, 3-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof and a 3-spoke steering wheel. Additionally, all Q8s are fitted with adaptive suspension, the latest MMI touch response (with two screens), LED lighting front and rear, Audi Virtual Cockpit and a smartphone interface that provides access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Pre Sense City, which initiates braking if it senses a likely frontal collision, also is standard on the new Q8. Only the top model, the Q8 Prestige, gets a head-up display as standard equipment.
Several packages are available for the new Q8. Two of the most significant are the $2,750 Adaptive Chassis Package (air suspension, 4-wheel steering) and the $5,950 Luxury Package, which fits the new Q8 with an Alcantara headliner, dual-pane side glass, massaging front seats and supple Valcona leather. In addition to multiple available driver-assist functions, there’s also a $2,250 Year One Package, which equips the first-year Audi Q8 with 22-inch Anthracite wheels, a Black Optic exterior kit and red brake calipers, along with S-line badges, bumpers and illuminated doorsills. It looks good, and wealthy audiophiles may appreciate the $5,000 Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System with its 19 speakers and 1,820 watts of power.
TOP-VIEW CAMERA SYSTEMThis available system is far from new, but the overhead view provided by four wide-angle cameras makes parking the Q8 in tight city lots a cinch. The driver can zoom in and out, too. AUDI VIRTUAL COCKPITNow in its second generation, Audi Virtual Cockpit provides the Q8 with a high-res color instrument panel featuring large Google imagery. Particularly handy (and interesting) while driving in the high country of Utah and Colorado is the Q8’s elevation readout.
Under the Hood
Unlike the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in the Q7 (329 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque), the Q8 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, the latter at a lowly 1,370 rpm. It’s a smooth engine with just a hint of turbo lag, and the automatic restarts of the Q8’s fuel-saving start/stop system are almost unnoticeable, thanks to the 48-volt mild-hybrid system’s belt-driven starter generator. The EPA fuel economy of the 2019 Audi Q8, at 17-mpg city and 22-mpg highway, is not up to the Q7 V6’s levels of 19/25, respectively.3.0-liter turbocharged V6335 horsepower @ 5,000-6,400 rpm369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg
If you like the Audi Q7 but don’t need all three rows of seats, the luxurious all-new 2019 Audi Q8 deserves your attention, aided by a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and a sporty roofline that looks great without compromising utility as much as you might expect. The all-wheel-drive Q8, a 5-seater, also has a 48-volt mild-hybrid system in which a belt-driven alternator provides super-smooth automatic restarts. Competitors for the new Q8 include the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, the Porsche Cayenne, the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE. Although the Q8 has C-pillars that slope forward (and recall those of the original Audi Quattro), it’s not as much of an “SUV coupe” as the BMW X6. The luxurious Q8, which shares a wheelbase with the Q7 but is three inches shorter in overall length, also boasts an especially roomy back seat that slides fore/aft 5.1 inches to accommodate taller passengers or more cargo.