Now, one of main reasons to buy the Q8 (the others being its looks, its badge, and its build quality, of course) has to be the way it drives. And that’s Audi’s take on it as well. It says the typical Q8 customer is a well-to-do individual who loves both being noticed and driving, almost equally.
There’s only one drivetrain option currently available on the Q8. It is a 3-litre, turbocharged, direct injection, V6 petrol engine that’s mated to an eight-speed torque converter with the drive being sent to all four wheels. The power output is 340bhp and it delivers a near flat torque curve that peaks at 500Nm.
These figures are impressive, but it’s the way the Q8 harnesses this output and puts it on the road that really makes this SUV coupe special. First, dab your way to ‘dynamic’ mode. This weighs up the steering, perks up the suspension, adds immediacy to the throttle response, and prevents the gearbox from short shifting. So, no matter where the needle is on the right dial, you give the throttle pedal a good shove, and whoa, the Q8 just takes off!
And it’s not just pure acceleration, which with a claimed 0-100kmph time of under six seconds is pretty impressive, no doubt. But, it is the engine’s easy revving nature, its refinement, and its sporty aural notes; not to mention, the effortlessness the Q8 showcases in gathering speed, which come together to put a smile on your face every time you drive the Q8 hard. It makes you want to keep playing with the throttle, keep reveling in the noise, and keep passing all and sundry like they were standing still!
Around corners, the Q8 has a quick and light turn-in. There’s no excessive body roll. And courtesy those fat tyres and quattro tech, one can not only carry way more corner speed than one would think sensible, but with measured power going to all four wheels, the corner exits are fast and delightful too. And this is a large and heavy SUV, mind.
But, ‘dynamic’ is only one of the many modes the Q8 gets. There’s auto, efficiency, comfort, allroad, offroad, and individual. Efficiency ruins the throttle response in a bid to get more kilometres per litre. Comfort like dynamic is well judged and it lightens the steering, keeps the throttle response alert, and makes the ride more absorbent, more rounded, and as a result more comfortable.
In ‘off-road’, the ride height increases, the Q8 now rolls more from side to side even over undulations, and it feels a little loose and disconnected. Allroad is similar to ‘offroad’. Finally, there’s an individual mode that allows you to pick and choose from various modes and club them into one. Our favourite combo: steering – dynamic; suspension – comfort; drivetrain – dynamic. Fuel efficiency, be damned.
Besides endorphins secreting dynamics and performance, the Q8 is also easy to live with. The light and quick steering makes it easy to park and negotiate traffic with. The good visibility, especially upfront, helps with the latter as well. Moreover, at slower speeds, the ride is quiet and absorbent, and with the body movement well controlled, the Q8 makes for a calm and comfortable commute companion.