Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro S line
By Bill McCarthy
THERE’S a saying that all good things come in small packages. In Audi’s case that is partially true. The German car maker produces fine smaller cars, but the same is true of its bigger models, including the flagship Q8.
It’s a huge SUV that proves good things also come in larger packages. It features a mini-hybrid, 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine combined with a lithium battery set up, eye-catching styling and a raft of high-end hi-tech equipment.
Usual Audi size grading by letter has been partially ignored here as the Q8 is around the same size as the Q7. It is actually shorter, although wider and is available only as five seater.
The Q8 is still very large, with styling cues from the original Audi quattro. ThisS line includes high definiition LED lights, 21-inch alloy wheels and adaptive air suspension as standard, not to mention the allwheel drive and eight-speed tiptronic gearbox.
Despite its near three-metre wheelbase it looks pretty sleek, almost coupe like, with a swooping profile and raked rear end. It has a large grille with the signature four rings sitting on six vertical fins, giving it a slightly aggressive look.
The interior is the usual Audi class act, with plush leather seats, the now familiar virtual cockpit over two screens, in a pleasing piano black finish.
The upper display controls infotainment and the navigation system, sat nav, Apple and Android connectivity and the superb Bang and Olufsen sound system. The lower 8.6-inch display manages the heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as comfort functions.
The top screen and TFT display can also be configured in various way to whatever is the driver’s preference.
The trim and finish is first class, with electrically operated leather seats, soft touch finish to dash and doors, with aluminium flashes throughout.
It is packed with equipment, including goodies like the 360 degree camera for parking, collisions and lane departure warning, head up display, ambient lighting , full climate control and parking aids plus a full range of safety kit.
In typical executive German style, optional extras can add thousands to an already eye watering price.
On the road, the six-cylinder 50 TDI with 286ps, hits 62mph in 6.3 seconds and a 144mph top speed. Lightning quick for such a big car.
The power plant integrates a lithium-ion rechargeable battery located underneath the luggage compartment floor and stores 10Ah of electrical capacity. This allows the SUV to coast between 34 and 99mph with the engine switched off.
Duringdeceleration the system can recover up to 12 kW of energy. This delivers an impressive, claimed economy of 41.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 178g/km.
For a sportier drive, switch to the steering wheel mounted paddles and choose dynamic driving mode from the five available to sharped up throttle, gearing and suspension and you get a surprisingly engaging drive.
The four wheel drive with the optional all wheel steering means the car is both agile, with sharp, precise steering and provides plenty of grip, especially in inclement conditions.
The quattro system provides power to the front axle and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60 as standard. When required, it transfers the majority to the axle with the better traction.
The clever sound insulation and the sophisticated aerodynamics, with double-layer windscreen means occupants are well insulated from road and wind noise.
In practical terms there is a host of storage compartments and tray areas, while the boot area offers 605 litres as a standard, which increases to 1,755 litres with the rear backrests folded down. Two golf bags can easily fit in diagonally. The tailgate can be opened and closed electrically as standard.
Mechanical: 286ps, 2,967cc,6cyl diesel engine driving foiur wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 152mph
0-62mph: 6.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 41.5
Insurance Group: 45
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles