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Road tests

New Audi Q8 2024 facelift review: as stylish and spacious as ever

Updates are only mild, but the Audi Q8 remains a practical and refined SUV

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
from £75,500
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Verdict

Not a huge amount has changed for the Q8’s latest update, so it’s still largely the same spacious, comfortable and capable SUV it always was. In relative terms, we reckon it’s the most tasteful option in the coupe-SUV class, and the swoopy roofline hasn’t compromised its immense practicality. With no PHEV option anymore, the strong and smooth 3.0-litre V6 diesel is the pick of the range.

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This is the revised-for-2024 Audi Q8 SUV. Not to be confused with the Q8 e-tron; the brand’s renamed electric SUV now also bears the same nameplate, but unlike that battery-powered model, this car delivers the internal combustion options for big SUV buyers. In a rarity for new cars, this still includes the diesel that we have here. 

During the latest round of updates, the range has received some minor cosmetic tweaks, tech revisions and an updated trim structure. The styling changes are fairly subtle, but then the Q8 was already one of the more cohesive-looking coupe SUVs on the market – a segment which includes rivals like the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe

At the front, the changes include new grille patterns, and side intakes that have grown wider and deeper, and that now more neatly integrate into the lower section of the bumper. At the back, the changes have been limited to redesigned tailpipes, while OLED tech is offered on the Q8 for the first time. 

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Three new paint colours, Sakhir Gold, Ascari Blue, and Chili Red, are available, while there’s also the new interpretation of Audi’s four-ring logo. Here it’s finished in dark grey, which from a distance just makes it look like the badge has fallen off.

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Inside, the smart and beautifully built – if slightly clinical – cabin remains largely unchanged. The infotainment system has been given a boost by increasing the number of compatible apps, allowing users to access the likes of Spotify and Amazon Music. The Virtual Cockpit digital driver’s display now integrates the car’s safety assistance systems more effectively by displaying lane change warning information and other road users ahead of the driver.

The model tested here on UK roads was the limited-run Launch Edition spec. It’s based on the S line trim, but costs £10,600 more thanks to a range of extras. From a design point of view, it adds a unique set of 22-inch alloy wheels, a black exterior styling pack and door mirrors, those new OLED tail-lights, and interior additions like matte brushed aluminium trim, multi-colour ambient lighting and a flat bottomed steering wheel. As before, the cabin is vast, with acres of legroom and a 605-litre boot.

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The big wheels make their presence felt on the road in the form of a little fidget over most surfaces at low speed. It's never harsh, and is made more noticeable by the fact that the Q8 for the most part rides smoothly. There's a firmer setup than the mechanically-similar Q7 here, but unless you set the air suspension into Dynamic mode, the overall result is always on the comfortable end of the scale. 

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What it does mean is that the Q8 has better body control than you might expect. Even in Dynamic, this isn't going to be a car you'll relish throwing along a twisty road – it's far too heavy, too tall and too wide for that – but on the occasions that you want to show a little enthusiasm, it's a willing partner. It's helped by steering that's well weighted and precise, if not particularly keen to offer much feedback. 

Four-wheel steering is only available on the top Vorsprung trim, which is a shame as it’s a fantastic feature that makes the Q8 so much easier to drive around town. Overall, it can’t quite match the ride and handling compromise of the X6, but it’s very close.

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While diesel has fallen out of fashion, its appeal in large SUVs like this is still hard to knock. The 50 TDI model comes with a 3.0-litre V6 unit, which is smooth and refined on the move. It’s not short of performance, either. Maximum power stands at 282bhp, and that’s backed up by 600Nm of torque available from just 1,500rpm. 

Once you’ve overcome a little laziness as that large body gets rolling, performance is great. A strong, consistent surge of acceleration powers the Q8 from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, while at motorway speeds it rides that low-down torque, so the smooth eight-speed gearbox rarely feels the need to kick down.

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Mild hybrid tech comes as standard. This helps the engine stop and start almost instantly, and even allows for the V6 to shut down when coasting between 34 and 99mph to save fuel. Given its weight, getting 30mpg around town will still be a challenge, but at a motorway cruise it’ll manage around 10mpg more. Given that there’s no plug-in hybrid anymore (the alternatives are the 335bhp 55 TFSI petrol and the V8-powered SQ8), this is the powertrain that’ll make the most financial sense.

While Launch Edition will only be available for a limited time, all versions come well equipped. The base S line starts from £75,500, and comes with 21-inch wheels, Matrix LED lights, heated leather upholstery, adaptive air suspension, and 360-degree parking cameras.

Currently, Audi offers a £3,000 deposit contribution for Q8 buyers looking to finance through a PCP agreement. Put down £10,000 up front, and a three-year deal with a 10,000-mile agreement on the 50 TDI S line comes to £1,135 per month.

Model:Audi Q8 50 TDI Launch Edition
Starting Price:From £75,500
Price as tested:£86,000
Power/torque:282bhp/600Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:6.1 seconds
Top speed:150mph
Economy/CO2:32.5mpg/222g/km
L/W/H:4,986/1,995/1,705mm
On sale:Now
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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