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In-depth reviews

Audi Q8 review - Engines, performance and drive

It’s a great motorway cruiser, but the drive isn’t as sporty as the Q8’s looks would suggest

The Audi Q8 feels quite a lot like its Q7 stablemate on the road, which is unsurprising given the fact the two share a platform and drivetrains. That’s great if you’re looking for a deft and reasonably sharp handling big SUV, but not so if you’re looking for something that’s more rewarding to drive. The BMW X6, Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport are all more obviously sporty, but given the philosophical conundrum big ‘sporty’ SUVs present, it’s no surprise some owners are more impressed by comfort.

All Q8s sold in the UK come on advanced adaptive air suspension, and on its softest setting the car is softly compliant while resisting roll admirably in corners. The Dynamic setting is less rewarding, as although the Q8 will tackle corners with little body roll and prodigious levels of grip, the ride quality becomes distinctly rough around the edges. Unless you’re on perfectly smooth tarmac, it’s hard to see the advantages and the compromises are considerable.

Steering feel is like every other Audi, which means it offers no sense whatever of the road through the steering wheel rim, but is accurate and responsive to inputs anyway. The 8-speed automatic is not a dual clutch device but a torque converter gearbox, and can be a little hesitant off the line.

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The Q8 is supremely quiet at speed, with barely any wind noise and very well muted engine and road noise.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The Audi Q8 arrived first in the UK with a 3.0-litre V6 ‘mild-hybrid’ diesel engine in the 50 TDI. It’s an impressively smooth and refined set-up, and with 282bhp offers rapid acceleration too. 0-62mph arrives in 6.3 seconds, and top speed is 152mph.

The petrol option is a 335bhp 3.0 V6 55 TFSI which will do 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 155mph. More additions to the engine line-up are expected in due course, including an e-tron plug-in hybrid. 

The SQ8 features a 429bhp 4.0-litre V8 TDI diesel engine with twin-turbocharger and electric supercharger configuration, making it good for 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. The SQ8 also has specially-tuned air suspension, while the Vorsprung version gets active anti-roll control and four-wheel steering.

The RS Q8, meanwhile, uses a 592bhp TFSI V8 petrol engine which can propel it from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 155mph.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    55 TFSI Quattro S Line 5dr Tiptronic [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £64,180

Most Economical

  • Name
    50 TDI Quattro S Line 5dr Tiptronic [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £64,480

Fastest

  • Name
    SQ8 TDI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £78,890
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