Audi Q8 review - Interior, design and technology
The Q8’s design is smart and contemporary inside and out, while the onboard tech is a tour-de-force
The exterior of the Q8 is quite a step on from the relatively restrained Q7. Features like the larger front grille, more aggressively styled bumpers, new LED headlamp designs and a full-width lighting strip across the boot lid – as well as frameless side windows – give the Q8 a more upmarket and opulent feel.
Inside things step up a gear again from the Q7, with a truly impressive feel that’s inspired largely by the latest A8 limo. There’s lots of piano black trim and brushed metal finishes on display, and the whole fascia is configured around the MMI Touch dual-screen infotainment set-up we know from elsewhere in the Audi range.
As with other models, the top 10.1-inch screen delivers the infotainment, while lower 8.6-inch screen takes care of more fundamental systems like the climate control and car set-up options. It also features handwriting recognition, but this may be a step too far for many right-handed drivers – it makes a lot more sense when the steering wheel is on the left as per other European markets.
The Q8 also features Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as standard, which replaces the traditional instrument pack with a wide full-colour display that can be configured with high-resolution navigation maps or instrument graphics.
It’s not a sporty environment, but rather it’s luxurious, contemporary and very upmarket. That said, when we prodded some of the plastics there was a bit of creak and flex which was a little unexpected. All the electronics and technology systems are made possible because the Q8 is built on the VW Group’s shared MLB Evo platform.
Although the muscular SQ8 and RS Q8 provide more power and grunt than standard versions, there isn't much to tell the cabins apart - in fact, the interiors are largely identical. It's certainly not a step-up in interior quality, so you're essentially paying the extra premium for added performance.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
As you would expect, the Q8’s infotainment system is impressively configured. There’s full smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a highly specified audio system, and of course voice control, DAB audio and internet connectivity are all part of the available tech.
In this review
- 1Audi Q8 reviewAudi’s slickly-styled SUV ‘coupe’ flagship gives BMW and Mercedes a run for their money
- 2Engines, performance and driveIt’s a great motorway cruiser, but the drive isn’t as sporty as the Q8’s looks would suggest
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsA full-size luxury SUV is never going to be cost-efficient. It’s on a par with rivals though
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe Q8’s design is smart and contemporary inside and out, while the onboard tech is a tour-de-force
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceFor its size the Q8 isn’t especially practical, but it’s very comfortable
- 6Reliability and SafetyAs an Audi flagship model the Q8 comes rammed with safety tech, but reliability isn’t quite as assured