DISTRACTING elements make a difference with a big vehicle.
The Audi Q8 is the flagship of the German brand’s Q range and therefore must have stature and presence. Those qualities are apparent in it, but so too the enormity of the machine, which may cause concern for drivers challenged with parking and estimation skills.
So, slap on a really bright colour that makes the car look friendlier and easier to handle. Something like dragon orange. It is the season for The Game Of Thrones, after all.
The styling of the front and back of the Q8 help to give it a more approachable disposition. The slope of the bonnet and the way the back drops off creates an impression of a slightly smaller car than it is.
The total size of the car is in some respects larger than the Q7 but is shorter in length and height.
Its impressive stance — powerfully poised to leap — is an attempt to mask bulk with anticipation.
The octagonal grille design is the new face of Audi, and will be seen in more cars. The sleek vertical lines of the rear lights help reduce the size of the back while creating a strong visual impression.
Once you’ve mentally overcome the size of the machine in your control, and taken in the sporty lines, you can climb into the Q8. The height challenged may want to travel with a footstool, or have the car lowered to make ingress easier.
The sleek exterior is carried through into the Q8 with a luxury lounge theme. Quilted seats are among the few textured aspects of the car. The rest of it is smooth and simple with three screens to provide information for the driver’s benefit.
The Audi virtual cockpit can be customised to suit the driver’s preference, but beyond that, a 10.1″ touchscreen offers infotainment information and another 8.6″ touch display lets you customise the climate in the cabin. Haptic and acoustic feedback provide a more satisfying experience when it comes to dealing with the screens.
But while it’s clear the Q8 wants to seamlessly blend in with our relationships with our smart devices, it does mean you have fewer knobs to instinctively adjust in the car.
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Like many luxury vehicles, there’s a sense of self-imposed modesty about the Q8’s abilities.
Fire the engine, and the turbocharged 3L V6 purrs to life. The start/stop system for a change is bearable when it shuts down and kicks into life during temporary stops in the journey.
The driving modes are quite well defined and even when running in efficiency mode, the air-conditioner is still effective. Taking it offroad is an option, if ever that is exercised.
However, the placement of the driving mode button is not well-positioned for the driver. Since the option to switch modes isn’t available on the steering wheel, it would have been logical to place it closer to the driver rather than the passenger.
Handling of the Q8 is remarkably agile for a big machine. Power is never an issue and the drive is well balanced between comfortable and involved.
As it darts from 0-100kmh in under 6 seconds, the Q8 is pacy, but delivers it without fuss or ferocity. The paddle shifters become quite handy, in conjunction with all-wheel drive when negotiating tight corners.
The second-generation electronic chassis platform is constantly calculating the ideal performance, recording data and processing it every few milliseconds.
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Space is certainly not an issue in the Q8. From cooling front seats and a huge boot, the comfort of occupants is a prime objective. Soundproofing keeps the external influences at bay while a panoramic roof offers more light.
With so many enhanced features onboard, connectivity is seamless and vital when it comes to seeking approval from all members of the travelling party.
With its presence and abilities, the Q8 should be an outstanding choice for those looking for practicality and performance.
AUDI Q8 RATING:
Max Power: 250kW@5,200 -6,400rpm
Max Torque: 500Nm@1,370 -4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic
0-100kmh: 5.9 seconds
Top Speed: 250kmh
Retail price: *$369.300
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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