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View all Audi Q8 reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • One engine on offer from launch – a 3.0-litre diesel
  • More diesels and petrol motors on the way
  • All engine have mild-hybrid technology as standard

From launch, the Audi Q8 is available with a 286hp 3.0-litre diesel engine named the 50 TDI. A smaller 231hp diesel and (45 TDI) and a 3.0-litre TFSI petrol engine (55 TFSI) will be available from early 2019.

Each engine will come with Audi’s mild-hybrid technology (MHEV), that uses a 48-volt subsystem to recover energy when the vehicle is decelerating. It allows the Q8 to ‘coast’ with the engine off between speeds of 34 and 99mph, saving fuel as it does so.

Audi Q8 diesel engines

The Q8’s 50 TDI diesel engine is shared with other models in the Audi range, including the A6, A7 and A8. Producing 286hp and 600Nm of torque, it’s capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 144mph.

It’s important to note that on the international launch of the Q8, the car was driven at high altitude where the engine’s performance is restricted thanks to lower atmospheric pressure.

Nevertheless, the 3.0-litre diesel still felt smooth and punchy, despite the altitude (and the Q8’s hefty 2.1-tonne kerb weight). The 600Nm of torque meant that overtaking could be carried out in brisk and safe manner, with little drama from the engine. 

Like almost all large diesel engines, the Q8 50 TDI does its best work in the mid-range. There’s still a reasonable amount of pulling power up until a few hundred rpm before the red line, yet taking the engine above 4,000rpm feels unnecessary.

Audi Q8 petrol engines

The most powerful confirmed engine for the Q8 is the 55 TFSI, developing 340hp and an-as-yet-unconfirmed level of torque. Acceleration and top speed figures will also be released closer to the engine’s introduction the UK market.

Quiet at low revs, yet sporty sounding under load, the 55 TFSI delivers greater refinement than the 50 TDI, yet understandably doesn’t quite have the mid-range pull of its diesel counterpart. As a result, the 50 TDI can inspire greater confidence when overtaking and has a power delivery better suited to the Q8’s luxurious character.

Audi Q8 gearboxes

The 50 TDI is mated with an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. It’s smooth and decisive, yet also responds well to any manual override using the gearstick or steering wheel paddles.

Meanwhile, the 55 TFSI using a seven-speed dual-clutch S Tronic gearbox that feels sharper and more responsive, yet doesn’t quite have the silky smooth laid-back character of the tiptronic. 

Audi Q8 drive select

Programmed with a number of preset drive modes (and a customisable individual setting), the Q8’s drive select function allows the user to tailor vehicle characteristics such as gearbox, engine and suspension settings.

It’s a useful feature that can help set the car up for different types of driving, yet, disappointingly, users cannot separate gearbox and throttle response individually – something that some drivers may find useful.

  • Lower to the ground and more agile than the Q7
  • All cars come with air suspension as standard
  • Quattro all-wheel drive provides superb traction

The Q8 is billed as a sporty SUV, designed to cut through bends with greater agility than its Q7 sibling. Such intentions are clear from the outset, with the Q8’s steering feeling noticeably sharper than many rivals, requiring little lock to point the nose of the car in either direction.

Audi Q8 Quattro all-wheel drive

Traction is predictably excellent thanks to the standard-fit Quattro all-wheel drive system that shuffles power to whichever axle has the most grip. It gives the Q8 a planted, and sure-footed feel ­– especially in slippery road conditions – that gives the driver huge confidence in the car’s ability.

Audi Q8 all-wheel steering

Low-speed manoeuvrability and high-speed handling is also aided by the all-wheel steering. This works by swivelling the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speed (thus reducing the car’s overall turning circle) and the same direction at high speed (keeping the rear of the car stable).

The end result is a car that feels surprisingly manoeuvrable around town – given its hefty dimensions – yet easily capable of swallowing long motorway cruises. Beware that some drivers may find the system takes a little getting used to, especially at low speeds, where the vehicle’s turning radius is smaller than expected.

Audi Q8 adaptive air suspension

Fitted as standard on the Q8, adaptive air suspension can adjust the vehicle’s ride height by up to 90mm using the drive select function. Placing the vehicle in its lowest setting reducing bodyroll (where the vehicle’s body leans out of a corner) and gives the Q8 a sportier feel, while switching it to the highest allows greater off-road capability.

Audi Q8 off-road

Like many cars of this type, the Q8 is unlikely venture any further off-road than a gravelly track. Despite this, all cars come with hill-descent control, automatically maintaining the vehicle’s speed up to 18mph on descents greater than 6%. Rest assured, for 99% of UK buyers, the Q8 will have more than enough off-road ability for their needs.

Audi Q8 towing

Official towing weights have yet to be released, but the Q8 is available with trailer assist software that automatically reverses the vehicle (and trailer) into a chosen spot with minimal input from the driver.