Audi’s cool new Q8 steals a march on the stylish SUV gang, says Luxe motors columnist, Bob Arora.

Audi seem to have a car for every niche and the latest model to be launched by the company is the new Q8.

This car is basically Audi’s answer to the BMW X6. When the X6 was launched, it was more expensive than the X5 and it wasn’t as practical.

It had less space inside and was also originally only available with two rear seats. It’s been a successful car for BMW, and the very fact that Audi and Mercedes have launched models to compete with it shows there is a market for a more stylish SUV.

I’m not really a massive fan of the Q7, but I think the Q8 looks much more stylish and cooler.

The Q8 wears the company’s new grill; this eight-sided grill definitely looks very formidable and mean in a rear-view mirror!

NICHE NICE: AUDI Q8 TEST DRIVEIt’s lower and wider than the Q7 and this really helps to give the car its sporty look. The designers have lowered the roofline and given the car pillar fewer windows, add to the mix the stylish new headlights and a lovely rear LED lighting strip, and you get something really special.

I know the optional 22” alloys look amazing, but they definitely don’t help the ride comfort. Thankfully the car has air suspension – that has its work cut out trying to make the ride more comfortable.

The car has permanent 4-wheel drive and it has a 60/40 split to the rear so it essentially feels more like a rear wheel drive car.

As with most cars, the autonomous features are very handy; the cruise control which adjusts your speed to the traffic ahead is just great. The car also keeps you in line so you shouldn’t veer out of your lane, but if you don’t keep your hands on the wheel the car gets very angry and it’ll go as far as to brake and even call the emergency services!  Big Brother is definitely watching you…

There is only one engine choice at the moment and that’s a 3.0ltr diesel engine which is joined by a 48-volt mild hybrid system. This essentially allows the engine to switch off for a limited amount of time at cruise to boost efficiency.

It’s that good you don’t even realise when this is happening; because of this technology the stop start is much smoother than in other cars.

The car gets to 60mph in 6.1 seconds and most owners should expect at least mid-30s economy figures. Anyone wanting more power will have to wait until next year when a couple more engines will be launched.

Priced from £65k it’s certainly not a cheap car, but then, wanting to stand out from the crowd is never a cheap gig!

The interior is very Audi, and by that, I mean it’s stylish and well built indeed. The Q8 has the same dual screen that we first saw in the Velar.

The top screen controls all the sat nav, radio, phone and car settings. The bottom screen deals with the heater controls, they help make the interior look very stylish, but the downside is they are much harder to operate on the move! I love the new diamond stitching on the seats, it reminds me of the stitching you see in Bentleys with the Mulliner spec.

Despite the car’s rear sloping roofline there is loads of headroom for passengers sitting in the rear. Audi haven’t been as gung-ho as BMW originally were, by only offering two seats in the rear. Even BMW eventually gave in and made three seats in the back. There is a decent-sized boot and the rear seats move forward and fold to increase the load area.

Another thing you can’t help but notice  is just how quiet the car is. Even at cruising speed the car is very quiet indeed, I’m guessing, but it has to be on a par with the Mercedes S Class?

If you’re in the market for a SUV that looks a bit different to everything else on the market, I’d seriously go and have a drive of the Q8.

I haven’t driven an Audi in a while, and I’d like to thank Simon and his team for sorting this car out for me. It was a pleasure.

Car courtesy of Silverlink Audi

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