Audi joins luxury SUV-coupe battle: New flagship Q8 SUV part of 7-model assault

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

Audi has been relatively absent over the past two years, yet it hasn’t been idle, with no fewer than seven new models for South Africa. The German automaker kicked off 2019 with its RS4 Avant and RS5 Sportback.

Now in May 2019, the automaker has launched its new flagship SUV – the luxury Q8. We experience the new SUV in Cape Town and find out more about Audi’s plans for South Africa.

Design

With the launch of its Q8, Audi joins the luxury SUV-coupe battle that's sweeping the global vehicle market. Its new flagship SUV is big, bold and brash. Over the years, Audi has been critisised for playing it too safe with regards to its vehicle designs – more evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The Q8 is nothing short of a design revolution for the usually conservative brand. I mean, look at this monstrous grille:

What’s more, it’ll form the basis of all future Audi model designs. 

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Engine

The new Q8 55 TFSI is equipped with a six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol tank, capable of 250kW/500Nm. The Q8 sprints from 0 to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds. Its maximum speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.

A 3.0 TDI will be available in South Africa from mid-year. The petrol variant consumes between 9.1–8.9 litres of fuel per 100km, corresponding to 207–210 grams of CO2 per kilometre, depending on the chosen equipment level. Standard capacity of its fuel tank is 85 litres.

Driving it

Our route took us through the sweeping mountain pass of the 12 Apostles, as well as the winding (at times rutted) routes through the heart of the Cape farmlands.

The Q8 proved adept at tackling most of the terrain our rain-soaked route threw at it. Powering through corners, hugging bends and absorbing poor road conditions with aplomb.

Steering is precise, it has agility that belies its size, engine response is snappy and, overall, it provides a great, sporty drive well suited for spirited rides. Compared to its Q7 sibling, there's a greater emphasis on sporty, engaging driving. It’s the perfect marriage of sporty hatch and comfortable SUV. 

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Inside

The Audi Q8 sports the incredible, flowing centre console first seen in the new A7. It’s the perfect amalgamation of incredible tech (huge tablet-sized touchscreens) and great design (it’s near seamless, from the centre console to the central gear-tunnel).

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It's akin to a luxury, albeit high-tech, lounge and is an environment that exudes comfort. 

Features

More from Audi

A1, Q3, A6… 2019 will be the year of Audi, with nine new models headed to South Africa. Curiously most are set to arrive at the end of 2019. Its line-up sees a host of new cars and SUVs, all set to remind buyers (and rivals) that Audi has incredible presence locally. 


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