REVIEW | If 'Magnificent' were a car, it'd be the Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro

• Two models make up the Audi Q8 range.

• Our test unit was the 45 TDI Quattro.

• The 45 is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine.

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The Wheels24 garage had an influx of Audi products the last month or so. From the A6 to the A7, and S6, the Four-ringed badge came to remind friend and foe that its products are not to be discounted. All these cars are impressive and carry a uniformity when it comes to the interior.

But the cherry on the cake was the Q8 SUV that came in for scrutineering. This vehicle, with its beautiful design and impressive stance, is the most expensive offering in Audi's stable. Two models make up the range and both retail for R1.5-million.

Our test unit, the Q8 45 TDI Quattro, carries a R56 000 premium over its petrol-powered sibling but foregoes none of the elements and traits that warrant its position at the top of Audi's product line-up.

Is it practical?

Of Audi's SUVs, the Q8 is by far the biggest. Looking at it alongside the Q7, one could be forgiven for thinking that the latter has the size advantage, but it's not the case. Though the Q7 has a higher roof and length advantage, the Q8 has the bigger wheelbase, greater width, and it weighs about 150kg more than the Q7.

The result is a cabin that can easily occupy five passengers, but the shorter length and sloping roofline mean that the load volume capacity is slightly less than the Q7's. Still, 605L of boot space is anything but a little, and with the rear seats folded down, it expands to 1755L.

READ: Women in Wheels | Audi SA's Tashta Bhana shares the best thing about her motoring job

The spaciousness continues throughout the cabin. Upfront, the two passengers have more legroom than one would need on any journey, while rear passengers have plenty of head- and legroom to contend with. Another feature we found to be quite considerate is the rear seats that can be moved and adjusted individually. Though they do not fold completely flat, they provide ample slope for when you want to get some shut-eye.

Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro

2020 Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro (QuickPic)

Touch of class

Audi has always been known for its interiors. With each passing generation of its cars, the automaker seems to push the envelope a bit further in terms of what it can do, and the latest infotainment system is no different.

The center console consists of two tablet-like screens from where you can operate the menus and functions. The bottom screen plays home to the climate control, while the top one is where music, satellite, and other features can be controlled from. The surfaces are smooth to the touch and devoid of buttons. And speaking of buttons, one must press on the screen to activate a function, followed by a satisfyingly addictive 'click' sound.

In front of the driver, the information display and readouts can be adjusted to your liking, while rear passengers have the luxury of their own climate control. As standard, the Q8 features heated front seats, leather upholstery, keyless access and -start, rain sensor wipers, a panoramic sunroof, and park distance control with surround view - to mention a few.

Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro

2020 Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro (QuickPic)

Out on the road

In keeping with Audi's latest naming convention, this Q8 carries the 45 TDI Quattro tag. The 45 refers to the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine lurking under the bonnet. Thanks to turbocharging, the engine produces a hefty 183kW and 600Nm, all of which are sent to the road via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The torque, available in a broad band between 1500 - 3000rpm, has ample shove to move the SUV forward and there is never any indication that the Q8 is running out of steam.

REVIEW: Well, hello there! Reacquainted with Audi as we drive the new A6

Thanks to the driving mode selector, it is easy to alter the SUV's on-road manners. Choosing between a raft of options, including Off-road, Comfort, and Dynamic, the Q8 will adjust its entire drivetrain accordingly and impress with smooth steering, long-distance comfort, and an engaging drive. Even the massive low-profile 22-inch wheels do little to deter from the experience.

Audi claims a fuel-return of 7.8-litres/100km, but a figure of 9.0-litres/100km after the test period is a massive win in our books.

Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro

2020 Audi Q8 45 TDI Quattro (Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond)

In summary

There can be many ways to describe the Q8, but few words would do it justice as magnificent. The SUV does little wrong. As wholly offering, it impresses beyond words and will not come undone when you scrutinise the package.

On the road, where it matters, you'll almost be disappointed when your journey comes to an end because you'll always feel as if more driving must take place.

Priced at R1 573 500, the Q8 45 TDI Quattro is not cheap but is competitively priced against many of its rivals. The Q8 comes standard with a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan, and one-year/unlimited km warranty.

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