With smooth styling with a ride to match, the two-row Audi Q8 is a dramatized version of the boxier Q7 three-row SUV. They both use the same solid underpinnings, including a turbocharged 335-hp V-6 engine, eight-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive, but the Q8’s starting price is significantly higher. The Q8’s chassis and acceleration are a mix of sweet and spicy, but this luxury SUV isn’t shy about gulping down fuel. Much like other sporty-shaped SUVs, such as the BMW X6 or Mercedes-Benz GLE-class Coupe, the Q8 puts comfort first, with a plush interior and high-tech helm. A 500-hp SQ8 and even wilder 591-hp RS Q8 are also available, but we review each of those high-power versions separately.
What’s New for 2024?
Audi gives the upscale Q8 some significant updates for 2024 with new looks and equipment. The Q8 refresh includes redesigned front and rear fascias, new optional matrix-beam LED headlights, new wheels, colors, and seat stitching.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d choose the Audi Q8 Premium trim and enhance it with select options. Its standout standard features already include a fully digital gauge cluster, built-in navigation, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a power-operated tailgate. While 21-inch rims are standard, we’d still spec the Black Optic package for its sportier appearance. We’d also add the Convenience package (blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, wireless charging, and more) and the Towing package. The latter unlocks the Q8’s maximum tow rating of 7700 pounds.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Audi provides every Q8 with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. A 48-volt hybrid-assist system aids stop-start operation, which was smooth and quiet during our experience. While the Audi had plenty of passing power on the highway, it felt hesitant around town unless we crushed the gas pedal. The transmission had mostly dutiful reactions, but it and the engine best cooperated in Dynamic mode, which provoked snappier responses. We only wish the engine and exhaust made gutsier sounds. While it swiftly changes directions and obediently hustles around corners, it’s less engaging than Audi sedans such as the sleek A7. The Q8’s steering has light effort and linear feedback, which was relaxing on long trips but boring on switchback roads. Our test vehicle had the optional air suspension and wore 22-inch wheels—21-inchers are standard. These large rollers were mostly quiet even on lumpy surfaces. With adjustable ride height and four-wheel steering (included with the Adaptive Chassis package), our Q8 was agile in tight spaces and capable of tackling choppy terrain. Its brake pedal was easy to modulate at highway speed but suffered from inconsistent reactions in traffic. Still, it hauled the hefty crossover from 70 mph to zero in a competitive 170 feet during our emergency braking test.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The Audi Q8 can tow up to 7700 pounds when equipped with a Towing package.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t published estimates for the refreshed Q8 yet, but last year’s model had mediocre EPA estimates that were lower than other all-wheel-drive rivals. The government estimates the 2023 Q8 is good for 18 mpg city and 23 highway. The Q8 we took on our highway fuel economy route greatly exceeded its EPA highway rating, however, returning 28 mpg over 200 miles. A similarly equipped BMW X6 returned 29 mpg. For more information about the Q8’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
In typical fashion, Audi has crafted a sophisticated and sturdy environment inside the Q8. The materials are premium, and the panels are expertly aligned. While the base model misses out on upscale features such as four-zone climate control and a leather dashboard with contrast stitching, it has standard heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof. Only the top-of-the-line model offers massaging front seats, upgraded leather surfaces, and quieter dual-pane glass. Our test vehicle had all that plus a head-up display and customizable ambient interior lighting. Not only is the Q8 visually impressive, it has more than enough passenger space. The driving position remains sporty despite its elevated height, and two adults can leisurely stretch out in the back. Although the two-row Q8 has less cargo volume than the three-row Q7, we managed to squeeze eight carry-on bags behind its back seat. That number increased to 23 (two less than in the Q7) with the split rear bench folded nearly flat. Our test vehicle had the optional air suspension, which can lower the rear end to help with lifting luggage in and out. Inside, the Q8 has limited cubby storage. Its shallow center-console bin and narrow door pockets left us with few spots to store small items.
Infotainment and Connectivity
With a pair of vivid touchscreens integrated into the dashboard and center console, every Q8 boasts a cutting-edge infotainment system. Instead of the intuitive rotary controller found on other Audi models, the displays respond to touch inputs with haptic feedback. We quickly assimilated to its logical menus and large icons, but distractions were unavoidable. Thankfully, receptive voice commands and handy steering-wheel controls provide alternate operation. Standard features include a Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wireless charging and two different Bang & Olufsen audio systems are optional. We’re particularly fond of the standard digital gauge cluster (called Virtual Cockpit), with its configurable settings and superb navigation.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
While the base model is available with several driver assists, more advanced options such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology and night vision with pedestrian detection are reserved for higher trims. Our test vehicle had the optional 360-degree camera system that helped us navigate narrow drive-throughs and avoid scratching the massive rims.
For more information about the Q8’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- ● Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- ● Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- ● Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi provides the same limited and powertrain warranty as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
- ● Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- ● Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- ● No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2019 Audi Q8
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$79,340 (base price: $68,395)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
183 cu in, 2995 cc
335 hp @ 6400 rpm
369 lb-ft @ 1370 rpm
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 14.8-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Hankook Dynapro HP2 Plus, 285/40R-22 110H M+S AO
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 196.3 in
Width: 78.5 in
Height: 67.1 in
Passenger volume: 105 cu ft
Cargo volume: 31 cu ft
Curb weight: 5152 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 5.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 14.3 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 22.2 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.0 sec @ 99 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 170 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.88 g
Observed: 18 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 28 mpg
Highway range: 630 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 19/17/22 mpg
DOWNLOAD TEST SHEET
More Features and Specs