The 2019 Audi Q8 is supposed to be the love child of a large SUV and a 4-door luxury coupe. See how that coupling actually makes sense.
What non-car aficionados don’t really understand is that buying a car isn’t solely about practicalities. It’s not just about get from point A to point B with your gear. It’s also about fashion and style joining driving excitement and comfort. It’s this non-focus on simple functionality that explains the existence of the 2019 Audi Q8.
The Stat Sheet
Before anything else, let’s take a cold look at the specs:
Vehicle configuration. 4-door hatchback, AWD, front engine, 5 passengers.
Engine. Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, with direct fuel injection and aluminum block and heads.
Power. 335 HP @ 6400 rpm
Torque. 369 lb-ft @ 1370 rpm
Weight. 5,000 pounds
Length. 196.6 inches
Width. 78.5 inches
Height. 67.2 inches
Wheelbase. 117.9 inches
Transmission. 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Top speed. 130 mph
0-60 mph. 5.3 seconds
0-100 mph. 14.6 seconds
Standing quarter-mile. 14.0 seconds
City. 17 mpg
Highway. 22 mpg
Combined. 19 mpg
The Welcome News
First of all, it looks good. It certainly looks better than the rather awkward Bentley or an attention-seeking Lamborghini. It doesn’t take the aesthetic risks you’d find in the GLE coupe and the X6, but playing it safe pays off really well.
It’s a good-looking sporty SUV. The grille is wider than the Q7. The headlamps seem to squint a bit more. It looks wider due to the comparatively low roofline, and the 22-inch wheels suit the whole look (though you can get them in 20 and 21 inches too).
Get inside and you’ll feel nice and comfy with the airy and spacious interior. Even those in the back seat should have no complaints with the roominess, with enough headspace and legroom. With the 2-screen infotainment system up front, the whole look is neat and uncluttered.
It even drives well, especially with the all-season tires that are standard in the US market. It feels agile and it deals with curving roads with a nice pace and no fuss. Drive on broken pavement and in Sport mode, and the ride doesn’t turn harsh at all.
Drive it off-road for a short while, and you’ll find that its all-wheel drive system is up to the task of dealing with desert sand. You may want to exchange the steel-spring suspension with adjustable dampers with the optional adjustable-height air springs. You can then boost the body of the Q8 for a maximum clearance of 10 inches.
The Bad News
Yes, it looks great and it drives well. You do, however, need to deal with some drawbacks. This starts with the base price of $67,400. That’s way more than a Q7, which costs $59,950 when you have it outfitted with the supercharged 333-hp 3.0-liter V-6.
The Q7 also has 3 rows of seats, while this Q8 only has 2. The Q8 is mainly meant for families with small children and not as the designated vehicle for families with teenagers and their buddies.
Cargo capacity also takes a hit. The Q8 cargo capacity has about 15% less cargo space than the Q7, so you’re losing about 10 cubic feet of space. This is the consequence of having the Q8 roof set at about 1.5 inches lower, the overall length is 2.6 inches shorter, while the wheelbase stays the same.
So is it for families? Sure, it can be if the family in question likes to drive around comfortably in style. In terms of function, the lack of passenger and cargo space really doesn’t make it the best option for larger families who want to use the car for family vacations.
But if you’re determined to have a vehicle that can act as a family car but doesn’t look like one, then the Q8 makes sense. Sure, you can no longer get a Mustang or a WRX STI when you already have a family. But who says you can’t still get yourself a sporty 4-door that can function a bit like an SUV?
This is fast enough that it certainly won’t feel plodding, yet the ride quality is not as firm and punishing as typical sports cars. It’s a vehicle that looks like a beefed up 4-door and it’s not the mommy-mobile SUV that you feared. It’s basically a version of the Range Rover Sport if the design was tinkered with by a fervent fan of German cars.
So for some people, the Q8 doesn’t make sense. But when it comes to cars—and even family automobiles—it’s never purely about functionality at all. Add the need for style, luxury, and excitement, and the Q8 can seem the height of rationality.
Follow Us on Facebook
Straight To Your Inbox
Get the latest Automotive news and performance tests straight to your inbox!