Crossover and SUVs might be the biggest sellers right now, but many models seem like duplicates of one another. And when Audi announced a new flagship model in the shape of the 2019 Audi Q8, the luxury crossover market suddenly became more competitive.
What’s the unique selling point of the new Q8? The Audi doesn’t have overtly sporty styling, and it can’t come close to matching the ludicrous power and performance of some SUVs. If you want to know what the Q8 does have to offer, read on.
Buyers who like the way BMW and Mercedes have been going with their own “coupe crossovers” will no doubt be looking forward to what Audi designed to compete against its German rivals. While the Q8 is sportier than other crossovers in the Audi Q family, it stops a long way short of being as eye-catching as an X6 or a GLE Coupe.
The wide front and imposing nose of the Q8 set it apart from other models in the Audi family, but it’s hard to stop thinking Audi could and should have gone further. The lack of a more acute sloping roofline may please taller passengers sitting in the back of the Audi. But this practical approach could see the Audi losing sales to some of its more dramatic, daring competitors.
Of course, you only have to look at the rest of the current Audi portfolio to realize Audi doesn’t really do daring styling. And if you stop comparing the Q8 looks to its main rivals, there’s no denying the Audi is a very handsome full-size luxury crossover.
Although there may be more variants in future model years, at the moment, the 2019 Q8 comes in just three forms. The entry model is the Q8 Premium, the mid-range model is the Q8 Premium Plus, and the top-of-the-range offering is the Q8 Prestige.
Once again, there may be a more performance-orientated Q8 in the pipeline for the future, but now there’s just a single powertrain in the Q8 lineup. To be fair to Audi, it’s a pretty good one: a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 sending 335 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque to the AWD system that Audi calls quattro through a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Although the standard adaptive steel suspension, rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, and the sheer mass of the Q8 remove any pretense of sporty from the Audi, the performance figures are still impressive. The Audi can get from a standing start to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds, which is very good for a vehicle of this size and weight that doesn’t claim to be a performance model.
Every contender in this segment has to have an interior that offers comfort, luxury, and quietness. The 2019 Audi Q8 checks all three and then some. Because the Q8 foregoes the third-row seats of the Q7 and the acute rooflines of the BMW and Mercedes, those sitting in the back of the Audi are pretty spoilt. Even though the Q8 is three inches shorter than the Q7 and comes standard with a sunroof, there’s enough room in the back for passengers.
Also because of no third-row seating, there’s plenty of space behind the rear seats for storing cargo. Even with the second row in use, there’s more than 30 cu.-ft. of rear cargo space, and that can be doubled by folding away the rear seats when not in use.
In every trim level, the seats are fabulously comfortable and the quality of the materials is top-drawer. The standard soft leather in the Q8 Premium looks and feels as good as the premium leather in some lesser rivals. And the Prestige goes above and beyond with a stunning leather dashboard and touch-sensitive buttons.
Features and Equipment
Even for a flagship model, the Q8’s list of standard and available features and equipment is mighty impressive. Every model gets at least 20-inch alloys, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, an 8.6-inch touchscreen for the Q8’s functions and climate controls, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a panoramic sunroof.
Q8 Prestige models might cost over $77,000, but that doesn’t look bad value when you consider what it includes. The Prestige comes standard with advanced matrix headlights, a head-up display, that leather dashboard we love so much, 21-inch alloy wheels, a premium audio system, a surround-view camera system, quad-zone climate control, and a driver assistance package that’s only optional for the Premium and Premium Plus.
- Incredible ride quality
- Comfortable and luxurious cabin
- Handsome exterior styling
- Very technologically advanced
- Tons of top safety gear
- Conservative styling could be more daring
- Not different enough from the Q7
The Last Word
The 2019 Audi Q8 might not have quite the wow factor and initial excitement of its rivals. But don’t let that put you off. This is a model where the top trim level actually looks and feels like decent value for money.
If you’re buying a luxury full-size SUV to use every day, it’s hard to think of a more comfortable, luxurious, high-quality, and reliable option than a 2019 Audi Q8.