Hosted in Cape Town, contributor Juliet McGuire attended the global first drive of the updated Audi Q8.
Audi SQ8 Fast Facts
- Engine: 4,0-litre, turbocharged V8, petrol
- Power: 373 kW
- Torque: 770 N.m
- Fuel consumption: 12,0 L/100 km
- Seat capacity: Five seats
- Luggage space: 605 L
- Service plan/warranty: TBC
- Price: TBC
What are we driving?
Audi’s flagship of the Q family; the Q8, which has received its mid-life update to introduced enhanced styling and new technologies. An Audi South Africa source suggested that the local range, including the 45 TDi, 55 TFSI and the RS Q8 will likely remain unchanged, we will also be seeing the now-petrol-powered SQ8 arriving on SA soil.
The Q8 has always pushed design boundaries, especially when you consider it is based on its more upright Q7 sibling. This swept-back-roofline premium SUV is quite distinct, and Audi wasn’t about to mess with what isn’t broken. The redesigned front grille is accompanied by a larger air intake in the bumper. There is also a revised exhaust setup throughout. The SQ8 gains a bespoke front spoiler, rear diffuser, and aluminium accents on the grille, side-view mirrors, and air intakes. As we have come to expect from Audi, there are several optional packages available that allow customers the opportunity to customise the vehicle.
The way to tell the difference between this upgraded model and the outgoing one is to look at the lighting setup. The reconfigured Matrix LED headlights now feature high-tech lasers to enhance the high beam range. There is also a revised colour palette and new alloy wheel designs.
There isn’t too much to report on when it comes to the interior but for an updated Audi Virtual Cockpit and an infotainment system that is now compatible with third-party applications including Amazon Music and Spotify.
Why is the updated Audi Q8 significant?
The Q8 is Audi’s flagship Q offering and therefore any fancy tech we see in this car, we will eventually trickle down to the rest of the brand’s portfolio. The clever lighting system, well, you saw it here first!
The sister car to the altogether more versatile modern Q7, the dramatically-styled Q8 also affords this German brand the opportunity to play amongst arguably more glamorous rivals, including its Porsche Cayenne cousin.
Related: Review: Audi S8 TFSI Quattro
How does the Audi Q8 compare to its rivals?
The Q8 takes on the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
What is the Audi Q8 like to drive?
The modern Q8 presents as an ideal long-distance cruiser with impressively comfortable cabin and excellently-appointed interior. Even on the range’s standard steel springs with adaptive dampers, this otherwise large SUV feels assured and ready to offer a modicum of excitement once the road ahead clears. Standard on the SQ8 yet optional throughout is air suspension and all-wheel steering for added poise and manoeuvrability around town.
The SQ8 TFSI now runs on the established 4.0 TFSI V8 with 373 kW and 770 N.m of torque mated with an eight-speed tiptronic and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. With a claimed 0-100 km sprint time of just 4.1 seconds, this motor also offers cylinder deactivation for improved efficiency under light loads.
The Audi Q8 boasts undoubted X Factor. It offers a striking design, luxurious interior, advanced technology and engine options to satisfy any customer. The SQ8, in particular, makes a strong argument on the performance side of things. Sporty, practical, engaging, fun, spirited, comfortable. It ticks all the right boxes.