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2019 Audi Q8

Starting at $68,395

2019 Audi Q8

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  • Highs Suave and tech-savvy cabin, sporty and comfy ride, more useful than Audi sedans.
  • Lows Pricier than the more pragmatic Q7, distracting touchscreens, less fun to drive than Audi sedans.
  • Verdict The ultimate Audi crossover is convincingly sporty and properly useful.
By Eric Stafford


Audi's range-topping 2019 Q8 effectively blends SUV capabilities with sedan characteristics. An exaggerated face, chiseled surfacing, and a raked roofline help visually separate it from the three-row Audi Q7. Inside, its tech-laden dashboard and two rows of seats further the differences. A turbocharged V-6 supplies deliberate acceleration, and standard all-wheel drive provides all-weather traction. While the Q8 holds fewer passengers and less luggage than the 10Best-winning Q7, it has a bigger back seat and better encourages taking the long way home. Sure, it's also more expensive, and the slick infotainment system draws the driver's eyes. Still, the Audi brand has created a legitimate crossover that continues its tradition of refinement and engagement.

What's New for 2019?

The Q8 is an all-new model for 2019. It slots above the Q7 and represents the German company's flagship SUV.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Compared with the supercharged Q7 3.0T, the sleeker Q8 adds a glitzier cabin and a turbocharged V-6 engine but subtracts a row of seats and some cargo volume. It also starts at about $7500 more than the six-cylinder Q7. Essentially, the more expensive model is for people who want more personality than practicality. Since the base Q8 Premium isn't available with certain options, we'd recommend the mid-level Premium Plus. It adds a standard 360-degree camera system, larger 21-inch wheels, a fourth climate zone, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and driver assists including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. We'd also add the Adaptive Chassis package (air suspension and four-wheel steering), the Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel and heated rear seats), and the Towing package to make use of its maximum towing capacity of 7700 pounds.

Engine, Transmission, Performance, and Towing

Likes: Athletic enough to satisfy enthusiasts, refined enough to coddle passengers, can tow up to 7700 pounds.
Dislikes: Reluctant to respond at low speeds, Audi sedans have higher fun factor.

Audi provides every Q8 with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the legendary Quattro all-wheel drive. A 48-volt hybrid-assist system aids stop-start operation, which was smooth and quiet during our experience. Our test vehicle accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and went from 50 to 70 mph in 4.0 seconds—both slightly quicker than the last supercharged Q7 we tested. The Q8 was also speedier than the BMW X6 xDrive35i. While the Audi had deliberate 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. The Q8 can also tow up to 7700 pounds when properly equipped.

Following the guidelines established by other crossover "coupes," the Q8 provides high-riding capability with sporty driving responses. 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—20-inchers are standard. These large rollers were mostly quiet even on uneven surfaces. With adjustable ride heights 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.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The Q8 has mediocre EPA estimates that are lower than some all-wheel-drive rivals. The government estimates the Audi gets 17 mpg city and 22 highway, which is also significantly less than the six-cylinder Q7 (19 city and 25 highway). Still, the Q8 we took on our highway fuel-economy route greatly exceeded expectations. It earned 28 mpg over 200 miles, while the last Q7 we tested saw 24 mpg in the same test. A similarly equipped BMW X6 returned 25 mpg.

Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo

Likes: Great mix of luxury and technology, vast back seat, road-trip-worthy cargo capacity.
Dislikes: Dual screens can divert attention, poor interior cubby storage, Q7 has a third row and more cargo space.

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.

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 4G LTE mobile hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. 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.

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-folding 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.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

View Crash Test Results

The Q8 earned a five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 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. Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Available 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. The Q8 also includes a brief complimentary scheduled maintenance period.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance covers one year or 10,000 miles


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