Select a year
- Highs Entertaining to drive, ride is terrific regardless of wheel size, palatial interior with plenty of tech.
- Lows Acceleration lags at city speeds, some practicality sacrificed for style, lower touchscreen controls are distracting.
- Verdict The two-row Audi Q8 is compromised compared with the Q7, but it's undeniably more stylish.
With dramatic proportions and only two rows of seats, the 2022 Audi Q8 is the company's flagship SUV, a flashier alternative to the three-row Q7. The two Audis share a platform and a 335-hp V-6 powertrain, but the Q8's shorter length and sportier roofline reduce back-seat headspace and shrink the cargo area. While those compromises hurt its practicality quotient, the Q8 still has a spacious interior that's classy and cutting edge. The dash's digital parts look slick and pack desirable tech features, but the lowermost touchscreen can divert the driver's attention. At least the Q8 is fun to drive; following the precedent established by other crossover "coupes," it provides high-riding capability with lively driving responses. The 2022 Q8 is considerably more expensive than the Q7, with a price that starts about $13,000 higher—but that's the price of fashion.
What's New for 2022?
For 2022, the Q8 lineup has enhanced packages and new standard features. The entry-level Premium trim now comes standard with 21-inch wheels, power-folding exterior mirrors with memory settings, and several other amenities. The Premium Plus trim gets adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist and lane-keeping assist. Those who opt for the Executive package will now enjoy leather armrests, ventilated front seats, and sunshades for rear-seat passengers. The top-spec Prestige adds an adaptive air suspension and leather on the armrests when paired with the Executive package; all-wheel steering becomes a standalone option.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We'd choose the base 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 now 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 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. 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 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 21 highway, which is identical to the six-cylinder Q7. The Q8 we took on our highway fuel-economy route also 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 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-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.
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