Reporting for Flagship Duty: Audi Unveils Q8 'Four-door Luxury Coupe'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Audi finally revealed its latest entry in the increasingly popular luxury SUV segment: the Q8. Think of it as a more contemporary take on the Q7. The automaker calls it an expressive new design that serves as “the new face of the Q family.” While we’re all for German manufacturers occasionally drawing outside of the lines, we’re not positive it was a good idea in this case.

No shortage of hype preceded the debut, which tricked many into thinking the vehicle behind the curtain would reveal itself as irrefutably gorgeous. Instead, what we received is an interesting looking crossover that’s certain to be (at least somewhat) polarizing, heralded by dozens of teasers — including an internet-based video drama.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t bring myself to continue discussing the turd sandwich that was Audi’s promotional miniseries for the Q8. It was only ever going to progress into more and more hateful rants. However, I now fully recommend you watch the series in its entirety, as the ending was dumb enough to prompt a violent laughing fit.

Getting back Audi’s fresh new crossover, which it calls a “four-door luxury coupé,” we’re pretty sure it’ll garner greater appeal in colors that aren’t orange. Some people will probably still hate it, but that could just be a statement on the squashed-SUV segment it’s trying to adhere to. Wider and lower than the Q7 by about an inch, and shorter by 3 inches, the Q8 is a much sportier design. This should partially excuse the added funkiness, but that really only applies to this particular model.

If Audi attempts to import the enlarged matte chrome “Singleframe” grille and honeycomb air inlets across the board, we could have a problem. It’s not that this design isn’t fun, it’s just a little inelegant. It’s too reminiscent of a mainstream CUV that’s trying to be edgy and doesn’t convey a premium aesthetic — at last not from the front.

The rest of the car is much sexier. There are a lot of straight lines mixed with savory curves and that Quattro-inspired black surround for the taillights works nicely. The interior is similarly phenomenal.

Similar in appearance to the A8’s cabin, the Q8’s additional accenting boosts personality without going overboard. While there are a few buttons, two touchscreens handle all of the crossover’s important functions. The 10.1-inch upper display is responsible for Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus and infotainment, while the lower 8.6-inch unit tackles interior temperature and seating comfort.

Speaking of which, you can option in massage seats, four-zone climate control and a Bang & Olfusen sound system. However, the base model should still be exceptionally comfortable for four occupants, with room enough for five. Audi says cargo room with the back seats folded is 62 cubic feet but, since it’s a little shorter than the Q7, overall storage space in the back certainly won’t be as good.

Advanced technologies include Audi Connect Key, which lets Android users unlock and drive their Q8 with their smartphone, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot, 360-degree cameras and the kind of active safety systems you’d expect to see on the new pinnacle of a luxury automaker’s SUV range.

Not all of these goodies are guaranteed to make it to America. Audi has already said that Traffic Jam Pilot probably won’t come to the United States right away, so we don’t know if the vehicle’s autonomous parking function sees a similar axe.

Other unknowns include the Q8’s powertrain options. Since it’s based on the Q7, we’d expect to see a lot of the same engines, but Audi is committing to nothing beyond the promise of standard all-wheel drive and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The manufacturer says the system adds instant torque and the ability to coast with its engine off for short distances. It also allows the Q8’s stop-start function to activate earlier, saving you some fuel. While interesting, these technologies already exist on several of the company’s models already.

Expect more details closer to the vehicle’s launch date in 2019.

[Images: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 69 comments
  • St.George St.George on Jun 07, 2018

    I kinda like it but wouldn't buy one. I don't begrudge people that would buy one though, horses for courses and all that!

  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Jun 07, 2018

    I wouldnt call this a "coupe", the roof area and hatchback look too practical for that. If anything its the ine good area about this thing. Makes me think of Audis VW Golf based hatchback from some years ago. The front ends a mess, you get randomly tacked on chrome like Mitsubishis recent Outlander, and quite a bit of grille to keep what I assume will be a VW 4 cylinder cool.

  • Kars This article was about Ford not Tesla - you are clearly confused.
  • Ollicat Those are individual charging stations vs entire gas stations that have 8 - 16 pumps. And gas stations take 3 minutes to fill vs 30 min to hours for a charging station. And gas pumps are much more likely to be working vs charging statins. Nice try with more propaganda though.
  • Richard Poore Sure, as the article itself notes (hence my ire) California has mandated that all new vehicles sold in state be EV by 2035. They require EV or hybrid by 2026. Since the author admits to this mandate it seems that the article title is clickbait... was really hoping that there was some sort of changes in the CA position since the state is sorely behind on where they need to be with charging stations for this sort of requirement.
  • VoGhost When will Audi eliminate the fake, oversized grills that impede aerodynamics?