Am I out of contact? No, it is the kids who’re incorrect.

I’ll admit that I harbored many unfavourable opinions of the primary crossover “coupes” and their tapered, space-eating rooflines. However after every week with Audi’s new Q8, I acknowledge the folly in that call. The Q8 would not make as many sacrifices as I assumed it must, and the result’s a genuinely compelling luxurious SUV that I feel consumers could be foolish to not examine additional.

Few, if any sacrifices

The Q8 hides its downward sloping roof properly sufficient to the purpose that it solely bears a passing resemblance to related automobiles just like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe. It goes from roof to glass at a much more extreme angle than the three-row Q7, however in individual, it would not look harsh in any respect. In reality, I feel it is essentially the most fashion-forward car driving on this VW Group platform, out-prettying automobiles just like the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. It additionally occurs to be simpler on the eyes than the X6 and GLE-Class Coupe.

The remainder of the package deal ain’t too shabby, both. The taillights appear like they had been ripped straight from the quilt of some pulp sci-fi novel. In an period the place headlights are rising ever thinner and grilles ever bigger, the Q8’s headlight meeting is definitely appropriately proportioned to the grille, which hides a lot of the for its driver-assist methods. The entire package deal simply works, particularly in my tester’s shade of Glacier White Metallic (a $595 premium over common Carrara White).

One way or the other, the within is even cooler than the skin. Audi’s two dashboard screens, a part of the Roadshow-Shift-Award-winning MMI Contact Response system, mix seamlessly into a big swath of glass that runs the width of the sprint. There’s only a little bit of the same old vinyl-ish materials up prime, and the vents are cleverly hidden within the trim, one thing Audi’s additionally doing on different fashions to nice impact. Throw in a little bit of matte-finish wooden that feels costly to the contact, and you have got the makings of 1 significantly well-designed SUV.

If that roof pressured Audi to make any sacrifices, I am having a tough time discovering ’em. The entrance seat is not simply spacious, it affords quantity of visibility in all instructions, together with out again, the place the glass fills the not-necessarily-small rearview mirror totally. There’s a great deal of house within the again row, too; my 6-foot body has a stable couple inches of house between the headliner and the hairs on my heady-head-head. Cargo house is equally glorious, with its 30.5-cubic-foot determine main its section.

The Q8’s rear finish helps it stand out in an ever-growing crowd of SUVs.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Holy heck, I dig this tech

Merely put, Audi’s MMI Contact Response infotainment system is likely one of the greatest I’ve ever laid palms on, and it is simply the most effective two-screen setup in the marketplace.

This is the way it works: You have bought two screens, one on prime of the opposite. The eight.6-inch display screen on the underside focuses on local weather controls, however there are additionally a number of additional capabilities hidden away right here, just like the steering wheel warmth and auto stop-start. It could possibly additionally convert to a writing pad, and its handwriting recognition is quick and correct. The response time is astonishing — it’s going to be up and working, once in a while, earlier than the engine finishes turning over.

The 10.1-inch display screen above holds all of your conventional infotainment bits, just like the radio, navigation and cellphone. The design is easy, fairly near Porsche’s newest iteration of PCM. Response occasions are nearly fast, and the little little bit of haptic suggestions it gives feels pure. The design could be too easy for some, however I admire a simple structure most of the time. Touching is the one technique to manipulate it — there are no dials to talk of, aside from the amount knob, however I by no means as soon as clamor for one.

If that is not sufficient display screen, don’t be concerned, there’s yet another. Digital Cockpit can be current in my tester, packing its regular 12.Three-inch show that mimics what the 10.1-inch display screen reveals. It is nice for lowering distraction, but it surely’s additionally out there in numerous types throughout a lot of VW Group’s lineup now, so it is form of previous hat. But, it is nonetheless leagues forward of most different gauge shows, if solely in its flexibility and ease of manipulation (simply a few buttons on the left steering wheel spoke).

On the driver-assist entrance, autobrake is commonplace. My tester one-ups that with the $2,750 Driver Help package deal, which provides adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance, visitors signal recognition and energetic lane help. Now, this automobile could be kitted out with that fancy zFAS controller and lidar emitters that no different automaker can supply at current, however so far as I can inform, the system operates like some other. It goes, it stops, and it does all of it comparatively easily. The steering help is not as energetic as related methods from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though I want it had been. It’s extremely a lot a hands-on system, however I want it was just a bit extra strong.

A pleasing commuter

Proper now, the Q8 solely has one engine on supply, though a warmer SQ8 is probably going on the best way. It is a Three.Zero-liter turbocharged V6 that seems 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, enhancements of two and 44 (respectively) over the Q7’s supercharged V6. The Q8’s six-pot additionally makes appearances within the new A6 and A7.

The V6 gives ample get-up-and-go once I lean heavy on the throttle, with the usual, rear-biased all-wheel drive offering a great deal of traction within the Michigan chilly, thanks partly to this take a look at automobile’s 285/45R21 Hankook Dynapro HP2 Plus winter tires. The eight-speed computerized transmission exists largely within the background, shifting up and down with little or no motion translated to the cabin.

There’s, nevertheless, some weirdness within the throttle when ranging from a cease. I do not know if it is turbo lag or poor throttle tuning from the manufacturing facility, however this automobile doesn’t admire a gradual begin. Mild strain on the fuel pedal barely produces any ahead movement, however the second I lean just a bit tougher, off it goes like a rocket. Fortunately, utilizing the custom-tailored Particular person drive mode makes up for a few of this (engine set to Sport, transmission set to Consolation), but it surely would not get rid of the issue totally. Setting the transmission to Sport leaves the revs hanging too typically, which eats into gasoline financial system.

There is a 48-volt gentle hybrid system baked into the drivetrain, but it surely solely serves to elongate the (admittedly very clean) stop-start system. I want it had been extra like Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Enhance, which may present further horsepower and torque in small bursts, however alas. And even with longer durations of engine shutoff, I am not loving the gasoline financial system. The EPA’s numbers of 17 miles per gallon metropolis and 22 freeway aren’t nice, however I’m able to attain these numbers.

On the ride-quality entrance, issues are principally optimistic. My tester lacks the non-obligatory four-corner air suspension (a part of a $2,750 package deal that additionally provides four-wheel steering), but it surely nonetheless does a commendable job of absorbing bother on Michigan’s Superfund-site-quality roads. The frameless home windows solely actually ramp up the wind noise above 75 miles per hour; in any other case, the cabin is way quieter than the final couple of BMW SUVs I drove on higher roads, in higher climate.

Not solely is it rewarding to drive, it seems to be such as you’re driving the long run.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

How I would spec it

My tester is the penultimate Premium Plus trim, which provides larger wheels, inside ambient lighting, a surround-view digicam system, ventilated entrance seats, wi-fi system charging, four-zone local weather management and a number of different bits — a $four,000 premium over the $67,400 base trim. My tester additionally packs the aforementioned Driver Help Package deal, a $650 towing package deal that allows you to tow 7,700 kilos and a $600 Chilly Climate Package deal that heats the rear seats and steering wheel. Add on $100 for a CD and DVD participant and $995 for vacation spot, and the value lands firmly at $77,090.

The $71,400 Premium Plus trim is the place I would begin my ideally suited spec, too. All non-boring paint colours are $595, so I will make this one vibrant orange, as a result of I can. From there, I will go along with the no-charge brown leather-based and the identical no-charge wooden trim as my tester. I will skip the Driver Help Package deal, however add the air suspension on the similar $2,750 value level. I will additionally warmth my steering wheel for $600, however that is it. That brings the value down a smidge to $76,340, which continues to be costly, however not dangerous for a flagship-level product.

All the way down to brass tacks

The Audi Q8 has competitors each new and previous. The swoopy-coupe BMW X6 is a direct competitor with a barely decrease beginning value, however it is a bit older, too. The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe could be, however within the US it is solely out there in AMG type, which sends the beginning value north of $70,000. The Porsche Cayenne begins at about the identical value, but it surely prioritizes driving engagement in a approach the Q8 would not. Audi’s personal Q7 stands as a three-row complement to the Q8, but it surely’s nonetheless working on Audi’s last-gen tech.

I went into this evaluate considering the Q8 could be a automobile that compromised itself for the sake of vogue, however I used to be incorrect. It is fashionable, however its in-vogue silhouette nonetheless leaves loads of house inside for cargo and folks alike. It is rewarding to drive, and its tech is on the prime of its sport. Audi got here out the gate swinging with this one.

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