Accelerate in a new direction
Lay your eyes on Audi’s new sports coupe for the first time and it’s like you’re looking at a baby Urus from Lamborghini. Not so far fetched; they do in fact come from the same production line.
Right off the bat the Q8 looks luxurious – the beautiful lines, the sharp edges and of course the newly designed grille. Those wheel arches are design perfection. You get a variety of options on wheels, it comes standard with 20 inch but there are 21 and even 22 inch options. For colours, you get ten different options: the Navara Blue we drove looks amazing, set off by the 22inch black diamond-turned alloys. The extended rear brake light is another design dare (hello Porsche Panamera Turbo S) and the new front LED lights wink at you every time you turn the car on, making you feel pretty special. Certainly you’ll be noticed every time you fire up the car.
There are three S-Line options available:
- S-Line Sports Package (standard)
- S-Line Exterior Package
- Gloss Package Black (Everything is blacked out)
Open the wide door, climb in and immediately see and feel the effort that has gone into the interior. Beautifully crafted like all Audis, it’s nevertheless markedly different. That’d be the electronics. Everything is electronic; the entire dashboard is a black screen until you switch it on, after which the magic starts. And those multiple touch screens have a degree of ‘give’, a peculiar, wonderful effect as you select a button. Look around and happily it’s more SUV than coupe in the pace race – surprisingly maybe, the Q8 is genuinely roomy, plenty of elbow, leg and head room for five. Score one for the interior designers.
Good news is there’s a Q8 suspension setting for every eventuality – cosseting in Comfort mode thanks to the air suspension, and wholly responsive in Dynamic. You can really feel the difference. Everything is sharper, more responsive, steering, ride and accelerator pedal all. The ride height lowers in anticipation of hard, fast driving. Still, it glides even in Dynamic mode. Glides? Engine stays on but the drivetrain decouples and the sensation is like a low flying cruise missile. It saves fuel and is lots of fun to boot. Finally, the off-road setting lifts the ride height when you hit the dirt.
So has Audi done enough to ward off the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLC Coupe? Tough call – both are superb offerings and we feel the Audi needs a little extra oomph. Beautiful, bespoke, elegance itself but let’s talk again when the RSQ8 breaks cover…
55 TFSI Quattro Petrol – R 1,388,000
45 TDI Quattro Diesel – R 1,439,000