Home' Journeys : Feb Mar 2019 Contents 28 Journeys FEBRUARY / MARCH 2019
ver the years, Audi has tried to fill every niche
with a variety of sub-models to appeal to all
personalities, aiming to gain an advantage over
the other luxury marques it competes with.
However, with the latest range-topping Q8, Audi is moving
into an existing segment, competing against BMW X6 and
Mercedes Benz GLE Coupé.
Based on the Q7 platform, Q8 is wider both in body and
wheel track, but shorter and lower, providing that sports-
coupé look. Q8 also picks up Audi’s latest design language
with a bolder and wider single frame grille, contoured
air inlets with ‘blistered ’ guards to accentuate that wide
hunkered look, while the rear is highlighted with a light
strip connecting both tail light assemblies.
There’s a sloping roofline to the D pillar to accentuate
that coupé-like appearance (yes it still has four doors), and
it has frameless doors similar to those you might find in a
sports coupé. Rear seat headroom isn’t compromised with
the sloping roof design, and there’s a load-carrying capacity
of 605L, expanding to 1755L with the second row folded
f lat. All Australian delivered Q8s are fitted with S-line
package as standard with 21” wheels and, as you might
expect, leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats,
three-zone climate control and wireless phone charging,
just to name a few.
Digitalisation surrounds you when you enter the driver’s
seat. In front of you is Audi’s 12.3” virtual cockpit display,
and in the centre of the dashboard is a 10.1” display screen for
the multi-media interface, with an 8.6” lower display for
climate control along with an array of functional electronic
buttons. Actual physical buttons are limited to just a few.
Q8 has the latest in natural voice recognition software,
which I thought I’d try out to see if it could handle some
Australian colloquialisms. I suggested that I needed to go
to the toilet, but might not have said it exactly that way.
My wording didn’t matter, as it located the closest toilet
and offered me immediate directions.
There are 39 driver assistance systems fitted as standard.
A few innovative items that stood out included exit warning,
which detects vehicles and cyclists and can actually delay the
door from opening. The other is intersection crossing assist,
which monitors the area in front and at the side of the vehicle
on junctions and exit roads up to 75m in both directions to
detect oncoming vehicles. If you attempt to proceed you will
get visual and acoustic warnings. If the situation becomes
critical, a warning brake jolt follows.
At launch, the only powertrain is a 3.0L 250kW, 500Nm
V6 turbo petrol, driving a 40:60 rear-biased quattro AWD
system via an 8-speed torque convertor auto transmission.
As with all quattro systems, drive can be distributed via
a mechanical centre differential to the axle with the most
grip. Audi employs a 48V electrical system that allows the
vehicle to shut the engine down at speeds below 22km/h for
the stop-start system, and allows the engine to shut down
when coasting at considerably higher speeds under the right
conditions. The engine is seamlessly restarted by the 48V
alternator via a drive belt to the engine. A 3.0L turbo diesel
will be available later in the year.
Pricing is $128,900 (plus on road costs), but I’d suggest
maybe one or two extra options. At $11,000 the premium
plus package will get you 22” alloys, adaptive air suspension,
HD Matrix LED headlights, 4 -zone climate control including
rear touchscreen, 17 speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound
system, an LED colour interior light package and rear
privacy glass. An additional $4500 will get you the Dynamic
Steering package that includes four-wheel steering, resulting
in considerably improved low speed turning arcs, while
improving dynamic steering responses at higher speeds in
conjunction with variable ratio steering.
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‘Q8 has the latest in
natural voice recognition
software, which I
thought I’d try out to see
if it could handle some
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