Audi Q8 Review 2024

Written by Andrew Brady

heycar ratingStyle-focused SUV from Audi
  • 2018
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, PHEV

Quick overview


  • Impeccable interior quality
  • Good to drive
  • Spacious cabin and a big boot


  • Only five seats
  • Infotainment can be a bit distracting
  • Not cheap to buy or run

Overall verdict on the Audi Q8

"The Audi Q8 is a big, posh SUV that's (sort of) also a coupe. It shares much with the Audi Q7, but with seven seats swapped for five and a more svelte design. Does it stack up against style-focused rivals? Read our Audi Q8 review to find out."

Audi Q8 Review 2024: front static

The Audi Q8 sits at the top of the brand's SUV tree, alongside the Audi Q7. While the latter is longer than the former, the Q8 is the most expensive SUV Audi makes, competing with sporting or coupe-like SUV models such as the Range Rover Sport, Mercedes GLE Coupe, BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe

If you need seven seats, then Audi will point you towards a Q7. The five-seater Q8, meanwhile, has a slinkier, less-boxy design to make it more elegant and more desirable, desirability that’s topped off by the aspirational Audi badge.

There are plenty of other Audi trademarks that are present-and-correct, too, not least the impeccable build quality. Every surface you look at or touch is an absolute treat for the eyes or the fingertips, so this feels like a very classy product indeed, good enough to have the beating of rivals such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. 

Yes, this is a very expensive car, but jaw-dropping quality like this helps make the Q8 feel worthy of the price tag. So does the stack of luxury and safety equipment you get as standard, the latter of which helps the Q8 achieve that all-important five-star rating from Euro NCAP.

On the road, the Q8 is very relaxed and quiet, with fabulous rolling refinement and a diesel engine (we haven’t tried the petrol offering yet) that is smooth, subdued and effortlessly powerful. Granted, the ride isn’t as cosseting as in the slushiest SUVs, but it’ll keep you comfortable most of the time, and you get impressively sharp handling as a payoff.

Later in the car's life there was an Audi Q8 TFSI e plug-in hybrid variant added. Promising up to 123mpg it'll save you money if most of  your journeys are short enough to suit, but if you regularly go on longer runs, you'll probably be better off with the diesel. 

And practicality? Well, it may only have five seats, but they’re all just as roomy as the equivalent seats in the Q7, so this is a very spacious and comfortable car. A big boot also helps it perform family duties impressively well.

Downsides? Well the infotainment system could be more user-friendly and, like we said earlier, it’s pretty pricey. But otherwise, the Q8 is a very good premium all-rounder that’s perfectly suited to the buyers it’s aimed at. If that’s you, you're in for a treat.

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If you’re after a five-seat luxury SUV and you enjoy the finer things in life, then the Audi Q8 will suit you down to the ground. Even compared with high-class rivals such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe, the Audi feels like a cut-above in terms of interior quality, and that really helps justify the high price tag.

It’ll also suit you if you value agile handling over outright comfort, because it does feel impressively athletic in a set of bends, and despite there being a firm edge to the ride, this is not an uncomfortable car by any means. And, if you’re a gadget fan, the Q8 has that covered, too, with a huge variety of luxury equipment and all the latest infotainment tech.

The Q8 is a luxury SUV that’s focused on style rather than practicality, and it’s certainly not alone on that score. The BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe are probably its most direct rivals on size, price and ethos, while Land Rover will have a couple of contenders in the mix with the Range Rover Sport and the Velar

Buyers might also be tempted by the Porsche Cayenne Coupe if they’re after something a little sportier.

Comfort and design: Audi Q8 interior

"Like all of Audi’s latest luxury cars, the Q8’s dashboard has three screens. One of them is a digital instrument panel that sits behind the steering wheel, replacing conventional dials."

Audi Q8 Review 2024: Interior

It displays all the same information, but also places selected other bits of information - like your sat-nav instructions - directly into your eyeline. That means there’s a lot going on in front of you, but despite the large amount of information, everything stays clear and easy to process. 

The other two screens sit on the centre console. The top one controls the infotainment system (we’ll talk about that in the corresponding section in a moment), while the bottom one takes care of the climate control system, along with a few other minor functions.

It looks great, but it’s more distracting to use on the move than traditional dials and buttons. With those, you can glance at them quickly and then find the control you want by feel. With a screen, you have to press the screen in exactly the right place, and that takes more concentration, diverting more of your attention away from the road.

You’ll have no complaints over comfort, though. The supportive seats have electronic adjustment in all versions, helping you to fine-tune your favoured driving position. You get a clear view out in all directions, too, and to help you further with parking manoeuvres, the standard kit list on all versions includes parking sensors at either end and a reversing camera. The Vorsprung adds a 360-degree camera.

High quality is an Audi trademark, and you’d expect the firm’s most luxurious SUV to be the showcase for its impressive skills in this area. Even with expectations so high, the Q8 still manages to dazzle. 

Every single surface encountered by your eyes or fingertips is a joy for both senses, which immediately gives those inside the impression that they’re travelling first-class. Make the effort to delve deep into the lower reaches of the cabin in search of hidden-away panels that don’t quite measure up, and even those with the detective skills of Hercule Poirot will be wasting their time.

The flawless way everything is assembled gives an even more high-grade feel, with barely perceptible panel gaps and not even the merest hint of a creak or a flex. There’s the odd styling tweak here and there between versions, but despite these, even the entry-level Q8 feels just as sophisticated as the range-topper.

As we’ve already talked about them (in the Comfort and design section), we’ll ignore the two of the Audi Q8’s three dashboard screens here, and talk solely about the main one, the 10.1-inch touch-sensitive item found at the top of the centre console that takes care of pretty much all of the car’s infotainment functionality. 

As touchscreens go, it’s pretty good. It looks fab for a kick-off, lending the interior a really high-tech feel, while the crisp graphics and speedy software means your progress through the various menus and widgets is brisk and smooth. However, there are just so many of these menus and widgets, due to the vast array of functionality that the system controls, and that means using the system can be a little bamboozling. That said, the steering wheel has lots of buttons and dials that allow you to bypass many of the touchscreen controls without lifting a hand from the wheel.  

That vast array of functionality includes navigation, DAB radio, Apple Carplay/Android Auto and wireless phone charging. Upgrade to the Vorsprung model, meanwhile, and you also get an upgraded Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with 17 speakers and 730 watts of power. 

Unlike many large SUVs - including the Q7 it’s based on - the Audi Q8 is offered with no more than five seats. That means it won’t be as suitable for families that are large in number, but it’ll be just as good for families that are large in the size of the individuals. 

The front seats have loads of space, and because the Q8 has exactly the same wheelbase measurement as the Q7, there’s just as much rear legroom, which will be plenty for even the gangliest of passengers. 

What’s more, the rear seats slide back and forth, allowing you to dedicate the space available to legroom or luggage, depending on your needs at the time. And, while many slinky, coupe-like SUVs suffer with limited rear headroom due to their swoopy lines, the Q8 suffers no such affliction.

The Audi Q8's boot capacity of 605 litres extends to 680 litres by sliding the rear seats forward. It's a really good size for a style-focused car, if not ultimately as enormous as a Q7’s, but it does compare well with rivals such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe. 

There won’t be many loads that the Q8 can’t carry, and if you need to maximise space, the rear seats fold down in a 40-20-40 split with levers mounted on the sides of the boot. They leave you with a slightly sloped load area because the backrests lie at an angle, but there are no awkward steps and no irritating load lip.

In terms of exterior dimensions, the Audi Q8 is 4986mm long, 1705mm tall and 1995mm wide. It's pretty bulky, then, managing to be wider than the Q7 on which it's based, although it's also shorter and lower. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the Audi Q8 like to drive?

"Every version of the Q8 comes with air suspension as standard, which varies its stiffness according to which of the various driving modes you select. You can individually choose the soft suspension with sportier other settings in the custom function, however. "

Audi Q8 Review 2024: Driving Front Side

Even in Comfort mode, the ride still has a slightly firm edge, so if you’re expecting to waft along like you do in a Q7 or Range Rover, you’ll be disappointed. It doesn't help that the smallest wheel option is 21 inches. Having said that, the ride is still forgiving enough to keep life comfortable on all but the worst surfaces, and at all speeds.

The ride does get appreciably firmer in the sportiest setting, too, and it might prove a bit too much for some drivers. The payoff for that extra firmness is tighter body control through the bends, but to be fair, it’s still pretty tight in Comfort mode, making the Q8 feel impressively nimble for a big SUV. It never completely shakes off its two-tonne bulk, but the standard four-wheel drive gives the car huge grip and traction, and all its responses are consistent and predictable.

Don’t go thinking that four-wheel drive will make the Q8 a Range Rover-beater in the rough stuff, though. It’ll cope with an uneven track or a moderately muddy field, but this is no hardcore off-roader.

Vorsprung versions also get four-wheel steering as standard. At high speeds, this turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts to aid stability, while at low speeds, the rears are moved in the opposite direction to tighten the turning circle. It’s on the latter score where you’ll most see the benefit of this, though, because it does help make manoeuvres easier. 

Only two engines were available in the Q8 at launch, one of which we’ve not yet had the opportunity to try. That’s a 3.0-litre V6 petrol with 340PS, known as the 55 TFSI. The one we have tried is the 50TDI, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 286PS. 

It delivers strong pull from low revs, so the car builds speed in an easy, relaxed manner, and because it's a six-cylinder, there's very little of that diesel grumble you get with smaller units. Press the pedals harder, and it delivers a turn of pace that’s strong enough to see off many hot hatches, let alone fellow luxury SUVs.

Annoyingly, though, the eight-speed automatic gearbox gets in the way of your enjoyment somewhat. Under normal circumstances, it swaps cogs smoothly and cleanly, but when you ask for a sudden burst of acceleration - either when pulling away or picking up speed on the move - the gearbox has to consider its options for a second or two before deciding which gear it wants to give you, and that results in a frustrating pause before anything happens.

We've yet to try the Q8 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid, launched a few years after the Q8 first went on sale. It puts out a healthy 381PS and 600Nm from a 3.0-litre V6 mated to an electric motor, enough for a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds. At 2.4 tonnes it's pretty heavy, though. There was also a Q8 60 TFSI e version, which had a bit more power at 462PS.

Then there are the sporty SQ8 and RSQ8 versions, which are bonkers, frankly. The former was initially powered by a 4.0-litre biturbo V8 diesel engine developing 435PS, allowing the car to cover the 0-62mph dash in 4.8 seconds. In mid-2020, the SQ8's engine was swapped for a 4.0-litre petrol with 507PS, trimming the sprint time down to 4.1 seconds. The RSQ8, meanwhile, turns the wick up to 600PS. Yikes.

You’ll have no complaints in this area. The diesel engine is quiet and cultured most of the time, even when you stick some revs on the dial, and you barely hear it at all once you’ve settled down to a steady motorway cruise. 

Very little vibration is transmitted through to the cabin, too, such is the unit’s smoothness. Perhaps more impressively, the huge tyres don’t even kick up that much road noise at higher speeds. You will hear a slight rustle of wind noise fluttering around the door mirrors at 70mph, but that’s about it.

The Q8 has been smashed to smithereens by the good people of Euro NCAP, and in those crash tests (it wasn’t just for fun), the car achieved the highest five-star rating. That should provide plenty of peace-of-mind. 

All versions get all the usual airbags and electronic aids to maximise traction and stability, and they also get automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and ultra-bright Matrix Beam LED headlights.

Go for the Vorsprung range-topper, and you’ll also get a head-up display, cross traffic alert at both the front and rear (to stop you pulling out in front of oncoming traffic) and a semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control system. Further autonomous features can be found on the options list, along with a wide variety of other stuff. 

MPG and fuel costs: What does an Audi Q8 cost to run?

"According to the official figures, the diesel will give you a maximum average fuel return of 33mpg, while the petrol gives you just 26mpg. "

Audi Q8 Review 2024: Driving rear

Those laboratory figures aren’t too far away from those of rivals, so the Q8 is competitive. Use the prodigious performance on offer on a regular basis, though, and your returns will tumble. 

Things get even worse if you plump for the twin-turbo V8-powered Audi SQ8 or RSQ8, as they both quote economy figures in the low twenties. Using the performance? It'll be into the teens. If you're lucky.

This won’t be a cheap car to run, then, whichever version you choose, but then again, you probably wouldn’t expect it to be. Unless, that is, you choose the TFSI e plug-in hybrid. But there's a big caveat to that. 

Officially you'll get an all electric range of about 28 miles as well as fuel economy of up to 122.8mpg. That sounds great, but you'll only get that if you spend the vast majority of the time in electric mode. Step out of that 28-mile range with a depleted battery, and the economy will quickly start plummeting. 

In the latest Satisfaction Index, Audi finished about halfway down the manufacturer standings for overall satisfaction, but also featured on the list of the ten least reliable manufacturers. That's not a particularly great result, but it's also true that premium rivals including Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche also found themselves on the same list, and in an even worse position.

The sheer complexity of the Audi Q8 means that something is bound to go wrong eventually, but you don't buy a car this expensive without budgeting for the running costs. 

It’s expensive and it’s got big powerful engines, so it’s no surprise that the Q8 will be very expensive to insure. Sure enough, most versions sit in group 50, the priciest group there is, but perhaps the biggest surprise is that some versions actually make it down as low as group 47. 

The Q8 was released in 2018, after the CO2-based tax system was swapped for a flat rate for all petrol and diesel cars in 2017. That means you'll pay the same rate as most other cars despite astronomical emissions, and that flat rate currently stands at £190.

Before you start turning cartwheels, though, bear in mind that all Q8s ever built cost more than £40,000 when brand new, so all will be liable for the luxury car surcharge. This adds an additional £390 to your annual tax bill for a temporary five-year period between years two and six of your car's life.

How much should you be paying for a used Audi Q8?

"The Audi Q8 holds onto its value pretty well for a big car such as this. Buying new in 2024? you'll need at least £76,000."

Audi Q8 Review 2024: Driving Side

Prices rise steeply as you progress up the range, and by the time you get to the high-performance S and RS models, you'll be looking at prices of a hundred grand and more. Okay, so all this isn't entirely surprising given that the Q8 is Audi's flagship SUV, but nevertheless, you'll need deep pocket to buy and run one.

Plainly, you'll get much more for your money with a used example, where depreciation has had plenty of time to do its thing. The cheapest examples on the heycar classifieds check in at around £35,000, and these are early diesels in S line trim with around 60,000 miles under their wheels. The 55 TFSI petrols start at more like £50,000.

The entry-level Audi Q8 S Line comes with dual-zone climate control, air suspension, leather seats with front seat heating, cruise control, LED ambient lighting, keyless start, privacy class and an electric tailgate, not to mention the full infotainment system and a suite of safety assist tech. 

The mid-spec Audi Q8 Black Edition is more style-focused and brings 22-inch wheels, a black exterior styling pack replacing the chrome, and polished oak dashboard trim. You also get four-zone climate control and a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel. 

Upgrade to the flagship Audi Q8 Vorsprung, and you'll add a whole heap of kit including power-closing doors, four-wheel steering, a panoramic sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, ventilated front seats with a massage function, heated rear seats, the extended leather pack, and much more. 

Sporadically, Audi also offered various special editions of the car - usually positioned somewhere between Black Edition and Vorsprung trims - that some introduced additional kit for a comparatively low price.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

No. It’s dramatically sloped roofline means that anyone sat in a third row of seats would lose their heads every time you close the boot, so the Q8 is a strict five-seater with a large boot.
The bigger the number, the larger the car right? Not so, at least in the case of the Q8, which is actually a bit shorter (and 40 millimetres lower) than the cheaper Q7 seven-seater SUV. it is wider, though.
The Audi Q8's svelte design does hamper practicality, since the boot is shallower and smaller than you get on the Q7, but capacity is still decent, with 605 litres of space with five seats in place, extending to 680 litres with them slid forward. If you fold the seats then this extends out to 1,755 litres, which is more than its German rivals.

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