Driving report: Audi Q8 50 TDI Quattro
On the road to success
Audi is redesigning its successful luxury SUV Q8 and no one really sees it. The headlights, aprons and the standard equipment have been reworked, while the drives remain largely the same.
With the refreshed Audi Q8 of 2024, it is primarily the technology that makes the music. The new LED headlights screen out oncoming traffic a little more precisely than before and finally, if desired, there is the laser light that some have missed for the very dark night. The fact that the customer now has the opportunity to easily influence the lighting design at the front and rear using touchscreen settings is unlikely to be of any interest. It’s more important that the aprons have become a bit more distinctive all around – Audi’s flagship SUV was valuable anyway. It’s nice that the Q8 rolls into the customer’s driveway not only looking more stylish, but also better equipped. Not only do new interior applications and a revised instrument display shine ex works, but also the obligatory stylish 21-inch model, reversing camera, parking assistant and keyless entry.
Quite surprising: the engine range of the Audi Q8 remains unchanged due to the facelift: 45 TDI with 232 hp, 50 TDI with 286 hp, 55 TFSi with 340 hp (all three-liter V6 units, the first two diesel) and the SQ8 with 507 hp (four-liter V8), which always work in combination with the eight-speed automatic transmission. With the exception of the top model SQ8, all engines are mild hybrids and use a small electric motor with 12 kW / 16 HP along with a 48-volt network to start the combustion engine silently and efficiently and to provide additional thrust if necessary. This not only brings more drive at low speeds, but also a real fuel consumption that is around half a liter lower per 100 kilometers. Efficient: between 55 and 160 km/h the Q8 can roll with the engine switched off for up to 40 seconds when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator and above 22 km/h the engine switches off anyway. It will only be with a delay that the popular plug-in hybrids will see the facelift next year. It can be assumed that these will increase their electric range significantly in the tough competitive environment. 100 kilometers should be the right target size here.
What remains is the convincing chassis package of the Audi Q8 with standard air suspension, which can optionally be expanded to include rear-axle steering, which is standard on the SQ8. This allows the ground clearance to be varied in height from 22 centimeters by up to nine centimeters, depending on the driving program and the pilot’s wishes. The SQ8 sports version offers further dynamics with an electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle, active stabilizers and stately 22-inch wheels. The variable chassis does an excellent job on any surface, as it impresses when driving quickly on country roads or motorways as well as on loose surfaces with gravel and rubble. The air spring cushions almost everything that gets in the way of the four wheels and guarantees relaxed travel for the occupants. However, the Audi Q8 50 TDI has a small problem even after its revision: the individual driving modes hardly differ noticeably from one another – but they are just as pleasing as the overall concept with the variable all-wheel drive, powerful brakes and steering that provides good feedback from the road . Only in sport mode does it seem too smooth, especially when driving briskly.
What all versions have in common is the generous amount of space, although the 4.99 meter long Audi Q8 continues to be deprived of the luxurious option of a 2+2 seater with two individual seats in the rear. The increased comfort requirements are met solely by the excellent workmanship and extensive air conditioning and adjustment options. Also great: the noise insulation is impressive, not just because of the double glazing, so you can have a quiet conversation even at high speeds.
The three-liter diesel (from 89,700 euros) with its 210 kW / 286 hp and 600 Nm is no longer as impressive as when it was first introduced, but is still an excellent choice because the six-cylinder combines a lot of drive with good real consumption, while the The eight-speed automatic does the switching work discreetly in the background. On special request, the 2.2-ton all-wheel-drive behemoth can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in six seconds. Probably more important for mile-eaters: the top speed of 241 km/h and a standard consumption of 8.2 liters of diesel. With the 85-liter tank, you can travel up to 1,000 kilometers until your next visit to the gas station.