Being the top-tier SUV in Audi’s range, the interior of the Audi Q8 draws from the same high-tech elements that feature in both the A8
. The result is a dashboard that is almost devoid of physical buttons, instead utilising digital touchscreens where possible. The high-gloss black dashboard features a 10.1-inch screen at its centre, below which lies a secondary 8.6-inch display for adjusting climate and seat settings. When turned off, these screens partially blend into that black dashboard surface, complementing what is already a very clean design. Using all this stuff does take some getting used to, but considering the amount of functionality it controls, and how complex these functions are, it’s a fairly intuitive system to use. Now a familiar sight in most Audis, the instrument cluster is a 12.3-inch configurable display, and there’s a sizeable head-up display also available. Importantly, the cabin also features materials that are of incredibly high quality that make the car feel incredibly posh and maintain Audi’s reputation for delivering some of the very best interiors in the business.
It may be the sporty SUV of the line-up, but the Audi Q8 isn’t short of practicality. Unlike the Q7, the Q8 is only a five-seater, but the car’s long wheelbase results in good rear passenger legroom, even for whoever has to sit in the middle seat. The glovebox is massive, too.
The boot can carry a generous 605 litres of luggage, which can swell to 1,755 litres when the rear seatbacks are folded down. Those seatbacks don't quite sit perfectly flat, but there's only a gentle slope to negotiate. The boot also has an electrically operated tailgate, while the wide opening and low load lip also help make it easy to load. For those that tow, the Q8 will be available with a useful Trailer Assist function. This takes all the hassle out of reversing when hitched up to a trailer, and it’s quick and easy to operate via the dashboard’s dual-screen setup.
The Q8 comes with standard air suspension that varies its stiffness and its ride height, according to which of the various driving modes you select. Even when set to the most forgiving ‘Comfort’ mode, the ride still has a slightly firm edge, so it doesn’t feel as wafty as you might expect. However, it’s still compliant enough to keep you comfortable on most surfaces, and at most speeds. Select the sportiest mode, though, and we think it might be too harsh for some buyers. Yes, this mode does make the handling sharper thanks to marginally better suppression of body roll, but even in Comfort mode, the Q8 feels impressively sharp for a big, heavy SUV, so you’re best off just sticking in that mode.
There’s also an all-wheel-steering system that’s optional on S line and Edition 1 cars and standard on Vorsprung models, and this helps agility further - as well as making for more stable high-speed lane-changes - by turning the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts. However, the benefit of the system is more noticeable at low speeds, where the front and rear wheels are turned in different directions to improve low-speed manoeuvrability and tighten up the turning circle.
Four-wheel drive is standard fit, and the car’s off-roading credentials are further helped by short overhangs and suspension that can raise the car’s ride height, and as a result, improve ground clearance. Don’t go thinking that the Q8 is some accomplished mud-plugger, though, as it’ll only ever be suitable for very minor off-road work.