The 2019 Audi Q8 is a midsize premium SUV that takes the idea of luxury away from the usual preconceived idea of space and more into the realm of exclusivity. Based on the Q7, the Q8 only seats five, doing away with the Q7’s third row and adding a more stylish roofline instead.
More stylish, but not so drastic as the “4-door coupe” crossovers from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The point of the Q8 is that it’s not really intended for the school run, soccer practice or family road trips. It’s too nice for that.
The Q8’s styling features a new SUV design language from Audi. The octagonal grille and large front air intakes are responsible for much of the vehicle’s assertive presence. And even the least expensive version comes with 20-inch wheels.
What’s New for 2019?
It’s all new. The Q8 is an entirely fresh model making its debut for this model year. See the 2019 Audi Q8 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Superb quality
- Refined ride
- Ample standard equipment
- Highly stylish
What We Don’t
- Not as practical as a Q7, but more expensive
What it does is power the engine stop/start feature, smoothing out the re-start action. It also reduces the need for belts that drive things like water pumps, thereby cutting parasitic power losses. And it enables the engine to deliver more of its muscle sooner.
On the subject of muscle, the Q8 has 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque (coming in at a really low 1,370 rpm). This goes to all four wheels (Audi’s quattro system) through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption (of premium gasoline) at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in combined driving. That’s not particularly great for something with hybrid-like hardware, but at least the Q8 does not qualify for the gas guzzler tax.
Maximum tow rating is 7,700 pounds.
Standard Features and Options
The 5-seater 2019 Audi Q8 large luxury SUV comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
The Premium ($68,395) starts out with 20-inch alloy wheels, full LED exterior lighting, a powered lift gate, roof rails, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic sunroof with a powered sunshade, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering column, selectable driving modes, heated front seats, power-adjustable front seats (driver: 8-way, passenger: 4-way), front/rear parking sensors, forward and rear collision warning, a garage door opener, a 12.3-in Virtual Cockpit driver display, navigation, dual infotainment touchscreens (a 10.1-in upper screen, an 8.6-in lower screen with handwriting recognition), Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, four USB ports, Bluetooth, HD/satellite radio, and a 10-speaker/180-watt audio system.
This model is eligible for 21-in alloy wheels and a Convenience package that contains blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and vehicle exit alert, wireless charging, phone signal booster, and self-dimming side mirrors. All this equipment is standard in the Premium Plus model.
The Premium Plus ($72,395) adds quad-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather seating surfaces, heated/ventilated/12-way power-adjustable front seats, a Bang & Olufsen 17-speaker/730-watt audio system, keyless entry/ignition/hands-free lift gate release, a top-view camera system with a virtual 360-degree view, automatic high beams, ambient interior lighting, and illuminated aluminum door sill inlays.
The Prestige ($77,545) comes with HD Matrix-design LED headlights with animation and washers, LED taillights with animation, powered soft-closing doors, leather-covered dashboard with contrasting stitching, rear side window sunshades, aluminum-look controls, head-up display, adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam/Intersection/Turn Assist, active lane assistant, and road sign recognition.
All versions may be ordered with a Cold Weather package, bringing a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. Rear side airbags, a trailer hitch, wood inlays, and a CD/DVD player are all on the Q8 range’s options list.
Premium Plus and Prestige are eligible for 22-in alloy wheels, an adaptive air suspension system, rear-wheel steering, red-painted brake calipers, summer performance tires, and a full leather package.
Premium Plus buyers may also choose the upgraded lighting and extra driver assistance features found in the Prestige model. To spend more money on a Prestige model, Audi offers higher-quality leather, massaging 18-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-pane acoustic glass, night vision with large animal/pedestrian detection, and a 23-speaker/1,920-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Cargo space behind the sliding and reclining 40/20/40 split/fold rear seats measures 30.5 cu ft., expanding to 60.7 cu ft. when they’re folded down.
Unusually for high-priced luxury imports, the 2019 Q8 has already been crash-tested by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both agencies give the Q8 their top scores, but there is a catch. The IIHS only makes the Q8 a Top Safety Pick when the HD Matrix-design LED headlights are fitted.
Behind the Wheel
If it matters to drivers of large luxury crossovers, the Q8 can sprint from 0-to-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is pretty darn quick. Especially for something weighing around 5,000 pounds.
Although the Q8 offers an optional air suspension, the standard setup is still adaptive and controls the body through quick corners to combat any excessive leaning, while also absorbing the punishment dished out by bad road surfaces. Out of the driving modes, Sport is the most pleasantly responsive, and would be our choice for 95% of the time spent in the Q8’s well-shaped and well-cushioned driver’s seat.
The optional air suspension brings 10 inches of ground clearance. In this off-road mode, the Q8 will engage hill descent control if necessary and adjust the traction/stability control automatically.
Not as coupe-like as a BMW X6, but not a conventional SUV either, the Q8 can accommodate three adults in the back seat. Up front is a spacious area enlivened by technology and great design.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Porsche Cayenne — Another all-new generation for 2019. If a highly exclusive SUV is required, it doesn’t get much better than a Porsche. Not surprising, perhaps, Porsche is now making a Cayenne Coupe.
Used BMW X6 M — Sure, its appeal is limited, but this 567-hp beast has incredible driving talents and it’s definitely not destined, nor designed for, the school run.
The rational thing would be to recommend the Premium Plus version and then spend extra on the optional driver aids, along with whatever else might seem like a good idea at the time. But if a buyer is already considering something this pricey and, well, prestigious, then why not go the whole way and take home the Prestige model with the features already included? Find an Audi Q8 for sale