The 2020 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. Built on the same platform that underpins the Q7, along with the rest of the VW Group‘s big SUVs from the Volkswagen Touareg to the Lamborghini Urus, the Q8 only seats five, doing away with the Q7’s third row and adding a more stylish roofline instead.
The Q8 is undoubtedly stylish but doesn’t quite mimic the "4-door coupe" silhouette of upscale 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-in wheels.
Back before the crossover era, a buyer seeking the best of the best would have probably considered a Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan or an Audi A8. That Audi now presents the Q8 as its flagship passenger car is yet another sign of the SUV takeover.
What’s New for 2020?
After making its debut as an all-new model for 2019, the Q8 gets some small changes for 2020. The Premium trim now comes standard with automatic high beams, lane-departure warning and an alarm. A Black optic package is now available as well for the Premium model. Premium Plus and Prestige models are available with an S Line package that comes with 21-in wheels and more aggressive styling elements all around. A version of the Black Optic package can be added to the S Line package as well. Prestige models equipped with the Luxury package now come with more leather-wrapped surfaces and an air purification system with different fragrance options. See the 2020 Audi Q8 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Great interior refinement
- Smooth ride
- Shares its platform with the Lamborghini Urus
What We Don’t
- Tough value proposition — not as practical as a Q7 but more expensive
- Active safety features are limited to upper trims
- $70k usually gets you more than 335 horsepower
The Q8 comes with a forward-looking drivetrain. The basic component is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. This is augmented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system running off of a lithium-ion battery that recharged as the vehicle drives along. That battery powers 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 after initial takeoff.
On the subject of muscle, the Q8 has 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque (coming in at a really low 1,370 rpm). This power is sent to all four-wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption 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 it’s on par with most other large luxury SUVs. The Q8 runs on premium fuel.
The Q8’s maximum tow rating is pretty impressive at 7,700 pounds.
Standard Features and Options
The 5-passenger 2020 Audi Q8 large luxury SUV comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
The Premium ($69,195) starts out with 20-in 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, automatic high beams, lane-departure 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.
A Black optic package is also available for the Premium trim.
The Premium Plus ($73,195) adds four-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, ambient interior lighting and illuminated aluminum door sill inlays.
The Prestige ($78,695) 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.
A Luxury package available for the Prestige model comes with Valcona leather seats, more leather covering additional parts of the interior, 18-way heated and ventilated front seats, an Alcantara headliner, dual-pane acoustic glass and an air purification system with different fragrances.
All versions may be ordered with a Cold Weather package, bringing a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. A trailer hitch, wood inlays, extended leather surfaces, a CD/DVD player and rear side airbags are all on the Q8 range’s options list.
Premium Plus and Prestige models are available with an S Line package that comes with 21-in wheels and more aggressive styling elements all around. A version of the Black Optic package can be added to the S Line package as well.
Premium Plus and Prestige are also 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 make its case for the 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-folding rear seats measures 30.5 cu ft., expanding to 60.7 cu ft. when they’re folded down.
The Q8 has been crash-tested by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 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.
Available active safety features include standard front and rear collision warning, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning and front and rear parking sensors. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and exit assist, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and traffic sign recognition are also offered but in some cases are limited to higher-spec models.
Behind the Wheel
The Q8 exudes elegance and sophistication. The dashboard is wide and dominated by screens — three, in fact, one each for the gauge cluster, infotainment system and vehicle controls.
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.
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.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Porsche Cayenne — The Cayenne was all-new 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 — This 567-hp beast offers top performance in a curvy attractive shape. Space is somewhat compromised due to the sloping rear roofline, but it’ll make taking the kids to school an absolute delight.
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, the temptation will be there to go the whole way and take home the Prestige model with these features and more already included. Either way, the Q8 is another well-rounded large premium luxury SUV, and the fact that it occupies a space at the top of Audi’s lineup is a sign of the changing times. We are in the era of the SUV. Find an Audi Q8 for sale