15 Feb 2019
AUDI took a dozen years to respond to the original BMW X6 threat, but finally did so with the F1-series Q8.
Based on the MLB Evo platform that also underpinned the second-gen Audi Q7, the monocoque-constructed Q8 was also related to the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne III and Volkswagen Touareg III in the Volkswagen Group’s SUV/crossover stables, as well as the Audi A8 limousine, A7 Sportback, A6, A5 and A4 passenger cars.
Note, though, that compared to the Q7, the Q8 was 66mm shorter, 27mm wider and 38mm lower, with no body panels in common, and with only five seats.
Out in early 2019, it brought Audi’s then-fresh SUV design language, characterised by an octagonal variation of the brand’s ‘Single Frame’ grille, full-strip taillights and high-gloss black back panel.
Only one model was available from launch – a 55 TFSI quattro powered by a 3.0-litre direct injection V6 turbo petrol, delivering 250kW and 500Nm. An eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission drove all four wheels.
The Q8 was also the first Audi SUV to adopt mild hybrid tech in the form of a 48-volt belt alternator starter for the 48-volt main electrical system. It used much aluminium as well as ultra-high-strength steels to help save weight, but still tipped the scales at a portly 2145kg – due in no small part by the lithium-ion battery pack that helped the 48V mild-hybrid system.
While the regular chassis consisted of a five-link rear suspension layout with steel springs, more money brought air suspension with up to 90mm ride-height variability. Buyers could also order an all-wheel steering system.
A 50 TDI quattro V6 turbo-diesel launched in the latter half of 2019.