With a three-row, seven-passenger SUV in the lineup, an automaker’s gone just about as far as it can go. Audi got there more than a decade ago with Q7, the hulking utility model that kicks off around $50,000.
Yet there’s plenty of space for a German luxury brand to maneuver, and not just in the electric vehicle segment, where Audi will soon be. That appears to be the thinking behind the Q8, an all-new, five-seat SUV coming for the 2019 model year. Mercedes-Benz certainly has one.
With a focus on design, tech, and performance, this model will outdo any other SUV Audi has on the market (and cost more, too). Here’s everything you need to know about the Q8.
1. Heavy on performance
While the Q8 will get a diesel powertrain overseas, the U.S. model features a new V6 from Audi that produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. That setup gets the Q8 to 60 miles per hour in just 5.6 seconds, the automaker said.
That’s only a few ticks slower than the performance version of the Q5, while staying ahead of the larger Q7 when equipped with a V6.
2. Standard mild hybrid with AWD
The first thing that caught our attention with the Q8 was the fuel economy listed in European press releases. Using a mild hybrid/diesel system, Audi said this model could achieve 35 mpg combined — quite a figure for a vehicle of this size and power.
U.S. consumers will get the mild hybrid system standard, but combined with the gas-powered V6 we expect the mpg to be lower. All-wheel drive also comes standard.
3. Audi’s new SUV styling
You hear automakers often boast about a new design language and how “aggressive” a debut model is, but the Q8 is actually worthy of the hype. The coupe-like styling instantly differentiates itself from the duller SUVs in Audi’s lineup.
An octagonal grille, standard LED lights, and wheels ranging from 20-22 inches help push the envelope. You’ll find lots of chrome highlights in the standard model, while a Year One blacked-out appearance package looks more menacing. (Note the red brake calipers above.)
4. Interior design and tech
The Q8 isn’t the only Audi turning heads in fall 2018. An electric SUV dubbed e-tron also made its debut in September, and it features a new type of styling and the latest in tech from the four-ring brand.
Inside, that means a 10-inch upper display touchscreen for infotainment and navigation above an 8.6-inch display for climate control and other functions. At the wheel, a three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters, 12-inch digital instrument cluster, and three-zone automatic climate control let drivers settle in for the ride.
A standard sunroof and leather seats with eight-way power adjustments and four-wheel power lumbar also come in every Q8. Audi pre sense city, which detects vehicles and people in the roadway and react at speeds up to 52 mph, is another standard function.
However, many of the advanced safety features you’ll find in 2019 models will only be available as options on the Q8. That might surprise you when you look at the price list.
The 2019 Q8 will debut with three trims at the following starting prices:
- Premium ($67,400)
- Premium Plus ($71,400)
- Prestige ($76,550)
If you go by Audi’s gas lineup alone, that makes the Q8 the most expensive utility model the brand offers. (The Audi e-tron all-electric SUV starts at $74,800.) Prestige buyers get everything from a standard head-up display (HUD) and 21-inch wheels to inductive phone charging via the Q8 antenna.
The release date of the Q8, as well as EPA estimates and safety ratings, will follow later in 2018.
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