AUDI has a new all-singing, all-dancing luxury SUV and it comes gold-wrapped for any special occasion. It's called the Q8 and its guaranteed to turn heads wherever it passes.
At present there are just two versions, both powered by a 286ps 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
There is a Vorsprung edition or the S line, which we tried, and it's priced at Â£63,115 - or rather Â£85,565 with all the trimmings added, this Q8 was delivered in a dazzling Dragon Orange colour that could possibly be spotted from the moon.
You would think that the Q8 would be bigger and brassier than the Q7, but in fact it's 66mm shorter in length. But it is 27mm wider and 35mm lower and that gives the Q8 its sportier, more dynamic appearance. It is also only available as a five-seater whereas the Q7 can cater for seven.
But this is the model that really turns on the style. It resembles a super-sleek coupe that's been beefed up to SUV proportions.
Eye-catching features include a large black grille housing the Audi rings, sweeping light clusters with HD Matrix LED headlights, including dynamic front and rear indicators. There is privacy glass, twin tailpipes and 22-inch anthracite black alloy wheels.
The Dragon Orange paintwork completed the look and is one of six metallic finishes customers can choose from, along with solid and pearl effect options.
Move inside and it's like stepping into a luxurious cabin fitted out with the finest materials and every creature comfort you could possibly wish for.
The Valcona leather seats have a quilted effect that oozes class and there is a wealth of technology at your fingertips.
Gone are the bulky switches and levers to control the likes of the air conditioning, navigation or on-board systems. In their place are two intuitive touchscreens that are simple to navigate on the move thanks to the haptic click feel to the controls.
And the Q8 features Audi's excellent 12.3-inch virtual cockpit instrumentation screen behind the steering wheel that can be configurated to display navigation instructions, music options, phone contacts and of course speed, revs and other read-outs.
Techno treats were plentiful on our car with the likes of a head-up display, a pitch perfect Bang and Olufsen premium sound system, four-zone deluxe climate control, soft-close doors, a 360-degree camera, a multi-coloured LED interior lighting pack, heated seats and a whole lot more besides.
When it comes to performance, the Q8 is a car that is adorning the ‘8' badge alongside fellow flagship models the A8 and R8, so it needs to be able to hold its own. And it does.
The 0-62mph sprint time is just 6.3 seconds and it tops out at 152mph. When it comes to economy, the Q8 is assisted by a rather clever 48-volt mild hybrid set-up that basically allows for coasting off-throttle. The result is a combined fuel efficiency figure of 41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 178g/km (on 22-inch wheels).
The Q8 feels beautifully poised and balanced when being driven. It's a car that's as happy eating up the motorway miles as it is whizzing along the twisting country lanes where the road holding is excellent and any sign of body sway is barely noticeable even when pushed hard into bends. Our car was fitted with all-wheel steering which aids with agility on the open road.
The automatic box is finely tuned and the steering wheel mounted paddles offer extra control over the gear changes if required. Different driving modes called Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual alter the car's handling.
Any SUV needs to be practical and while the Q8 is not so versatile as its Q7 sibling, it still offers plenty in the way of space and convenience. There is bags of room in the back for two adults to travel in style, but a third passenger would have to position their feet each side of a raised central tunnel.
Storage options are thorough. The sharp raked design at the rear end of the car means the boot capacity of 605 litres is less than the Q7 but it's still large enough to carry the luggage for family holidays or golf bags with trolleys. The 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats can be folded to increase the capacity further and the powered boot opening is a bonus when laden down with shopping bags.
And there are plenty of storage compartments throughout the Q8 to hide away goodies, such as the lockable glovebox, central box with wireless charger along with two of the car's four USB ports and a SIM and SD slot. There are also deep door bins, cup holders and pockets in the backs of the front seats.
As one would expect, the Q8 is packed with safety features and driver aids to protect occupants and pedestrians alike as well as helping to prevent accidents from occurring. Of course, the highly respected Audi quattro AWD system will keep you moving when driving during adverse weather conditions.