Audi Q8 50 quattro S

Line Vorsprung

Audi Q8, 2018, front
Audi Q8, 2018, nose
Audi Q8, 2018, front, static
Audi Q8, 2018, side
Audi Q8, 2018, side, static
Audi Q8, 2018, rear
Audi Q8, 2018, rear, static
Audi Q8, 2018, interior
Audi Q8, 2018, dashboard

BIG, bold and anything but bland, the Audi Q7 burst on to the motoring scene 13 years ago.

Now in its second generation, it was joined last year by another blockbuster, the Q8.

A sort of five-door coupe version of the original sibling, the Q8 is in fact even wider though and, in keeping with its more sporty nature, lower and slightly shorter.

At more than seven feet wide, its dimensions spelled trouble for me during my tenure of the car. I had rented a holiday cottage and hadn't realised the entry to the drive was made for more modest sized vehicles.

Only by contracting the door mirrors could the Q8 negotiate the resilient stone gate posts. Lots of gasps of breath and crossed fingers then...

A big car requires a big engine, but don't be fooled by the Audi's designation. The 50 TDI is powered not by a 5.0-litre, as you might expect, but by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel. It is, however, more than enough to give the five-seater gutsy ample punch allied to pretty miserly thirst.

With 286bhp under the bonnet coupled to a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, it melds strong performance with all-weather mud or snow lugging ability. All-wheel steer on the flagship Vorsprung version, driven here, adds to the security even if it does little to increase the car's intuitive communication capability.

Floor the accelerator and 62mph comes up in a respectable 6.3 seconds. With the legal limit only a whisper away, the Q8 is calm, unflustered and library quiet. Refinement is exemplary with barely a murmur from the V6 diesel while wind noise a far away memory.

Although it's too big and weighty to regard or treat as a true sports car, hustling it through bends and pegging it on the straights remains fun and feels quite appropriate.

Despite the sloping back and racy styling, there are bags of room for both passengers and luggage. The rear seats split and fold to make extra cargo space.

The ride is good, better in fact than most Audis, with well controlled roll and little sign of slow speed choppiness that affects many large SUVs. Even with the huge 21-inch alloys fitted to the S Line version few bumps or ruts were transmitted back, partly thanks to the excellent air suspension.

It's hardly surprising that with a price tag of nearly £85,000, the Audi's cabin is a place of luxury and comfort. Indeed, together with sumptuous leather seating, touchscreens and the latest in tech, you are cosseted and nursed through every mile.

The flat-bottomed, leather clad steering wheel with electronic adjustment falls easily to hand and the virtual cockpit fills the screen directly in front of the driver. Heads-up display ensures you are well informed without taking your eye off the road.

While there are plenty of stowage place around the cabin, the central bin could do with being bigger and the door pockets are a tad narrow for bulky items or even sunglasses.

FAST FACTS

Audi Q8 50 quattro S Line Vorsprung

Price: £83,040

Mechanical:286bhp, 2,998cc, 6cyl dieselengine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 144mph

0-62mph: 6.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 41.5

Insurance Group: 47

C02 emissions: 178g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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