Turbodiesel economy makes Q8 the complete all-rounder

Some people refer to cars like this as tortoises on stilts. The tortoise bit of course coming from its coupe-like shape. The stilts from its SUV nature. Still, coupé-SUVs certainly have become all the rage of late. Audi was a bit of a late starter. First came the Q2. Then this.


Q8 defies its bulk — you may be surprised that it shares its heart with Q7. The Seven is a little longer, narrower and shorter. The Eight gets a coupe roofline, less overhang front and rear, and A8 luxury. Styling cues are straight off a 2017 Audi concept. Those striking headlamps are auto-dimming HD Matrix LEDs with range control and an animated dynamic turn signal.

The taillights are similarly ‘animated’. Whether seen from a distance or viewed close up, they’re funky. And it’s rounded off by a cool set of cool 20-inch alloys.

At 5 meters long, 2 meters wide and 1.71 meters tall, the Q8 sits on a 3-metre wheelbase to deliver a vast driving space. The beautifully detailed cabin likewise takes cues from the A8 saloon. Despite its sloping roof, Q8 promises room for tall adults in the back seats. Boot space drops a tad.


One of the first Audis to adapt haptic feedback in its Audi virtual cockpit, It still steals the show inside. There are various ways to control it via buttons on the adjustable leather paddle-shifting electromechanical power multi-function steering wheel, voice control or haptic touch.

Haptics answer most of our questions about touch operation. Run your finger over the screen to find to what you’re looking for. Then prod harder. Click-clic, it’s done. That eliminates the challenge of a complete lack of control over less sophisticated touch screens while driving on bumpy roads. It fails to address the aggravation of the smudged screen though.

Q8 has a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, Parking aid Plus with 360° surround view cameras and even a tyre pressure monitoring system and so much more, There;s also Bluetooth and all the other device interfaces, a rear cabin music control. Add speed limiter cruise control, four-zone air conditioning, folding and heated wing mirrors; cool ambient lighting by night power and panoramic glass sunroof in the day.

This 45 TDI packs a 183kW 600Nm 3-litre turbodiesel V6 turning an 8-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive complete with a self-locking centre differential. Add four-wheel steering and optional air suspension. Mild hybridisation brings regenerative braking.


For the rest, Q8 45 TFSI is an absolute pleasure to live with. It’s a class act from end to end. Beautifully styled outside and in, it’s a most capable, contemporary, modern executive family transport solution. It goes well too, easily matching Audi’s performance claims in our tests and matching or most rivals..

Perhaps this turbodiesel’s biggest advantage is its thrift versus its petrol TFSI sibling. That adds a neat competitive advantage to an already brilliant package. As an all-round upper class sport-ute, the Audi Q8 45 TDI has very little going against it.

It’s our favourite in the Audi SUV range right now, no matter what anyone says about turbodiesel propulsion. — Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Audi Q8 45 TDI quattro
Engine: 183kW 600Nm 3-litre turbodiesel V6
Drive: 8-speed automatic AWD
0-60km/h:          2.80 sec
0-100km/h:         6.65 sec
0-160km/h:         17.85 sec
400m:              14.7 sec @ 148km/h
80-120km/h:        5.02 sec
120-160km/h:       8.36 sec
VMax:              220km/h
Fuel:              7.8l/100km
CO2:               207g/km
Warranty/Service:  1y Unl/5y 100Kkm
LIST PRICE:        R1.57M
RATED:             8

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