The Q7 firmly held the position of being Audi’s flagship offering ever since its launch in 2005. But, in recent years, it had started to feel a bit too, dare I say it, familiar. A flagship has to be a bit more assertive… something exceptional, an assault on the commonplace. Enter, the Audi Q8. The fact that it’s a coupe-SUV is half the battle won. Unlike a lot of other cars, the Q8 is a harmonious blend of an SUV body and a coupe-like roofline. It has the most coherent design of all coupe-SUVs on sale today. The quality and fit-and-finish are top-notch as well. Like most other coupe-SUVs, however, the Q8 does fall behind in terms of practicality, but to be fair it’s a compromise that its customers are willing to make. Being a 5-seater, there’s ample legroom and knee room for rear-seat occupants, and, surprisingly, headroom is adequate too.
Under the hood, the Audi Q8 packs a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-petrol motor, which delivers 335bhp and 500Nm. With nearly 5 metres of length and 2 tonnes of weight, the Q8 is quite hefty, but you hardly feel it while pushing it around the track. At the BIC, the Q8’s lap time was a surprising 1 minute, 11.5 seconds – third fastest of all the cars we tested this year. Another aspect of the powertrain that really impressed us was the refinement. The engine is incredibly silent, whether at idle or at higher revs. It’s something that really adds to its already plush driving experience. The ZF-sourced 8-speed transmission is seamless and almost telepathic in the way it shifts through the gears.
While the Q8 does almost everything right, it loses points in the value for money department. At ₹1.33 crore before customisations and options, the Q8 is a very expensive proposition (the Q8 Celebration, introduced for just under a crore, was launched after our scoring was complete). So, the Q8 scores everywhere – on presence, attitude and driving dynamics, but it is very much a niche within a niche.