Audi Q8 55 TFSI review: Wheels spin

An evergreen carpark of rides at Wheels HQ gives us the perfect opportunity to take our readers for a quick spin. Short, sharp and to the point, Wheels spin is the quick read you need to get to know a car.

audi q8

What’s in the garage?

The Q8 is Audi’s take on the ‘sporty’ SUV. Yet, the four-ringed example isn’t form over function given its Q7-based origins. It remains practical while adding a bit of design flair. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no doubting the Q8 cuts a striking silhouette. Power comes from a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol with 250kW and 500Nm. The 55 TFSI is currently the only model on offer until the sportier, diesel-powered SQ8 lobs Down Under.

audi q8

The base price is $128,900, but our test car is fitted with $9950 in options to bring the total to $138,850. The options include metallic paint ($2300), Audi exclusive black exterior styling package ($1850), interior inlays in Oak $400, electric steering column adjustment ($900) and the Dynamic steering package ($4500).

What we reckon

Trent Giunco
Staff Journalist

I can see the sense in the Q8… kind of. It plays the happy medium between sloping rooflines and SUV practicality well. Audi’s take on the formula works because it’s still functional and able to seat five comfortably. The powertrain and dynamics are impressive, but until the true performance variant lobs (SQ8), I’d prefer the serene nature of the base Q7. And it’s cheaper. Maybe coupe-esque SUVs just aren’t my thing.


Alex Rae
Online Editor

It’s a capable thing for an SUV but for nearly the same amount of money as this test unit I’d be shopping for the RS4 avant, which is just about the practical performance pinnacle in Audi’s stable. For an SUV, though, it’s a sharp steer and the engine has a lot of poke behind it. And the interior will impress many with the technology built around it, despite the overall design lacking a bit of warm character.


Power and performance:

The Q8 is surprisingly fast… for a 2095kg SUV. Audi quotes 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds, however, we recorded a time of 5.7sec. It’s a tractable engine with a linear power delivery. There’s ample grunt for overtaking and the boosted 3.0-litre remains hushed at cruising speeds.

2019 Audi Q8

It can feel a little strained when you call for swift acceleration, but it ultimately does the numbers against the stopwatch and can be easily motivated in overtaking situations. The eight-speed ZF auto helps the process by being smooth and intuitive, although there’s little need to use the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Traction is never an issue as the Q8 features quattro permanent all-wheel drive with a self-locking differential.

Combined fuel economy is 9.2L/100km, which is some way off the diesel-powered Q7, but commendable for a heavy, petrol-powered SUV. An intuitive start/stop system aids consumption.

2019 Audi Q8

Ride and handling:

Dynamically, the Q8 is impressive and it deals with its dimensions and mass with aplomb. The ride quality is firm, but far from uncomfortable. The Q8’s standard adaptive dampers do a good job of controlling large undulations, but the big wheels and tight suspension tune can’t completely quell all road imperfections. Comfort mode proves the better option in most conditions and it results in only a slight decrease in body control.

2019 Audi Q8

Fitted with the optional Dynamic steering ($4500), the package includes a variable-ratio rack up front, while also adding turn to the rear axle. At lower speeds the turning circle is reduced by approximately 1.1m, while greater stability is offered as the velocity increases. The net result is an SUV with better turn, one that feels demonstrably smaller and more agile than its size would suggest. The Q8 handles changes of direction well and feels agile.

2019 Audi Q8

Interior and Comfort:

Screens – lots of screens. The Q8 essentially takes most of the A8 cabin and places it in the SUV body. The design is minimalist and cohesive with few discernible style elements. Build quality is palpable, but there’s a slight lack of visual wow factor given the almost $140K ask. Ergonomics are sound, but some might find the tech overload daunting at first.

audi q8

Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit remains a highlight and it’s now accompanied by two touchscreens. Knobs and controls are largely a thing of the past in this cabin. Above sits a large 10.1-inch display for the MMI infotainment system (with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), while the lower 8.6-inch screen handles things like climate control. Both utilise acoustic and haptic feedback – so you need a little more force than a normal touch screen and the process can take your eyes off the road.

audi q8

Interior space is abundant despite the exterior design. In particular, rear headroom is generous for all heights, with leg and toe room equally spacious. With all seats in place the boot space is 605 litres, but stow the rear pews and the cargo capacity jumps to 1755 litres. Overall, NVH levels are well suppressed with only slight tyre roar coming from the Continental SportContact 6 hoops wrapping 21-inch wheels.


If you’re in the market for an Audi SUV that can swallow the family in comfort while still retaining fuel economy, then the sub-$100K Q7 is going to be a better bet. However, if you want to make a statement, the Q8 has presence in spades. Plus, if you only need five seats, it’s practical and spacious. The added bonus is that the 55 TFSI provides ample punch and the full-bodied, swoopy SUV is dynamically adept.


Model: Audi Q8 55 TFSI

Engine: 2995cc V6, dohc, 24v

Max power: 250kW @ 5000-6400rpm

Max torque: 500Nm @ 1370-4500rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 2095kg

0-100km/h: 5.7sec (tested)

Economy: 9.2L/100km (claimed)

Price: $128,900 ($138,850 as tested)

On sale: Now


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Trent Giunco

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