Audi Q8 confirmed for Singapore 2019 with 3.0 V6, goes up against BMW X6, Mercedes GLE Coupe in the coupe-SUV segment
UPDATE: June 13 2018 – Audi Singapore confirms 3.0-litre V6 variant for Singapore.
Enter the new Q8. In Audi’s numerical naming system, the bigger the number, the more expensive the car, which means this new model is the big kahuna of the SUV range. Ostensibly a sportier, more rakish version of the Q7, the Q8 is pitched directly at the BMW X6, Mercedes GLE Coupe, and at a stretch, the Range Rover Sport.
Audi Singapore has confirmed the car will be coming to the Lion City, shortly after Europe gets its first units. European deliveries only commence in Q3 2018, so we’d wager an early 2019 launch for Singapore.
The Q8 is approximately 60mm shorter, 30mm wider and 30mm lower than the Q7, and seats five instead of seven. Crucially, its roofline is less ridiculously tapered as compared to its German rivals, which can only mean good things for visibility, cargo space and rear headroom.
It’s certainly much more imposing to look at than the Q7. The front end is dominated by the massive Singleframe grille, the rear sports a full-width LED light bar similar to the one on the A8 limousine, and the sides are characterised by the blistered ur-Quattro-style wheelarches and 22-inch rims – the largest Audi has ever offered.
Whatever you think of the the Q8’s striking looks, you better get used to it, because this will be the new face of Audi SUVs going forward. That’s mostly in the octagonal front grille, which will subsequently appear on all Audi Q models; the traditional A hatches and saloons will have a hexagonal grille.
Step inside the Q8 and you’ll find a driving environment very similar to the A8, A7 Coupe and A6 saloon. You’ll be hard-pressed to find many physical buttons on the dashboard, instead most operations are controlled by two large touchscreens in the middle of the slick-looking dashboard.
The larger 10.1-inch one on top controls the infotainment and navigation functions, while the 8.1-inch one below controls the air-conditioning functions, and doubles up as a keypad for text inputs.
At initial launch, the Q8 will only be available with a 3.0-litre diesel V6, but given Singapore’s tightening emissions laws, that’s an unlikely option for us.
Far more promising is the 3.0-litre TFSI V6 also found in the A6, A7 and A8, which produces 340hp and 500Nm.
Like the new A6 sedan, a mild hybrid setup is standard thanks to a 48V electrical system, which allows for, among other things, extended coasting at highway speeds and extended stop-start periods in town. 48V should also allow for top-line tech options such as the new A8’s super-trick suspension system.
Given the flexibility of the MLB Evo platform though, expect to drivetrain options similar to the other cars already built upon it, namely the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus and VW Touareg.
That means a, e-tron plug in hybrid, as well as hopped-up SQ8 performance model. Heck, a version of the 4.0-litre V8 might even make an appearance… RS Q8, anyone?
No pricing details have been released yet, but given its flagship status the Q8 will certainly command a decent premium over the Q7, although it’s unlikely to cost more than an equivalent-engined A8.
Audi is undergoing a sort of rejuvenation at the moment, moving into a clear new phase of its life and starting to overhaul its entire range. Though the company’s long term goal is to make the transition into a “premium digital car company” thanks to increasing use of autonomous tech, the primary focus now is simply to make desirable cars.