Soup up your ride

With an Audi Q8, you will never have to worry about anyone having the same ride as you

Nowadays, just having a big luxury SUV doesn’t help you stand out from the crowd. Exclusivity and style matter a lot more and that is exactly what the new Audi Q8 offers. How? Being a CBU import, Audi offers a wide gamut of personalisation options both inside and out, so no two Q8s will be the same. However, being an import also means a four-month waiting period — though it will be worth the wait.

Then, you have style. The Q8’s SUV-coupé design puts it in a very niche segment, and is the SUV’s biggest draw. The sharp-looking matrix LED headlamps grab your attention first, with the massive octagonal grille adding to the drama. The nose looks stunning, with a layered look for the bumper.

Moving to the side, there are 20-inch alloys as standard, with an option of 21-inch alloy wheels (seen here), and even 22-inchers, if you really want to stand out. The tapering roofline, which is the crux of the whole design, is rather subtle, but gives the car plenty of style. The Q8 might seem compact in pictures, but in the flesh, it has got plenty of road presence. You also get sportscar-like frameless doors that look cool. At the rear, the long, swooping LED tail-lamps look futuristic, and there are plenty of neat lines and cuts, in typical Audi fashion.

Step inside and you see an interior befitting of a car that costs over ₹1 crore. The design is slick and subtle but not devoid of drama. Here, too, you have an array of customisations, with 11 upholstery options and nine inlay trims to suit your choice. The cabin quality and fit-finish are excellent, and the materials give it an air of premiumness. Audi has also loaded the Q8 with tech. Dual MMI touchscreens are on offer — the one on top for navigation, media, infotainment, and the one below essentially replacing the plethora of buttons on the centre console used to control various features like climate control, drive modes etc. The screens are responsive, and you also get haptic feedback and a click to confirm commands. However, the lower screen does require you to take your eyes off the road to use the correct function.

Seat comfort is excellent; they come with a range of adjustability — basic adjustments are via buttons on the seat, with the lower touchscreen housing functions such as seat ventilation and more. Get in the rear and you will be surprised that, despite the low-slung roofline, you get decent headroom, and there is room to stretch out as well.

There is plenty of kit on offer too, with stand-out features including HD Matrix adaptive LED headlamps, adaptive air suspension, a panoramic sunroof, a parking assistant and a 1,920W Bang & Olufsen hi-fi system. Then, there are a few options over and above this — four-zone (rather than dual-zone) climate control, a head-up display, seat heating, ventilation and massage, and rear-wheel steering, to name a few.

Powering the Q8 is a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol engine making 340hp, which is plenty for this two-tonne-plus SUV. Performance then is swift, with a 0-100kph time of just 6.07sec. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and quick, working seamlessly with the engine. However, power delivery is progressive and you don’t get a strong punch. You also get drive modes like Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual to choose from; they alter the performance of the engine, gearbox, steering, and even the suspension. Yes, the Q8 also has adaptive air suspension, which, in Comfort mode, offers a pliant and comfy ride. ‘Dynamic’ firms up the ride quite a bit. That said, even in its firmest setting, you don’t feel the jolts like you’d expect to in a big, heavy SUV with massive wheels. Expect the 20-inch wheels to deliver an even comfier ride. The steering is very light and handling is decent too, though this clearly isn’t a car to attack corners with.

Priced at ₹1.33 crore (ex-showroom, India), the Audi Q8 goes against a small group of SUV-coupés such as the Porsche Cayenne Coupé and the Mercedes-AMG GLE43 Coupé. And like the other cars in the segment, the Q8 is for those who want to make a statement. The concept-car looks, extensive features and luxury, all mean that it could very well be the go-to choice for the rich and famous.

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