Front three-quarter view of 2019 Audi Q8 SUV

The all-new Audi Q8 SUV takes the platform of its larger, three-row Q7 big brother, streamlines it, and cuts the seating capacity to just five passengers. 

Audi is hoping to capitalize on the booming luxury SUV market by adding another choice to its luxury SUV lineup. The German automaker says this SUV also represents a newer, evolved design look for the interior and exterior that is careful to maintain Audi's core design character. The automaker has just released more details about this upcoming model.

Pricing starts at $67,400 and goes to $76,550 for the Prestige trim level.

2019 Audi Q8
What it competes with: BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
What it looks like: A shortened Audi Q7 with more aggressive styling, a lower roofline, and a sharply angled rear window.
Powertrain: 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 48-volt mild-hybrid system and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
On-sale date: End of 2018

Rear three-quarter view of 2019 Audi Q8 SUV

Outside

The Q8 styling moved away from the appearance of the Q7 and other current models. It has a more pronounced octagonal grille with deep air intakes set below the bumper. Even the rear hatchback is quite different; the Q8’s rear window has a sharper angle than the Q7 has. The Q8’s doors have deep contours instead of the slab-sided look of the Q7. The pronounced wheel arches, rear roof pillar, and some rear styling elements are evocative of its original Quattro Coupe, a sports car classic produced from 1983 through 1986.

2019 Audi Q8 interior

Inside

The dramatic, next-generation dashboard shares its appearance with other upcoming models, the 2019 Audi A8 and A6 sedans. These are distinguished by a pair of touch screens dominating the center console.

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The 10.1-inch top screen is used for controlling the MultiMedia Interface (MMI) infotainment and navigation systems. Below that is a customizable 8.6-inch touch screen for climate controls and other comfort functions.

The screens respond with a pulsing vibration to confirm the driver's selection, and users can create onscreen shortcuts and move apps around in much the same way they can on a smartphone. Audi says the system will be able to recognize voice commands and natural-language requests, such as “I’m hungry,” and then suggest nearby restaurant options, for example.

Audi’s “virtual cockpit” is a 12.3-inch instrument panel that can display everything from audio and phone information to full-color maps in the instrument panel. While this feature is optional in the Q7, it's standard in the Q8.

Higher trim-level models also have a color head-up display to project information in the driver’s field of vision. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard.

What Drives It

The Q8 is fitted with a 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. This electric assist allows the SUV to run for a short time on battery power alone, usually at takeoff or at very low speeds. This system will be used in other upcoming Audi models, including the 2019 A8. Audi claims the Q8 will be able to spring from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

The Q8 will have standard all-wheel drive. When additional traction is required, the SUV will route power to the axle where it’s needed. An adaptive suspension is standard, allowing the driver to choose among ride modes for different terrains. An optional air suspension adds the ability to raise the vehicle for more ground clearance when tackling uneven terrain. This package also includes all-wheel steering to aid low-speed maneuverability.

Safety & Driver-Assist Systems

The Q8 features a full roster of advanced safety and driver assist features, including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic-sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control.

CR's Take

The Q8 is an extension of Audi’s SUV line, similar to what BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been doing for the past few years. It is larger than the Audi Q5 (also a two-row SUV, but it's based on the A4 sedan) and will have more swagger. The stylish exterior and five-passenger seating may appeal to buyers who are looking for a premium SUV, but who don’t need the Q7’s seven seats.