When coupé meets SUV: the new Audi Q8

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The Q8 is Audi's new flagship crossover, designed to combine the elegance of a four-door coupé with the raised driving position of a SUV. So, while it doesn't offer quite the same functionality as the more practical seven-seat Q7, the five-seat Q8 promises a bit more luxury, and more space for passengers.

The Q8 features a 3.0 TDI engine with an MHEV or mild hybrid system that sees an integrated lithium ­ion battery and belt alternator starter (BAS) feed into a 48-volt primary electrical system. This means the Q8 can coast along at between 34mph and 99mph with the engine switched off, with the BAS restarting the engine as soon as power is required. 

Inside, the controls are focused around two high-resolution touch displays, similar to what we've seen in the A8, A7 and A6. The upper 10.1-inch screen is used for controlling the infotainment and navigation system, while the lower 8.6-inch display allows the driver to adjust the climate and comfort settings. 

There's also Audi's virtual cockpit display, which can be switched between two views, classic and navigation. The Q8 includes sound systems from Bang & Olufsen, with the top of the range version sporting 23 speakers to deliver 3D sound.

Driver assistance system

Audi has been one of the pioneers of driver assistance and safety technology, so it's no surprise to find the Q8 packed with tech.

The highlight in the Tour assist package is adaptive cruise assist, which supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed and keeping distance in traffic jam situations. The system detects lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. 

Emergency assist detects whether the driver is inactive (perhaps due to tiredness or illness) and provides visual, acoustic and haptic warnings. If these don't prompt a reaction, the system takes control of the Audi Q8 and automatically stops it in its own lane – it will even place an emergency call once the vehicle has come to a halt.

Other highlights include crossing assist, which detects critical traffic crossing in front of the car, while Audi pre sense 360° warns against vehicles approaching from the side. Finally, rear cross traffic assist registers approaching cars during slow reversing maneuvers – handy when you're coming out of a parking space. 

The Q8 will be available from July, with pricing still to be confirmed.