2019 Audi Q8 essentials: Style in spades

Our Opinion: My only problem with this car is the name. Call me old-fashioned, but I think a Q8 should be bigger than a Q7, regardless of the context. Thankfully the roof is flat, not like the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and the even-numbered BMW X vehicles. The Porsche Cayenne Coupe, with which it shares a platform, is similarly handsome with a nearly flat roof and steeply raked rear glass.
If other automakers can put a four-cylinder in a three-row SUV, there’s no reason this turbo-six wouldn’t work in the Q8. And lo, it’s just right. Barring a flat-out drag race with a Trackhawk Grand Cherokee or an AMG Mercedes, this car is plenty quick for anything a normal person would need to do on a daily basis. There’s no real lag in the rev range, power delivery is smooth and the growl is understated but pleasing. My notepad says “quintessential Audi engine,” and I agree with me. The eight-speed auto is one of the quickest non-dual-clutch transmissions around, and it always seemed to be in the right gear, especially when in dynamic driving mode. Like the A6 and A7 I recently drove, the brakes are tuned just right for me, meaning a short stroke and a bit of effort, which makes modulation easier.
The interior of the Q8 is also nearly identical to those sedans. There are two central screens, both touchable, with the lower usually displaying the climate control. They look precise and colorful when on, and when off deliver a sea of piano black in this trim. Apple CarPlay worked fine, and there’s a standard knob for volume control, which is necessary. But adjusting the temperature was a pain in the ass, because you have to jab at the plus and minus buttons on the screen. I suppose if you were just going a few degrees it would be fine, but if you’re driving a hot car and want to go from 83 degrees to low, it takes about 20 jabs while trying to keep your eyes on the road. It’s also haptic, which means it sort of clicks when you touch it, and you can’t just brush it either, you have to stab, with force.