Monday, 22 April 2019

Spacious SUV feels like a ‘complete’ car

Spacious SUV feels like a ‘complete’ car

THE accessibility of the most sophisticated of new cars is alien to the majority of motorists simply because the cost of these models proves prohibitive.

And, of course, money spent on a new car does not always prove satisfactory, as with any commodity.

If you were buying this week’s test car, for example — the new Audi Q8 — it would come in at a shade under £85,000. But what you would get is a car packed with sophistication par excellence.

People — mostly those in advertising or those marketing cars — often talk about the actual “experience” of driving one particular model.

The experience of driving the Audi Q8 is to drive a car that is consummately comfortable (super sport seats in black Valcona leather), dynamic without even trying (0-62 mph in 6.3 seconds), and, for a car with a largish engine — the test car was powered by a V6 3.0-litre diesel — possible to drive economically (though combined fuel figures are given as up to 33 mpg).

But to return to the jargon, it is the experience of driving the Audi Q8 that sticks in the mind, particularly after a long journey.

While at the wheel, whether you are cruising on the motorway or pootling around town, the Q8 feels like a complete car.

I am not saying that after a prolonged period of driving you arrive “refreshed”. That would be stretching it in any car today, given traffic conditions.

But you feel relaxed and “different” to what you would feel after a long journey in most other cars I have driven.

This may have a lot to do with cabin ergonomics, which are a feature of the Q8. The driver’s area and front passenger space are well designed for comfort in most circumstances — the rear seating in the Q8 was copiously spacious according to my passengers.

This is no accident of design. With a wheelbase of almost three metres, the Q8 offers lots of space for five people.

The operating system in the Q8 focuses on two high-resolution touch displays.

The upper display with 10.1in screen is used for controlling the infotainment and the navigation system. The lower 8.6in display allows the driver to manage the heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as comfort functions and text input.

The driver's wrist can rest on the tiptronic selector lever during operation.

There is a large luggage compartment and good-size storage compartments and tray areas. The luggage compartment holds 605 litres as standard, which increases to 1,755 litres with the rear backrests folded down.

The tailgate can be opened and closed electrically as standard. The electric luggage compartment cover is another convenience option. Guided on rails, it automatically retracts when the tailgate is opened and is extended again upon closing.

For the headlights, HD matrix LED headlights are fitted as standard. Using the myAudi app on a smartphone it is possible to activate various lighting functions.

The paint range for the Q8 offers 12 colours, including the latest colours dragon orange and galaxy blue. For the interior of the Audi Q8, customers can choose from several colours and configurations.

In S line configuration, the front sport seats with integrated head restraints, an S logo and rhombus pattern are upholstered in leather or alcantara, with the option of Valcona leather available to order separately.

Vorsprung specification gains contoured Super Sport seats upholstered in Valcona leather as standard, with massaging and ventilation functions optionally available.

Adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is standard, with a sport setup. It can be adjusted to four modes with the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, varying the ride height of the body by up to 90 mm. High ride comfort and agile handling — the adaptive air suspension brings both together.

The Q8 is fitted with a 3.0 TDI (Q8 50 TDI) engine. This accelerates the large SUV (sport utility vehicle) from 0 to 62mph in 6.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 144mph.

Factfile

Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro 286PS Vorsprung tiptronic

Price of test car: £84,690

Colour: Daytona grey, pearl effect

Five-seat SUV with coupé styling

Touch-operated screens and high-tech navigation

S line specification includes HD Matrix LED lights, alloy wheels and adaptive air suspension sport as standard

Vorsprung edition has Valcona leather, dynamic all-wheel steering, 22in alloy wheels, head-up display and a full leather package as standard

Capable of 62mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 144mph

Motoring

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