• Auto123 gets in a first test drive of the 2024 Audi Q8.
Cape Town, South Africa - Usually after five years on the market, a model is entitled to a new generation. In the case of the Q8, Audi has applied a more modest, discreet redesign for 2024. The reason is simple: the Q8 name has just been assigned to the e-tron model in line with the brand’s new nomenclature, which assigns an even number to all electric SUVs. Gasoline-powered models, like the Q3, Q5 and Q7, are assigned an odd number.
Audi will keep the Q8 electric and gasoline models on the market simultaneously for another year or two, and then bring out a larger Q9.
See also: 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron first drive
Design of the 2024 Audi Q8
The changes are essentially aesthetic. At the front, Audi has redesigned the grille in a more streamlined style and reworked the headlamps, which feature a different, unique light signature. The front headlamps feature Matrix LED technology coupled with an additional laser light. That laser light becomes active at speeds above 70 km/h to ensure greater safety when driving on high beam.
There's also a choice of front-grille colours, depending on the Q8 or SQ8 model version, and a new design for the wheels, which range from the standard 21-inch to optional 23-inch units.
The streamlining continues at the rear, with a simpler overall line.
Finally, Audi offers a number of new body colours, including Ascari Blue, Chili Red and Sakhir Gold.
The interior of the 2024 Audi Q8
The evolution is just as subtle inside. Audi retains the upper and lower screens in the centre console, with a digital data cluster in front of the driver. The MMI interface offers a number of new features, such as live traffic information, which projects other vehicles on the road onto the screen.
Drivers can now select up to four light signatures, front and rear, via the MMI interface. Audi also offers four new decorative elements in the cabin.
When it comes to passenger space, the Q8 continues to score high marks. The lower roofline doesn't impede passenger space. All seats are comfortable, front and rear, and there's room for three in the second row. We appreciate the wide adjustment range of the front seats and their soft armrests. Seat upholstery is firm but comfortable.
Storage space for small items is limited, with the exception of the large door pockets. Car seat anchors are hidden behind removable covers, and generous legroom ensures that car seats of all sizes will fit.
Technology and safety in the 2024 Audi Q8
Audi retains the same three-screen approach. It's state-of-the-art technology with a host of functions that still require a bit of learning. You get wireless integration and the Digital Cockpit dashboard, which is both useful and crystal-clear.
The voice control system, while not yet outdated, is not as modern as more recent rivals such as Mercedes' MBUX, and does not respond as well. Audi will have to think about coming up with a new generation capable of handling a greater number of operations.
The Q8's driving aids are both numerous and effective, without being intrusive. Naturally, the amount of technology on board will vary according to the version chosen, and all the most interesting gadgets often come in an option package for the Q8 and as standard in the SQ8.
2024 Audi Q8 versions and configurations
In Canada, the choice is relatively simple. The entry-level model is the Q8 55 TFSI quattro Progressiv, followed by the Q8 55 TFSI Technik and the SQ8 Quattro.
With the Q8 versions, you get 21-inch wheels as standard and two optional 22-inch wheel designs. You can also opt for the Dynamic Driving Package for $3,185 and the Black option for $1,200.
The SQ8 comes with 22-inch wheels as standard and 23-inch wheels as an option. The list of options is also more exhaustive, with massaging seats for $2,450, Dynamic Plus package for $7,200, Bang & Olufson audio system for $5,500, night vision for $2,500 and even a more expressive exhaust for $1,350.
Powertrain of the 2024 Audi Q8
Nothing new under the hood. The Q8 is still powered by the 3.0L V6 turbo engine with its 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It pushes the Q8 to 100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds, which is more than enough for most owners.
If that's not enough for you, the Audi SQ8, with its 500 hp 4.0L turbo V8, does the same in 4 seconds.
Both engines do an excellent job. What's more, towing capacity reaches 7,700 lb.
Driving the 2024 Audi Q8
Despite weighing in at 2140 kg, the Q8 has the thrust to move along at a good pace. Electronic throttle response remains an irritant, as Audi products always have a slight dead time when you press the gas pedal when at a standstill.
This problem disappears once the vehicle has settled into its rhythm, especially in Sport mode. The Q8 performs admirably in both tight corners and curves. The suspension is well tuned in Sport mode, and body roll is well controlled. Only in high-speed corners does the Q8's weight become a limiting factor.
The steering is precise and well-tuned in terms of effort. Our SQ8 came with the Dynamic Driving Package with sport differential, steerable rear wheels and air suspension. In the land of the gazelles, we felt as agile as the newly crowned world champion rugby team.
At highway speeds, road noise is marginal and wind noise around the windscreen low. What's more, all ambient noise is well isolated.
2024 Audi Q8 prices
The base Q8 starts at $95,450 in Progressiv trim and $103,150 in Technik trim. The step up to the SQ8 starts at $124,150. These prices include $2,850 for transport and preparation, $500 for dealer fees and $100 for the air-conditioning tax. For models costing over $100,000, there's also the luxury tax, which adds another $10,000 to the bill.
The final word
Audi’s Q8 is undeniably elegant and it offers the right balance of comfort and performance. Add to that exceptional build quality, and you have a vehicle of the highest quality.
However, this quality comes at a very high price. It’s virtually impossible to pay less than $100,000 for a base Q8 with a V6. That's a lot of money for an SUV, even a luxury one. Some would say that the power of seduction has its limits. On the other hand, you get what you pay for.
With its coupe-like styling, pleasing performance offerings and a host of luxury and technology features, the Q8 is carving out an enviable place for itself in the segment.
Audi made no mention of the future of the RS Q8, and considering the short life expectancy of this new model, it would be surprising if it were to return to the road.
- - Well-equipped with numerous standard features
- - Ride comfort
- - High-quality interior materials
- - Very comfortable front and rear seats
- - A little less practical than the Q7
- - Touch-screen interface remains a little complex
- - Electronic throttle as annoying as ever
Competitors of the 2024 Audi Q8
- Acura RDX
- BMW X6
- Genesis GV80
- Cadillac XT6
- Infiniti QX60
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport
- Lexus RX
- Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé
- Porsche Cayenne coupé
- Volvo XC90
If you feel like looking elsewhere, you've got the even more expensive Porsche Cayenne Coupé in the same family. Among German products, you can also consider the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé and the BMW X6. The Genesis GV80 is undoubtedly the most interesting choice in this segment.