We've been pretty unimpressed with the looks of most crossovers out there. It just seems like styling and design haven't been very head-turning lately, though as a whole, the segment is decent. A few stand out in the crowd like the Mazda CX-5, Jaguar F-PACE, and the Audi Q5. But for the most part, there's just not much to love. And then along came the new Audi Q8 ($67,400 base MSRP). Damn. It's hot. Just take a look at the photo below.
Not long ago, we compared the looks of the Q8 to the far pricier Bentley Bentayga. Well, we going to correct ourselves by saying the Q8 actually looks far better than the super-ute from Crewe. Photos actually don't do the Q8 justice. We've seen it around our neck of the woods a lot lately (there's a nearby Audi dealership), and we have to say it's positively stunning. From the large trapezoidal grille and creased hood to the elegantly sculpted haunches and the dramatic LED taillight signature, the Q8 looks great coming and going.
The new Q8 is one of those vehicles that looks great regardless of which color you choose, whether it's the muted Samurai Grey, the unique Galaxy Blue, or the eye-popping Dragon Orange. Our favorite combination would have to be the dark Daytona Grey Pearl with the 22" Audi Sport 5-V-spoke-star design Anthracite wheels and the blackened grille treatment that make the Q8 look sporty and sinister.
The Q8 might seem like a bit of an afterthought since it is based on the Q7, but the Q8 is more of what's known as a "lifestyle" vehicle based on its less practical 5-passenger layout (no third row) and its more adventurous styling. The Q8 just happens to be lower, shorter, and wider than the Q7 and has more angular sheet metal. The cabin is also sleeker with the front and rear glass more steeply raked. The rear taillight also boasts a full width LED light bar above the corner taillamps, and the wheels range from 20 inches to a sizable 22 inches, giving the Q8 more presence.
There's also the kind of power to back up the looks of the Q8, but it's a single powertrain that consists of a turbocharged V6 gas engine and what's known as a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The combination is good for a substantial 335 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. The Q8 isn't a rubber roaster like the BMW X5 M, but it will hit 60 mph from a standstill in a quick 5.3 seconds.
In order to make the drive more pleasurable, we'd recommend the mid-level trim (at least). The Premium Plus level ($71,400 base MSRP) comes with 21" 5-spoke-W design wheels, a booming Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, four-zone automatic climate control, and a top view camera system (front, rear, and side views) with Virtual 360 surround view for easy maneuvering in tight spots.
The Q8's interior is easily what we'd label as opulent. Those leather diamond quilted seats are stunning and comfy, while Audi's latest MMI infotainment system gets two touchscreens that use hand gestures and handwriting recognition. Though there's no third row, the second-row seats are actually roomier than the ones in the Q8. Just when you thought Audi interiors couldn't get nicer, the slick execution of the Q8's is proof that the Ingolstadt brand is constantly striving for improvement.
If its high style inside and out that amounts to one of the best-looking crossovers on earth, look no further than the Q8. Your friends will drool, and you'll also have a sporty crossover that's great to drive, plush to sit in, and not nearly as expensive as you might expect.