Audi Q8 updated for 2023 with design and tech upgrades

Audi has refreshed the Q8 to keep pace with an ever-evolving SUV market, with minor styling tweaks and improved kit

With the arrival of the new Range Rover Sport and more recently the facelifted Porsche Cayenne, the premium SUV sector is more competitive than ever. The Q8 is Audi’s answer to those aforementioned rivals, and having been on sale for five years, it’s been given a nip and tuck to secure a place at the sharp end of the market. 

Costing from £75,500 when it goes on sale next month, the new model continues to be offered in high-performance SQ8 guise (£97,245), although the flagship RSQ8 – once the fastest production SUV to lap the Nürburgring – isn’t included in the updated range just yet.

Visually, the changes centre around a revised front grille and intake setup, with standard Matrix LED headlights and OLED tail lights bringing the Q8 into line with the latest Audis. As an option on top-spec Vorsprung models, buyers can specify a laser light system comprising 24 LED units to illuminate the road further ahead. New paint colours and wheel designs, the latter ranging from 21-23 inches, have also been added as part of the facelift. 

The cabin is pretty much the same as before, although Audi is rolling out new software features and apps to be used with its infotainment system. The firm’s virtual cockpit instrument pack is also said to offer clearer safety information, including distance to other road users and traffic light signals. 

The Q8 offers a raft of chassis electronics to mitigate the effects of its size and weight, including standard electronically controlled air suspension with adaptive dampers and optional rear-wheel steering. The latter reduces the turning circle by up to one metre and is standard on Vorsprung models and the SQ8.

The core range comprises two 3-litre mild-hybrid V6 engines, with the Q8 50 offered as a diesel and the 55 variant with petrol power. The former produces 282bhp and completes the 0-62mph sprint in 6.1sec, with the Q8 55’s petrol engine generating an extra 53bhp and cutting that time down to 5.6sec. Quattro four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox are equipped across the board. 

The outgoing SQ8 switched from diesel to petrol power mid-way through its life, and its 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine has been carried through for the facelift. The same motor is used across the wider Volkswagen group in everything from the Lamborghini Urus to the Porsche Panamera, and in this application it’s rated at 500bhp and 568lb ft of torque. With a 0-62mph time of 4.1sec it’s a shade quicker than the 522bhp BMW X5 M60i xDrive, although the Audi is the more expensive of the two. 

To elevate the SQ8’s dynamics, an optional sport rear differential can be specified to distribute torque between the rear wheels using a pair of clutch packs, along with active roll stabilisation – this splits the anti-roll bars in two halves with a powerful motor in between to precisely regulate roll stiffness.

Order books for the new Q8 and SQ8 will open on October 10, with first deliveries scheduled for the beginning of next year.

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