Audi Q8 review – a master of comfort and refinement - Engine and gearbox

Audi’s first coupe SUV isn’t the last word in driving thrills, but it serves up an easy to live with and satisfying package

Evo rating
Price
from £65,040
  • Comfortable, luxurious and completely intuitive to drive despite its size
  • Neither thrilling or exciting, may not be flamboyant enough for some

Engine and gearbox

The Audi Q8’s 3-litre V6 turbo diesel engine is supplemented by a 48-volt belt-driven small electric motor mounted on the front of the engine. Its main use is to aid the diesel engine under load to reduce turbo lag, but it also acts as a starter motor to smooth out the car’s start/stop function and adds charge to the 48V sub-system’s lithium-ion battery.

When it comes to actually reducing lag, though, it’s not entirely successful. Press the throttle below 2500rpm and there is a significant pause before the car responds and eventually surges forward. It isn’t any worse than you would reasonably expect from a diesel SUV, but the promise of less lag from the mild hybrid system and that the Q8’s engine is very responsive above 3000rpm, and the delay you get at low rpm is rather disappointing. As is the 5000rpm red line that the engine won’t rev to; instead the gearbox changes up automatically, whether you’re in manual mode or not, at 4900rpm.

These are the only criticisms of the Q8’s drivetrain, though; its performance is more than adequate, it’s very smooth and refined, its eight-speed automatic gearbox makes almost seamless shifts, the quattro system distributes torque to all four wheels without any fuss, and if you get a hint of noise from the engine it’s actually rather pleasant – not the rattly diesel sound you might have anticipated.

Most Popular

High performance Aston Martin DBX to be ‘most powerful luxury SUV’ on sale
Aston Teaser
Aston Martin DBX

High performance Aston Martin DBX to be ‘most powerful luxury SUV’ on sale

Aston’s high performance DBX to be revealed on Feb 1 and pack a whole lot more power
18 Jan 2022
Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar shown in new images
Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar
Peugeot

Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar shown in new images

Peugeot Sport’s new wingless Le Mans racer gears up for its competition debut later this year
18 Jan 2022
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring eCoty – front tracking
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience

There are few, if any, more rewarding, engaging or intense experiences for those in pursuit of the thrill of driving
7 Jan 2022