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The Top Gear car review:Audi Q8
What is it like on the road?
We’ve only tried the 50 TDI thus far (there’ll be an RS at some point in the future, as well as the other models), and it’s a rapid, comfy cruiser with a surprising ability to go around corners. Even on the 22-inch wheels. It’s not an exciting car to drive, but it disguises its size brilliantly, and has a decent stretch of dynamic change from the seven different – selectable – modes.
‘Comfort’ really is leggier and softer, ‘Dynamic’ noticeably firmer and more responsive with a 40mm drop. This sounds obvious, but it isn’t always the case. There’s also an off-road mode, which raises the suspension 50mm from the Comfort/Standard position in case you need to potter down a track.
As ever, the all-wheel drive is clever and subtle, with torque-vectoring on the rear axle, and a torque split that can shove up to 70 per cent to the front or 85 per cent to the rear, depending on conditions.
The steering isn’t the last word in communication, but this is a big car that you don’t wince trying to thread down a back lane – it goes where you put it with the minimum of fuss, feels lighter than it is and can three-point turn with the best of them. For which we thank the four-wheel-steering option.
It’s wide – over two metres with the mirrors – and has some fairly hefty blind spots, but there’s a suite of systems (that you get used to quickly) to deal with the issues. Overall, it’s a ‘doing’ car rather than something you’d choose to take out for the hell of it, but the general feeling is that Audi has got the air-ride nicely sorted in this one: you really can cruise efficiently and well, and it demands very little in the way of concern, even though it’s a big old thing.
The engine is effective (0-62mph in 6.3secs is very respectable), although it sounds ‘light’ in operation and isn’t characterful in any way. We suspect the lower-powered TDI might feel a little bit underpowered and that a lot more bhp might unlock a bit more of the chassis’ talent and cause those big tyres to work a little harder. It all hangs together very nicely in this 50 TDI, mind you.