MOTORS: Which one is the better choice: this Audi Q8 or Q7?
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There’s the principle that if you need to ask the price, you can’t afford it.
That certainly applies to the coupe-style SUV, the Q8 from Audi. If you do ask, be prepared for the sizeable answer.
The featured test car, the Launch Edition with a big 3-litre V6 petrol engine, Audi’s renowned Quattro four-wheel-drive system and tiptronic auto gearbox, has a base price of not far off £84,000.
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Once you add almost £800 for the metallic Daytona grey paintwork, first registration fee of £55 and the Vehicle Excise Duty of a hefty £2220, you’re heading towards £90,000 for this splendid piece of Teutonic technology.
There’s also a £660 charge for delivery and number plates but included in that, you get half a tank of fuel, which seems mean-spirited when for another £50, they could fill it to the brim.
On the subject of fuel, you’ll need deep pockets if you want the Q8 in your drive because I was lucky to hit 20 miles out of every expensive gallon, although the official figure is 25 mpg.
That’s not really surprising because it’s a big car weighing around two tonnes although bizarrely, it’s smaller than the lower-numbered Q7 with less space inside, five seats rather than seven, and a higher price tag.
It may have a drink problem but it could be worse because it comes with mild hybrid electric technology or MHEV which recovers energy on deceleration to help economy and the engine is designed to go into standby so the car will coast at more than 40mph to save fuel.
The previous model came with a plug-in hybrid option which meant you could get around 30 miles of electric-only driving and that could be available again soon.
In the meantime, there’s a diesel engine choice which offers more grunt and slightly better economy but it’s noisier and less refined.
Despite its size and weight, it can certainly get off its mark hitting 62mph in under six seconds but go hard on the right pedal and you see the consumption reading on the dash dip to single figures.
While the eight-speed tiptronic transmission is delightfully smooth, I found it could be sluggish to kick down when on demand such as in a quick overtake.
Where it scores is on superb handling and feels secure on twisting bends and the quattro four-wheel-drive ensures that you’re fixed firmly to the road or have guaranteed traction if you venture off it.
Inside, the luxurious cockpit is a splendid place to be when the wintry Scottish elements are making life miserable for those outside.
The heated seats front and rear are superbly supportive and the raised ride height means there’s good visibility all round with the rear-view camera covering unseen areas at the back end.
Around the dash there are two touchscreens – the main 10-inch upper one controlling all the main functions while below it, the smaller second screen manages the climate control.
It is quite a complex set-up but an owner would get used to navigating the menu although I found it irritating having to constantly cancel some functions like the speed limit sign recognition. If you don’t do that, you’ll be pestered by annoying pings if you venture over the limit even by only 1mph.
Annoyingly, it resets every time you switch off so you have to go through the same routine at every start up. Fortunately, the lane departure warning can be cancelled through a button on the left stalk on the steering wheel.
The head-up display is superb and a useful driver aid which means you can concentrate on the road ahead without distraction.
As you’d expect from Audi, build quality all round is superb but that comes at a price and it’s a toss-up whether your money wouldn’t be better invested in the larger, but cheaper Q7.
Audi Q8 TFSI Quattro Launch Edition MHEV
PRICE: £83,665 (£87,395 as tested)
ENGINE: 2995 cc V6 direct injection quattro permanent all-wheel-drive tiptronic
POWER: 340 PS
TORQUE: 500 Nm
TOP SPEED: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.6 secs
TOWING CAPACITY: 2800 kgs (braked)
ECONOMY: 25 mpg combined
CO2 EMISSIONS: 247 g/km