Where did you drive it?
From the Auckland dealership to and from Bracu Estate, in the Bombay Hills, where some modest off-roading exercises were conducted. A quick-fire taster, then, side-stepping real opportunity to test the model’s primary mission of delivering more handling poise and driver involvement than the more family-tailored Q7 is expected to impart.
First impression is that, when taking it easy, it’s as smooth, comfortable and easy-going as its sibling. The sense of it being a high-quality experience is enhanced by the effort that has gone into ensuring mechanical, road and wind noise is very well suppressed. The frameless doors – another Audi SUV first – do not degrade at all, as they pull themselves electrically shut to basically achieve a hermetic seal.
A height-adjustable, sportstuned adaptive air suspension is standard and the various on-seal modes are tangibly different. Comfort makes for cushioned ride isolation and low-effort inputs; in this setting, too, you meet the Q8 at its most refined. It is very demure on the motorway.
The alter-ego Dynamic increases steering weight and brings much more tautness to the suspension, enough to transmit coarse chip textures, so beware the potential discomfort on more impure surfaces. Even so, this setting will doubtless become a default for keen drivers.
In addition to proper centre diff-based, torque-vectoring quattro four-wheel drive, there’s four-wheel steering, which in addition to lifting the on-road deftness also enhances the car’s sure-footedness off-road and lends an A3-equalling turning circle.
The active anti-roll bars that go to the SQ7 are omitted, brand argument being that these are rendered unnecessary by Q8’s lower centre of mass and wider tracks. Fair enough, it does have abundant lateral grip and decent mid-corner stability. Yet it would surprise if other editions don’t pick up this feature.