RAY MASSEY: Audi’s sleek and swift new Q8 sets sights on premium SUV rivals

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Form an orderly queue for Audi’s new flagship Q8 SUV. Though launched in China in June, it’s now here just in time for the new 68 number plate, and I’ve tried it on our busy and quiet roads.

First impressions are good. It’s sporty, but elegant, with a bold face and lines made sleeker by frameless doors and windows and a coupe- like roofline. 


The Dragon Orange metallic paintwork is particularly striking, and it’s nimble with a tight turning circle.

Refined, yet powerful: The new Audi Q8, flagship of its range of Q-prefix SUVs

Refined, yet powerful: The new Audi Q8, flagship of its range of Q-prefix SUVs

The only engine at launch is a 3-litre V6 TDi Quattro turbodiesel eight-speed automatic, linked to a ‘mild’ electric hybrid system which together develops 286hp and gives plenty of acceleration on demand.

It will go from rest to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 152 mph. CO2 emissions are 178g/km and average 41.5 mpg under new ‘real world’ economy tests. 

A more powerful 3-litre 340PS TFSI V6 petrol engine is to follow early next year, along with a more frugal 231PS diesel.

The q* manages to be sporty, but elegant, with a bold face and lines made sleeker by frameless doors and windows and a coupe- like roofline

The q* manages to be sporty, but elegant, with a bold face and lines made sleeker by frameless doors and windows and a coupe- like roofline

The q* manages to be sporty, but elegant, with a bold face and lines made sleeker by frameless doors and windows and a coupe- like roofline

The Q8 will go from rest to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 152 mph. CO2 emissions are 178g/km and average 41.5 mpg under new 'real world' economy tests

The Q8 will go from rest to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 152 mph. CO2 emissions are 178g/km and average 41.5 mpg under new 'real world' economy tests

The Q8 will go from rest to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 152 mph. CO2 emissions are 178g/km and average 41.5 mpg under new ‘real world’ economy tests

The only engine at launch is a 3-litre V6 TDi Quattro turbodiesel eight-speed automatic, linked to a 'mild' electric hybrid system which together develops 286hp and gives plenty of acceleration on demand

The only engine at launch is a 3-litre V6 TDi Quattro turbodiesel eight-speed automatic, linked to a 'mild' electric hybrid system which together develops 286hp and gives plenty of acceleration on demand

The only engine at launch is a 3-litre V6 TDi Quattro turbodiesel eight-speed automatic, linked to a ‘mild’ electric hybrid system which together develops 286hp and gives plenty of acceleration on demand

A 12.3 in high-resolution display replaces the traditional instrument cluster. It uses 3D graphics and you can select the ‘classic’ view showing speed, or ‘navigation’ view, where the satnav fills the screen.

There are two trim levels. The S-Line on standard 21in wheels starts from £65,040 and looks the business, or the premium (from £83,040) which has Vorsprung trim, 22-inch wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Inside is high quality, while safety and convenience is helped by 39 driver assistance systems, standard on Vorsprung but at extra cost on S-Line.

There's plenty of space in the boot with a 605-litre luggage compartment — enough for two golf bags — expanding to 1,755 litres with the rear seats down

There's plenty of space in the boot with a 605-litre luggage compartment — enough for two golf bags — expanding to 1,755 litres with the rear seats down

There’s plenty of space in the boot with a 605-litre luggage compartment — enough for two golf bags — expanding to 1,755 litres with the rear seats down

The premium trim level (from £83,040)  has Vorsprung trim, 22-inch wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof and a Bang & Olufsen sound system

The premium trim level (from £83,040)  has Vorsprung trim, 22-inch wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof and a Bang & Olufsen sound system

The premium trim level (from £83,040) has Vorsprung trim, 22-inch wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof and a Bang & Olufsen sound system

A more powerful 3-litre 340PS TFSI V6 petrol engine is to follow early next year, along with a more frugal 231PS diesel

A more powerful 3-litre 340PS TFSI V6 petrol engine is to follow early next year, along with a more frugal 231PS diesel

A more powerful 3-litre 340PS TFSI V6 petrol engine is to follow early next year, along with a more frugal 231PS diesel

A 12.3 in high-resolution display replaces the traditional instrument cluster. It uses 3D graphics and you can select the 'classic' view  or 'navigation' view, where the satnav fills the screen

A 12.3 in high-resolution display replaces the traditional instrument cluster. It uses 3D graphics and you can select the 'classic' view  or 'navigation' view, where the satnav fills the screen

A 12.3 in high-resolution display replaces the traditional instrument cluster. It uses 3D graphics and you can select the ‘classic’ view or ‘navigation’ view, where the satnav fills the screen

There’s plenty of space in the boot with a 605-litre luggage compartment — enough for two golf bags — expanding to 1,755 litres with the rear seats down.

Adaptive air suspension regulates ride height, which can be raised by up to 50 mm for going off road.

In its sights are a host of premium rivals including the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, Maserati Levante and Britain’s Range Rover Sport.

VW plans all-electric car-share service

Volkswagen says an all-electric car-share service in Berlin will be rolled out to other cities in Europe and the U.S.

It will also supply 325 all-electric e-Golfs to car-share firm ZipCar in London this year. VW, at the centre of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, is using Berlin’s delayed new airport to store thousands of cars still awaiting emissions testing.

Land Rover has canines covered 

 For dog-lovers who pamper their pets while they travel, Land Rover has a new range of canine accessories.

Pet Packs, costing from £360 to £887, include a spill-resistant bowl, access ramp, a foldable mobile pet-carrier kennel, a quilted load-space liner and a portable shower system to wash away muck after muddy walks. 

The launch is ahead of International Dog Appreciation Day tomorrow. Nearly half of Land Rover and Range Rover drivers are dog owners — double the number of UK households owning a pooch (landrover.co.uk). 

Goodwood’s £200 million classic GT race

The 20th anniversary Goodwood Revival will host what’s believed to be the world’s most valuable motor race with 30 classic pre-1963 GT cars competing in the Kinrara Trophy. 

They have a combined value of nearly £200 million. The race, from sunset to dusk on September 7, also features ten Ferrari 250 GT SWBs (including the unique ‘Breadvan’). Read more here.

BMW’s late to the Summer of Love

Not sure the BMW and Mini dealership in Park Lane, London, has it quite right with its Summer of ’68 campaign to sell cars with the new 68 plate next week.

The Summer of Love was 1967. By contrast, 1968 saw global student protests, the escalation of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Dr Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and the crushing of the flowering Czech democracy by Soviet tanks in Prague .

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