Earlier this week, Audi India launched the most premium SUV it’s ever had. The new Q8 is a unique vehicle, no doubt, since it combines the elegance of a four-door luxury coupe with the practicality of a large SUV, but at `1.33 crore, ex-showroom, it’s very expensive, almost double the price of the similarity-sized Q7 (`69 lakh). The reason is that while the Q7 is produced in India, the Q8 is a CBU import and attracts a plethora of taxes. However, beyond the size, the Q7 and the Q8 are like chalk and cheese. While it’s difficult to list all the differences between these two tech-laden cars in a small article, the major ones are as follows:
Dimensions: The Q8, in fact, is marginally smaller than the Q7, but has a bigger wheelbase. That leads to a more luxurious passenger space. Moreover, unlike the Q7 that has seven seats (three rows), the Q8 has five (two rows). The Q8, with its sloping roofline and frameless windows that are so coupe-like, is a more stylish SUV meant to compete with BMW X7 and Porsche Cayenne. The Q7 competes with Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.
Engines: The Q8 is available only with a petrol engine: the 3.0-litre TFSI that produces 340bhp and 500Nm torque. The claimed fuel efficiency is 13.9kpl, and carbon dioxide emissions are 168 gm/km. Part of the reason for good fuel efficiency, for the engine size, is mild hybrid technology. The Q7, as of now, is available in both petrol (2.0-litre) and diesel (3.0-litre). Petrol versus petrol, the Q8 is more powerful and more engaging to drive—actually it drives like a sports car—and there is minimal body roll, which is found in the Q7. The Q8 is also incredibly quiet inside.
In-car technology: The Q8 has a far more modern cabin, and especially Audi’s advanced infotainment technology that debuted in the A8 sedan globally in 2019 (it’s also found in the new A6 in India). The cabin of the Q8 is minimalist—there are very few buttons and controls. The large touchscreen display is unique in the way it provides feedback—both haptic and audio. You have to get used to the amount of pressure needed to use the touchscreen. The experience is a bit like Apple’s Force Touch technology; Audi has done the same for cars. And there are two screens in the Q8. The Q7 also has a luxurious cabin, but it looks dated in comparison.
The Q8 can play many roles. It’s a practical super-luxury SUV for those who don’t need three rows, or need a fun-to-drive SUV. But you do pay a lot of money to own this vehicle, in India. The Q7, however dated it might feel in comparison, is a full-size luxury SUV, and far more value-for-money. The Q8, on the other hand, will always remain an exclusive SUV.