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2019 Audi Q8

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The evolution of the automotive market has been drifting away from sedans and sports cars for quite a while in favor of crossovers and SUVs. We car folk have often lamented the decline of traditional cars in favor of more practical and family-oriented vehicles as a push towards a watered-down market of cookie-cutter wagons and anti-minivans. In recent years, however, Europe has been rolling out quite a few surprises in the small SUV and crossover departments. For each milquetoast Chevy Traverse or Toyota Highlander that floods the space, we get a Porsche Macan, a BMW X6, or a Jaguar F-PACE. And not to be outdone, Audi has just introduced the Q8, their newest flagship SUV that is built on the Q7 platform with some notable edits

Audi has long understood the draw of hatchbacks and wagon designs and has incorporated them into most of its major platforms for as long as the brand has existed. The Q7 SUV has been a top seller for the company for a few years and offers a roomier third-row seat that many of its luxury European competitors either shoehorn in as an afterthought or lack entirely. For the 2019 Q8, Audi wanted to maintain the practicality of the SUV design while also appealing to traditional sedan owners who turn up their noses as ride heights increase. To do so, they maintained the Q8 platform but removed the third-row seat, chopped the roof-line by more than an inch, sloped the quarter panels and lift-gate, shortened the length by three inches, and added that extra size to the width while also lowering the ride height. The result is what the company refers to as an SUV “coupé,” a nomenclature that has been adopted by other manufacturers at which many enthusiasts have scoffed. However, the resulting body lines suggest a large, aggressive sport wagon as opposed to a boxy kid-mover and grocery-hauler.

Under the hood, Audi has utilized the turbocharged A8 3.0L V6 rather than the supercharged V6 from the Q7. This produces two more horsepower and an increased 44 lb-ft of torque than in the previous SUV, and it propels the Q7 to 60mph in only 5.3 seconds, according to a Car and Driver test track run.

On the interior, Audi has moved to its newest infotainment system, and the entire dashboard is almost completely knob-less. Dual touchscreens feature haptic feedback akin to the latest smartphones, and Audi has placed the navigation system directly in front of the driver, right between the dials on the instrument cluster. This same concept is shared throughout all of the new 2019 models, including the upcoming A-model sedans, and it appears very futuristic, for lack of a better term.

The Q8 does not seem poised to dethrone the Q7 by any stretch, but it also does not compromise much of the utility of that model or the performance of the sedan models. That being said, it should fill a very interesting gap for those drivers looking for the perfect balance between form and function.

-Trey Fennell



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