5 things you need to know about Audi's 2019 Q8 SUV

Roadshow
I'm here in the middle of the fabulous Atacama Desert in Chile to drive this, the 2019 Audi Q8. I've driven it on tarmac, I've driven it on dirt, I've driven it on gravel and I've even driven it up there in the snow. Here are five things you need to know. Based on the MLB Evo architecture that underpins the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, the Q8 joins the R8 sports car and A8 sedan as the third leg of Audi's triumvirate of flagships. Shorter, wider, and hunkered closer to the ground than the family-minded Q7, which also rides on the same platform, the emphasis with the Q8 is on personal luxury with a dose of athleticism. If you're still figuring out what to make of the Q8's face, know that it's better in person. The eight sided grill with it's thicker frame and vertical elements will make up the new look of Audi utility vehicles. For me the new nose still isn't as attractive as the company's other SUVs, but it is more aggressive and some folks will like that. Audi is still tweaking what color fascia and trim it will offer on US models, and that will likely determine a lot. At launch, you'll only be able to get the Q8 with Audi's 3-liter TSFI gas V6, pumping out 335 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque. And eight speed auto and standard all wheel drive is back by a 48 volt mild hibrid system for improved efficiency. Througout my long drive in Chile that included extremely high altitudes this combination felt plenty strong and it was very well behaved. Like the new AA the Q8 is a tech juggernaugt, including Audi's new twin screen, MMI touch response system with [UNKNOWN] feedback It takes a little getting used to, but it feels more smartly executed than competing touch screen systems. Other tech includes available lane centering, adaptive cruise control with lidar, virtual cockpit gauges and all wheel steering. Oddly, no rear seat entertainment is available The 2019 Audi Q8 may be late to the personal sport luxury SUV party, but at least at first exposure, it seems to have the handling, refinement, and tech chops to take on the Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, and models like BMW's X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe To be competitive, I'd wager on a starting price of around $65,000. The 2019, Audi Q8 hits dealers this Fall, but it's only about lunchtime, and me and my ridiculous $6 souvenir have got some offloading to do. For a full 2019 Audi Q8 drive impressions and more details, click on over to theroadshow.com

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