For the past few years, Audi’s lineup in India has remained relatively unchanged. They have only introduced a handful of brand new models in past couple of years but Audi now intend to make a difference. Audi has launched their flagship Q8 SUV in India today for a price of Rs. 1.33 crores. It comes to the country as a CBU and only 200 units have been allotted for the Indian market. That also makes it quite more expensive than its rivals – the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS – which have a price around the Rs. 1 crore mark.
In terms of design, the Q8 is a brute of an SUV. It looks very imposing on the face with the signature large single-frame grille with fat borders and both vertical and horizontal slats that come with chrome highlights. The face gets sleek LED headlamps with HD Matrix LED technology available as an option and 3D-effect daytime running lamps. The bumper also gets beefy skid plate and large air intakes.
The Q8 is characterized by sharp lines on the bonnet and its sized which really bring out the muscular character of the car. In profile, the sloping roofline seamlessly merges into the inclined D-pillar and rests against the quattro blisters above the flared wheel arches. The SUV sits on massive 22-inch wheels which look very imposing. At the rear, there’s a roof-mounted spoiler and wide LED taillamps which are connected by a light strip, making the entire unit appear as one.
On the inside, the cabin is well laid out with digital screens and piano black trim on the dashboard. A faux AC vent runs along the entire width of the dashboard and it gets a 10.1-inch MMI touch response display and another 8.6-inch digital display below for the air-con system and other in-car controls. Audi’s virtual cockpit system is also present via a high-resolution 12.3-inch display that can be switched between two views via the multifunction steering wheel. Other features include – adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, crossing assist, lane change warning, curb warning, and 360-degree cameras.
Audi has said that they will bring only petrol-engined cars from now on in India. The Audi Q8 gets a sole 3.0-litre V6 turbo-petrol engine in the 55 TFSI guise producing about 340 bhp and 500Nm of torque. The engine comes mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, along with Audi’s quattro AWD system. The BMW X& and the Mercedes GLS however come with diesel engine options and that puts the Q8 at a little disadvantage. However, Audi has opted for a wait and watch approach for diesels in the BS6 era.
While the Q8 may have an imposing stance by itself, its a tad bit smaller than its rivals, the X7 and the GLS. Also, inspite of having a wheelbase of 2995mm, it is only a five-seater SUV whereas its rivals are full-fledged seven-seater behemoths. The Audi Q8 has quite some price tag in India, but it is not intended to be a volume product in our market. Rather, its appeal will lie in its exclusivity, as each example will be built-to-spec.