The Audi Q8 comes with one of the most high-tech interiors of any luxurious SUV, but the fancy three-screen infotainment system isn’t quite as easy to use as in some simpler alternatives
The Audi Q8 gets one of the most luxurious interiors of any SUV short of a Bentley Bentayga or Rolls Royce Cullinan. Everything feels impeccably screwed together and all the materials on the dashboard, centre console and doors feel suitably plush and nicely padded.
Taking pride of place on the Audi’s glossy dashboard is a huge dual-screen infotainment system that’s shared with the uber-luxurious A8 saloon. Through this, you’ll control all of the car’s onboard functions, from the temperature of the climate control to the colour of the customisable mood lighting. There’s also a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display in front of the steering wheel that replaces conventional analogue dials.
These three screens fit seamlessly into a sweeping piece of gloss black trim that stretches the full width of the cabin. It isn’t quite as eye-catching as the intricate design you get in a GLE Coupe, but it helps make the Audi Q8 feel as wide and as spacious as a cross-channel ferry when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat.
Speaking of seats, S-Line models come with leather and suede-like Alcantara upholstery as standard and electrical adjustment for the front seats to help you get comfy, but only top-spec Vorsprung models come with heated front and outer rear seats as standard. These versions also get a panoramic glass roof to make the Audi Q8‘s cabin feel even more spacious and a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel inspired by Audi’s high-performance RS models.
Sitting in the Audi Q8 feels a bit like you’re in an A8 that’s parked on the back of a low-loader – you get the same luxurious design, but with an even more commanding view out
Just like the A8 saloon, the Audi Q8 comes with three huge infotainment screens as standard – two on the dashboard and one on the centre console.
Through the central 10.1-inch dashboard display you’ll control all the settings for the built-in sat-nav system, the stereo and the settings for the car’s adjustable air suspension. The menus are easy to read and sensibly laid out, too, so you won’t get lost in a sea of confusing buttons each time you want to change the radio station.
Below this display, you’ll find a slightly smaller 8.6-inch screen that controls the Q8’s climate control. It certainly looks fancier than your usual knobs and dials, but you have to press the screen quite hard. Pinching both sides of the display together syncs the climate control settings – which is a neat touch – and swiping up and down on each side of the screen lets you quickly adjust the temperature settings without looking down.
It’s not all good news, however. It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the system’s physical clicks and vibrations from the road when you’re driving along. This is less of an issue with the larger, dashboard-mounted display, but it can make using the lower screen a bit tricky. Another drawback is that, while you can control the infotainment via the Virtual Cockpit, you can only operate the climate controls via the touchscreen which can be distracting on the move.
Speaking of Virtual Cockpit, it’s the 12.3-inch screen mounted in front of the steering wheel. This replaces analogue dials and shows a wide range of data; from sat-nav directions to current fuel consumption, and even tell you what song is playing through the stereo. It’s a doddle to use and is all controlled through handy buttons on the steering wheel.
The Audi Q8 also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring features, so you can beam a selection of navigation and music-streaming apps through the built-in infotainment screens if you don’t like Audi’s own system.
Unfortunately, these features disable the system’s haptic feedback functions, which makes it much more difficult to use the touchscreen while you’re driving.
You also get the Audi Phonebox feature as standard that wirelessly charges your compatible smartphone, as well as boosting its signal using the car’s built-in aerial. Unfortunately, the seriously impressive Bang & Olufsen stereo upgrade is only available in top-spec Vorsprung models, or as part of the expensive Comfort and Sound pack.