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Audi's range-topping SUV - the 2021 Audi Q8 - is similar to the Q7 but forgoes the third row of seats in favor of snazzier, sportier design elements. What does that give you? Why, it gives you a mid-size luxury SUV with a fair amount of passenger and cargo space. Of course, this gives it an advantage over some of its rivals.
For the 2021 model year, do not expect to see too many changes to the Q8. What you should expect to find is a shuffling about of standard features, with more coming equipped than last year. Blind spot monitoring comes standard across the line-up, and the Premium's Convenience Package now includes a 360-degree surround-view camera and a heated steering wheel for additional comfort. On the Premium Plus, you get the heated steering wheel as standard equipment this year. That trim level's Executive Package sees the additions of heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, and more luxury-oriented features.
Audi has made some nifty additions to the Q8's infotainment system as well. One of its new features is a toll modulator that comes built into the rear-view mirror. Don't like how many toll road passes you have littering your dashboard? Well, this cool little feature can help! You also get a hybrid radio tuner that will automatically switch to going online if the radio signal is too weak.
All in all, the 2021 Audi Q8 is a strong performer. The cabin is adorned in high quality interior materials, and the ride quality is exactly what you should expect from a luxury SUV manufacturer like Audi. The seats are padded for comfort, so you can enjoy road-trips day in and day out. The only real downsides are that the throttle response is laggy in the default driving mode, and there is not as much practicality as there is in the Q7.
So, which 2021 Audi Q8 trim level offers the best deal? Is there one that will meet your needs? Let us take a look at the Q8's trim levels and what each one has to offer. In the end, we will let you know which one we think presents the best deal for the average buyer.
Compare the 2021 Audi Q8 Premium vs Premium Plus - What is the Difference?
The 2021 Audi Q8 Premium trim level and mid-tier Premium Plus are both powered by a 3.0-L 6-cylinder engine that has a power output of 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The engine block is made from aluminum-alloy, and the cylinder head is as well. This vehicle has a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, which is pretty respectable for its segment. All Q8 trim levels have a max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. An 8-speed automatic transmission, 12-volt 380A/68Ah battery, 51.5-volt alternator, and a 48-v/9.6-Ah lithium-ion battery mild hybrid system round out the robust list of standard features found under the hood.
The steering system is electromechanical progressive, and it has a ratio of 14.6:1 on both trims. Each also has a curb-to-curb turning diameter of 43.5 ft. The front and rear both have adaptive damping suspension systems, and there is a standard electromechanical parking brake.
Now, let's get into their shared standard features a bit further. Both the Premium and Premium Plus are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, the LATCH system for child safety seats, a motion sensor and engine immobilizer with the alarm system, Audi side assist with rear cross traffic assist, and a car jack. Driver aids are expansive, as they include a standard rear-view camera, cruise control, Audi pre sense front, a 360-degree surround view camera for the Premium Plus, the parking system plus, and Audi pre sense basic front and rear.
On the outside, you will see that there is aluminum trim surrounding the side windows, and up front, you get treated to full LED headlights with high beam assist included. In the rear, there are concealed exhaust outlets. There are also LED daytime running lights, side mirrors (with memory, power heating, and power folding), and a power panoramic sunroof. A power tailgate also comes standard. The Premium Plus does swap in 21-inch 5-segment-spoke-W wheels for the Premium's 20-inch 5-double-spoke wheels.
Inside, there are LED lights, but they get upgraded to contour/LED ambient interior lights on the Premium Plus. Fine Grain Ash Natural Brown Wood inlays adorn the cabin, and you can rest your feet on carpeted floor mats. Aluminum door sill inlays, a 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, the auto-dimming rear-view mirrr (with the integrated toll system, digital compass, and HomeLink garage door opener), front sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors, and 3-zone automatic climate control come standard. But, in the Premium Plus, the latter gets upgraded to a 4-zone system. There are heated front seats, and the upholstery is done in leather. The second row is sliding and reclining, and it is a 40/20/40-split folding seat. Also, the driver seat gets treated to 4-way power lumbar support. On the Premium Plus, the front passenger seat gets it as well, and ventilation on both front seats is standard.
Tech features are abundant, of course. On both of these trim levels, you get access to the Audi connect PRIME and Audi connect PLUS online services with a 6-month trial subscription. You also get Audi's high-tech virtual cockpit, which gives the vehicle a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster with three visual modes.
Bluetooth connectivity is available for making phone calls as well as streaming your favorite music. The ever-popular and user-friendly MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch response system comes standard. This equips 4G LTE WiFi hot spot on the Q8. Also, the Audi sound system has two USB ports up front and two in the rear. Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available, so you can sync your favorite apps and your music with the Q8. The Premium Plus gives you an upgraded Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System with a grand total of 17 speakers.
Compare the 2021 Audi Q8 Premium Plus vs Prestige Trim Level. - What is the Difference?
So, what more can the Prestige trim level give you? How does it go above and beyond to put you in the lap of luxury? Well, it makes numerous additions when it comes to standard features. For starters, there are dynamic turn signals and animation on the LED taillights. Up front, there are upgraded HD Matrix-design adaptive lights that come along with high beam assist. You also get a headlight washer system, heating added to the rear outboard seats, and traffic jam assist with Audi's adaptive cruise control system.
You will also see a lot more leather. There is leather all along the upper dash. A manual rear sun shade and power side sunshades for the second row become standard equipment as well. A head-up display comes equipped and will project vehicle data onto the windshield in front of the driver for an easy read-out.
Bear in mind that there are also multiple optional packages that can be equipped on the 2021 Audi Q8. The Premium can be equipped with the Convenience Package, which adds auto-dimming on the side mirrors, a wireless charging pad, and Audi pre sense rear, which helps mitigate in the event of a potential rear-end collision. On the Premium Plus trim level, you can opt to add the Driver Assistance Package. This package gives the Q8 lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, to name a few features. Of course, the line-topping Prestige trim level integrates all of these optional features into its list of standard features.
There are some options left over. You can choose from the Cold Weather Package and the Adaptive Chassis Package, which equips the vehicle with an air suspension and rear-wheel steering system. Those are available on any trim level. However, there is one package that is left exclusively for the Prestige trim level, and that is the Luxury package. The Luxury package comes with upgraded front seats as well as more premium materials found throughout the cabin.
This year also sees the introduction of the ultra cool Black Optic package. When you spend the little bit of extra cash on this package, you get treated to some cool-looking 21-inch 5-W-spoke wheels with a finish done in contrasting gray that is partly polished. All-season tires come with them. Also, the Q8 gains an exterior package inclusive of a Single-frame grille mask, inserts for the front and rear bumpers, roof rails, and upgraded trim around the side windows.
You can also choose to equip the Towing Package, which pushes the Q8's max towing capacity to 7,700 pounds - a solid number for a vehicle in this segment. It also gives the Q8 additional equipment like a 7-pin connector and tow hitch receiver. And it is all available for a reasonable price, which might make it worth adding if you plan on doing any towing.
Before you commit to any trim level, know that you can add Audi Care to any vehicle. This helps you save money over time. This prepaid scheduled maintenance system means you do not have to purchase services separately from your Audi dealership, and you will have trained technicians putting in Audi certified parts.
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Which Trim to Choose?
As it is clear by now, the 2021 Audi Q8 offers buyers a line-up of high-end vehicles that are jam-packed with creature comforts. There is essentially everything you could possibly want inside of the Q8. From standard blind spot monitoring to built-in navigation, you get just about everything that is available for luxury vehicles. And, with a max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds, you can enjoy towing a camper with ease. Take the family on an adventure; you will not get any complaints from the rear seat occupants, as the rear is as cozy as can be. The seats hold up well over the course of hours, making them perfect for a road trip.
We do think there is one trim level that stands out above the rest. That trim level? Why, it is the mid-tier Premium Plus! We recommend this trim level since it is extremely well-equipped without being overpriced. The 4-zone climate control system feels fantastic and reaches all areas of the vehicle without a problem. Also, being able to customize the interior ambient lighting system is pretty fun. This also lets you opt for the adaptive air suspension system and the Driver Assistance Package, which we recommend doing since that will get you adaptive cruise control.
Overall, the 2021 Audi Q8 is a fun ride with a lot of comfort to be found throughout the cabin. Equip it just right and you will have a vehicle you can enjoy driving for years to come.
• Compare the 2020 Audi Q8 Trim Levels