Sleek and sophisticated, the 2021 Audi Q8 tops Audi's SUV range and, as the range-topper, sets the bar ridiculously high. It trades in the Q7's third-row seats for sportier styling elements, making this mid-size luxury SUV more spacious in terms of head space than a lot of its coupe-esque competitors. Don't expect to see too many changes for the 2021 model year, save for some swapping around of standard and optional features in order to make the Q8 a more attractive deal for buyers. Blind-spot monitoring now comes standard across the line-up, and a toll module is now integrated into the rear-view mirror. Are these tech changes of interest to you? If so, read on to learn more about the 2021 Audi Q8 and whether it might be the right mid-size luxury SUV for you.
What's New For 2021?
New for 2021 are a handful of tech changes, starting with the standardization of the blind spot monitoring system. The Convenience package - which comes on the base Premium trim level - adds a 360-degree surround-view camera system and a heated steering wheel. You can also get the new integrated toll modulator and a hybrid radio tuner, as well as more features from the Premium Plus' Executive package (heated rear seats and adaptive cruise control among them).
The 2021 Audi Q8 is only available as a mid-size luxury SUV.
This year, you can take your pick between three trim levels: the base Premium, the mid-tier Premium Plus, and the line-topping Prestige. They are all powered by a standard 3.0-L V6 engine that creates 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. A 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain system and 8-speed automatic transmission round out this system, and the mild hybrid system purportedly gets the Q8 an extra 11 hp when you put it under hard acceleration.
Standard features on the base Premium trim level include a liftgate that is hands-free, an adaptive suspension, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with a low-speed automatic emergency braking function, and a panoramic sunroof. The interior plays host to a tri-zone automatic climate control system, heated front seats, chic leather upholstery, the Audi Virtual Cockpit (a digital gauge cluster display), dual touchscreens, and smartphone app integration (wireless if you use Apple CarPlay).
Add the Convenience package in order to get access to Audi's Pre Sense Rear system, which works to lessen the effects of a potential rear-end collision. You also get auto-dimming side mirrors and a wireless charging pad.
The Premium Plus offers even more. On this trim, you gain an array of features, such as the 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, advanced LED ambient interior lighting, 4-zone climate control, ventilation for the front seats, the surround-view camera system, and everything that comes on the Convenience package.
The optional Executive package, which is new for 2021, adds heated rear outboard seats and adaptive cruise control. It essentially replaces last year's Driver Assistance package but is a bit more inclusive.
The line-topping Prestige trim level goes all-out on luxury features. This trim has everything from the lower trims, including the Executive package. You also get a head-up display, unique LED headlights, power rear sunshades, controls that are touch-sensitive, and upgraded leather upholstery.
Options are leftover, including a Cold Weather package, an Adaptive Chassis package, and a Luxury package.
If you give it a good push, the 2021 Audi Q8 will take off at a good clip. But it does require a little effort to get the vehicle going from 0 to 60 mph (which it does in about 5.6 seconds). Many similarly equipped vehicles in this segment are about as fast or even faster, although this is by no means a slow showing. It is just average. You will just want to take the vehicle out of the default drive mode if you want a peppier throttle response, or else it will simply feel lackluster and bland - not what you would expect from an Audi. Sport mode definitely makes the response more engaging, which we think drivers will prefer.
As far as handling goes, The Q8 shows a lot of control. The suspension demonstrates a lot of restraint while Sport mode is engaged, which makes cornering feel spunky. There is no body roll to speak of, but you will feel the SUV's weight when taking turns at higher speeds. When it comes to steering, the amount of effort the driver has to put in is appropriate, and they get just the right amount of feedback.
The 2021 Audi Q8's fuel economy is below average for this segment, and that isn't saying much. The mild hybrid system does relatively little to help. The EPA rates the Q8 at 19 mpg combined (with 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway). This is about 2-3 mpg below what others in this segment are able to achieve, and real-world tests indicate that the Q8's estimates are true-to-form.
The 2021 Audi Q8 has some cool new features equipped on it, and, for the most part, it drives about as expected. However, there are rivals in this segment who have stronger acceleration and can manage better fuel economies. The Q8 is also a little less practical than other Audis, so you might want to test drive a few others (like the Q7) before making your final decision.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All Audi Q8 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.