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2021 Audi Q8 Review

The 2021 Audi Q8 finishes in the top half of our luxury midsize SUV rankings. This German SUV is posh and enjoyable to drive, but its small cargo hold and subpar fuel economy ratings keep it from challenging for a top spot in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome interior with spacious seats
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Powerful available V8 engines
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • High price

New for 2021

  • Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear now standard
  • Feature shuffling between trims

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.3
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.6 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Audi Q8 a Good SUV?

Yes, the Audi Q8 is a good luxury midsize SUV. It comes with a capable base V6 engine and offers two performance-oriented V8s. Gas mileage is far from a strong suit, but the Q8 has engaging handling and a cushioned ride. The interior is incredibly luxurious, and there are lots of easy-to-use features and ample passenger space. Cargo capacity is below average, however.

Why You Can Trust Us: 13 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 Q8 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

Should I Buy the Audi Q8?

In a vacuum, the Q8 is a terrific buying choice. It has plenty of all-around appeal, and it acquits itself well in a competitive class. That said, the Q8 isn't the best value in the segment because it carries a high price tag. You could argue that the price is justified given the Q8's quality, and there are rivals like the BMW X6 with similar starting prices. But there are also competitors like the Audi Q7, which offer almost everything the Q8 does but for much less money.

Find a 2021 Audi Q8 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Audi Q8: What's the Difference?

There isn't a lot to separate the 2020 Audi Q8 from the 2021 model. The new Q8 gains a couple of standard driver assistance features (Audi Side Assist and Pre Sense Rear), but otherwise, it's largely unchanged from the 2020 model.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Q8 »

Here are the key changes for the Audi Q8 over the past few years:

  • 2019: brand-new model
  • 2020: RS Q8 model joined lineup
  • 2021: Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear now standard

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2019 Q8 and 2020 Q8 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Audi Q8 Cost?

The Q8 has a starting price around $69,000. That's one of the highest starting prices in a class where many models start below $55,000. The top trim with the base engine starts around $78,000, which is also higher than most competitors top-trim prices.

And those aren't even the most expensive Q8s – by a long shot. There are two performance models that cost significantly more. The SQ8 starts at about $89,000, and the RS Q8 starts at $114,500.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi Q8 Versus the Competition

Audi Q8 vs. Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 sits just ahead of the Q8 in our luxury midsize SUV rankings, and these two have a lot in common beyond their German heritage. The Q7 and Q8 both have upscale interiors, sporty handling, and user-friendly features. The Q7 offers the same 335-horsepower V6 and 500-horsepower V8 engines that the Q8 does.

However, the Q7's third engine is a turbo-four that serves as its base unit, while the Q8 features an even more-powerful V8 at the top of its lineup. The Q7 has more cargo space than the Q8, and it seats up to seven people, while its sibling only seats five. The Q7's biggest advantage, however, is that it costs much less: Its starting price undercuts the Q8's by more than $10,000.

Compare the Q8 and Q7 »

Audi Q8 vs. BMW X6

The BMW X6 is one of the most athletic vehicles in the class. Both of these SUVs handle well, but the X6 has more powerful engines. The X6 and Q8 have posh interiors and two rows of roomy, supportive seats, and cargo space is comparable between the two. However, the Q8's infotainment system is more user-friendly than the X6’s.

Compare the Q8 and X6 »

Compare the Q8, Q7, and X6 »

Q8 Interior: A Lot to Like

Q8 Cargo Space

Many class rivals have more cargo space than the Q8, though admittedly that's because some competitors are larger, three-row SUVs. The Q8 gives you 30.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 60.7 cubic feet with these seats folded.

How Many People Does the Q8 Seat?

This Audi seats five people in two rows. The front seats are comfortable, supportive, and quite spacious, and the driver has good visibility in all directions. The rear seats are similarly accommodating, even for taller adults.

Q8 and Child Car Seats

The Audi Q8 has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The anchors are easy to find and shouldn't be confused with other hardware.

Q8 Interior Quality

Few rivals can match the Q8's cabin quality. It's stylish and elegant, and premium materials cover virtually every square inch of the interior. Additionally, occupants are well-insulated from outside noise.

Q8 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This Audi SUV features the easy-to-use MMI infotainment system. There's a slight learning curve thanks to the dual-screen setup, but the system is intuitive once you get used to it. The touch screens provide haptic feedback, meaning they vibrate to alert you that your input registered. Still, the response times could be a smidge snappier.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 10.1-inch upper touch screen, an 8.6-inch lower touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, three USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a 10-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: 17- or 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound systems
  • Additional standard features: tri-zone automatic climate control and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (Audi Virtual Cockpit)
  • Other available features: quad-zone automatic climate control and wireless device charging

Read more about interior »

Q8 Performance: Deceptively Dynamic

Q8 Engine

There are three engines in the Q8 lineup, and they're all good power plants. Though it's the base engine, the V6 is no slouch. It's turbocharged, and it feels pretty energetic in all driving situations despite a teensy bit of turbo lag when you're starting out.

The performance-oriented SQ8 and RS Q8 feature twin-turbo V8s. These models are far more powerful than the V6 (both check in with at least 500 horsepower), and they're noticeably more energetic.

Q8 Gas Mileage

At the time of writing, fuel economy ratings aren't yet available for the 2021 Q8, but the nearly identical 2020 Q8 gets subpar ratings for the class: 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. The 2020 SQ8 gets just 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. The 2020 RS Q8 gets the worst ratings in the lineup: 13/19 mpg city/highway.

Q8 Ride and Handling

The Q8 is a great cruising vehicle, but it’s also reasonably athletic. The steering is responsive and well-weighted, and the Q8 feels balanced though tight turns. The brakes provide plenty of stopping power as well. The adaptive suspension yields a smooth ride, soaking up bumps and dips in the road.

Q8 Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Audi Q8 can tow up to 7,700 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Q8 Reliability

Is the Audi Q8 Reliable?

The 2021 Audi Q8 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Audi Q8 Warranty

Audi backs the Q8 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Q8 Safety

Q8 Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Q8.

Q8 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Audi Side Assist (blind spot monitoring)
  • Audi Pre Sense Basic (tightens seat belts and rolls up windows if sensors detect an impending collision)
  • Audi Pre Sense Front and Rear

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Night vision camera

Read more about safety »

Q8 Dimensions and Weight

The Audi Q8 is 16.4 feet long. Its curb weight is 5,490 pounds.

Where Is the Audi Q8 Built?

Audi builds the 2021 Q8 in Slovakia.

Which Audi Q8 Model Is Right for Me?

The Audi Q8 comes in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. There are also two performance variants, the SQ8 and the RS Q8.

The base Q8 Premium comes well-equipped, and it's a solid value for buyers. Still, the best pick in the lineup is the Premium Plus. It doesn't cost much more than the base trim, and it comes standard with more driver assistance and infotainment features than the Premium. The Prestige trim is the most luxurious model, but the features it adds are things that many shoppers can live without.

While it's nice to have the added power of the V8 engines, the drastic price increase means the SQ8 and RS Q8 probably aren't worth the money for most buyers, especially since they don't add any tech features.

Audi Q8 Premium

The Q8 Premium has a starting price around $69,000. It comes with a 335-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive.

Standard features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, the Audi Virtual Cockpit, a panoramic sunroof, and a power liftgate. The standard MMI infotainment system includes 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch touch screens, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four USB ports, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker stereo, and satellite radio.

Standard safety features include a rearview camera, parking sensors, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and Audi Pre Sense Basic, Front, and Rear.

The Cold Weather package ($600) comes with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel, and the Convenience package ($850) adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and wireless device charging.

Audi Q8 Premium Plus

The Q8 Premium Plus has a starting MSRP of about $73,000. This trim adds ventilated front seats, quad-zone automatic climate control, a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, a surround-view parking camera system, and the contents of the Convenience package.

The Cold Weather package carries over. Other options include upgraded headlights and taillights ($1,200) and an adaptive air suspension with all-wheel steering ($2,750). The Driver Assistance package ($1,750) adds lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control.

Audi Q8 Prestige

The Q8 Prestige trim starts around $78,000. It includes the contents of the Driver Assistance package, plus the upgraded headlights and taillights. Other features include a leather-wrapped dashboard, rear-window sunshades, power soft-closing doors, and a head-up display.

Most available features carry over. Options exclusive to the Prestige trim include a night vision camera system ($2,500), a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo ($5,000), and the Luxury package ($6,150), which offers extended leather upholstery and massaging front seats.

Audi SQ8

The SQ8 starts at about $89,000 for the Premium Plus trim and $95,000 for the Prestige trim. A 500-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine comes standard in both models. Beyond that, the standard and available features resemble the Q8's Premium Plus and Prestige trims.

Audi RS Q8

The RS Q8 starts at $114,500. Its twin-turbo V8 engine generates 591 horsepower. The standard and available features are similar to the Q8 Prestige trim's offerings.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

See 2021 Audi Q8 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Audi Q8 brings a lot to the table. It's a great cruising vehicle that's fairly athletic, and it has a spacious, opulent cabin that's replete with technology. There are a few areas where the Q8 trails the competition, but it still earns a place in the top half of our luxury midsize SUV rankings. The Q8's starting price is one of the highest in the class, however, so be sure it's what you want before you buy it.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Audi Q8 is the flagship SUV from the German luxury brand. Whereas its sibling, the Q7, is a 3-row luxury crossover more geared toward families, the Q8 is nearly the same size but strictly a 2-row/5-passenger affair. Like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the Q8 prioritizes design and lifestyle over pure functionality. Still, the Q8 features plenty of SUV practicality and capability. It has a roomy cabin, standard all-wheel drive, and is rich with Audi's roster of innovative technology and exceptional interior design … it's a well-rounded player with enviable design, capability, and technology." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the Q8 prioritizes design and lifestyle as much as it does comfort and capability. It competes with other indulgent, coupe-inspired SUVs like the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and Porsche Cayenne Coupe … No matter which Q8 you choose, you'll get a very well-equipped, large two-row luxury SUV brimming with technology and sophistication." -- Autotrader
  • "As sporty as it is useful, the Q8 is the luxury two-row SUV to a T." -- Car and Driver (2020)
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