2018 Audi Q8 50 TDI first drive: I can feel your halo

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since BMW first launched the X6 – the so-called ‘sports activity coupe’ defined a new level of conspicuous consumption, offering a huge footprint with massively reduced practicality. Now Audi is getting in on the action with its new Q8, a range-topping halo SUV for the Q-branch with sleek coupe-style styling. But wait – this car has a decent-sized boot, room for five and it actually looks pretty good…did Audi get the right memo?

2018 Audi Q8 first drive
2018 Audi Q8 first drive

More from the Q8:

First impressions? 

We’ve been talking about aggressive styling from Audis for years, and we’ve grown used to – gasp, maybe even slightly blasé about – what was once shocking. Fortunately the Q8 shakes things up a bit, with an assertive, angular design that defines a new look for Audi’s SUV range. 

Park the Q8 near a Q5 or Q7 and already they’re going to look slightly bland and unassuming. The Q8 has some beautiful details, although some might be offended at the way the front end folds around a grille that’s bigger than ever. 

The rear light treatment in particular is something of a treat – which is good, because that’s what most people will be looking at. We’ll see it on a few more models yet, it’s the new signature for Audi’s premium products. If we compare Q8 with Q7, the new car is 66mm shorter (mostly lost from the rear overhang), 35mm lower (the roof is flatter)...