The Q8 muscles aside the rest of Audi’s SUV range to sit atop the pile, but does it live up to lofty expectations demanded of an “8” branded Audi? Q8EXPECTATIONS T THE lucky number 8 has been used by Audi on its topline cars: think A8 and R8. But its Q range has been conspicuously missing that number. No surprise then, that Audi has now filled that gap with the Q8, which looks to bring more “huat” to the four-ringed brand. In eye-searing Dragon Orange paint, the Audi Q8 cuts a towering figure parked amid a sea of same-same sedans in the office parking lot. Even though it’s one number up on the Q7, the Q8 is 66mm shorter and 35mm lower than its more upright sibling, but wider by 27mm. It retains the same wheelbase and axle track as the Q7, seeing as both cars are built on the MLB evo platform, which is shared with the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and yet-to-be-sold-here newVolkswagen Touareg. Slick lines and wide haunches (meant to evoke memories of the Ur-Quattro in the 80s) combined with squinty headlights and a pert rear give it an aggressive look. Audi’s new gaping octagonal “Singleframe” grille debuts in the Q8, which is so large that small animals could be sucked up into its radiator. It does turn heads, though. Behind the grille is Audi’s turbocharged 3-litre V6, good for 340hp and a 5.9-second sprint to 100km/h. The monstrous 500Nm of torque guarantees the Q8 will win any traffic light grand prix with all but the fastest cars. A mild-hybrid 48-volt electrical system is mated to the engine, with a boot-mounted rechargeable lithium-ion battery feeding a belt-driven alternator- starter (BAS) motor in front. Thanks to this system, the Q8 can coast between 55-180km/h with the engine switched off, and the BAS restarts the motor instantly when you need it. On deceleration, the start-stop function kicks in from as early as 22 km/h, while the BAS can F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 T O R Q U E 47