Audi has called up a strapping diesel derivative to pack down with its petrol powered Q8 teammate in its flagship luxury sports utility vehicle squad. The Q8 50 TDI quattro comes to market with power-packed performance and looks to match.

Powered by a 3.0-litre TDI V6 engine producing 210 kW of power and 600 Nm of torque (the Q8 55 TFSI 3.0-litre turbo petrol V6 puts out 250 kW and 500 Nm), the Q8 50 TDI can hit 100 km/h from rest in an impressive 6.3 seconds.

Mated with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with quattro all-wheel drive technology, fuel consumption according to Audi combined is 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres, with savings of up to 0.7 litres per 100km, thanks to help from 48 Volt mild-hybrid technology.

A $11,100 Premium plus package includes 22-inch five-spoke alloy wheels ($1000 more for 22-inch alloy wheels in five V-spoke design), adaptive air suspension, HD Matrix LED headlights, privacy glass, 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3-D sound system, four-zone air conditioning with rear touch control panel and the colour interior lighting package.

An optional full leather package, with a suite of additional items in fine Nappa leather is also available for $8900.

The Audi Q8 50 TDI has the comprehensive Audi service plan package, costing $2040 for three years or $2960 for five years.

On the street, the Q8 50 TDI quattro stands alongside the Audi Q8 55 TFSI quattro variant with the same sports coupe characteristics – strong contours and taut athletic surfaces that are a perfect foil for the large single frame octagonal grille.

The test vehicle sported the S line exterior package, with 21-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with high beam assist and adaptive suspension with damper control.

The tailgate was power operated and electrically adjustable / foldable exterior mirrors were heated and had memory settings.

At nearly five metres long, there is plenty of room in the cabin for folk in the five seats – no third row to take up a generous 600-plus litres of luggage space. With the rear seats folded this expands to a van-like 1755 litres.

And despite its swoopy coupe looks, the roof makes room for the taller passenger.

Electrically adjustable seats are clothed in Valcona leather and have 4-way lumbar support. Front seats are heated and ventilated the second-row bench seat with 40:20:40 split fold slides.

This is what we have come to expect from Audi, the latest virtual cockpit with MMI Navigation Plus with easy-to-handle touch responses. Add Audi Connect Plus, smart phone interface, with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and wireless charging.

Entertainment is in tune with the latest technology: DAB+ digital radio and Audi 180-Watt sound system with 10 speakers, six-channel amplifier, which extends to two rear USB outlets

Powered by a 3.0-litre TDI V6 engine producing 210 kW of power and 600 Nm of torque, mated with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with quattro all-wheel drive technology, all helped by 48 Volt mild-hybrid technology.

The five-star ANCAP rating is at 2019 levels. Safety is well taken care of by 39 driver assistance systems to provide active and passive safety protection for occupants.

Included are Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive drive assist (adaptive cruise control with stop & go, with traffic jam assist), lane departure warning, pre-sense front and rear, lane change warning and rear cross-traffic assist.

Add to this head-up display and 360-degree cameras, including kerb view for easy maneuvering.

With a range of dial-up driving modes from ‘comfort’ to ‘dynamic’ the Q8 50 TDI can be tailored to the driver’s mood. The car carries the family trait of feeling heavy to drive – because it is hefty – and steering tries to compensate, leading to lack of feedback at times, while the lane keeping assist can chip in when it seriously is not wanted. Thankfully the latter can be turned off.

Gear shifts in slow traffic were almost imperceptible but there was a slight hesitancy at times off the mark.

Audi says the 48V mild hybrid system saves up to 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres with its ability to call on the idle stop / start system from 22 km/h as the vehicle comes to rest and switches the engine off under load or coasting to save fuel.

The test vehicle recorded 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and suburbs, and 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres at motorway speeds.

This is a big car but because of the presence of five seats and not seven, the space is given over to occupants and their gear. There’s plenty of storage, with bottle holders in all doors, a pair of cup holders between the front seats, plus two in a fold-down rear armrest. Centre-console storage includes a wireless phone charger.

Air vents for the dual zone climate control extend to the back seating positions as do two USB points and a 12-volt power outlet.

Whatever the vehicle there’s always room for a diesel driver or two. The Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro fits well into the oil-burner segment without forsaking the premium SUV luxuries. As for performance, it carries the coupe flag too.

Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro $129,900
Audi Q8 55 TFSI quattro $129,900
Premium Plus package $11,000
Full Leather package $8900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Audi dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Audi Q8 50 3.0 L TDI Turbo 6-cylinder diesel 8sp automatic AWD SUV)

Capacity: 2.967 litres
Configuration: 6 cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 210 kW @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 600 Nm @ 2250-3250 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel, 48V mild hybrid electric
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 181 g / km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed Tiptronic sports automatic, quattro AWD

Length: 4986 mm
Wheelbase: 2995 mm
Width: 1995 mm
Height: 1705 mm
Turning Circle: ??? metres
Tare Mass: 2400 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 85 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Three years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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