After 3 long and weary years, I finally made it back to Italy! With the world essentially being put on pause these last couple of years, it was great to finally make it back to one of my favourite countries in the world for some semblance of normality. It was time to head back to the annual Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza, held at the correct time in May. Afterwards, it was time to take a tour of the largest lake in the country, Lake Garda. At the time I had no idea it was the most popular tourist destination for Germans, which only made this year’s Italian road trip car all the more appropriate. 

With the 2019’s road trip car, the brilliant Porsche Panamera Turbo S e-Hybrid Sport Turismo, being hard to top, the 2022 road trip car had a lot to live up to. Carrying on from the plug-in hybrid theme because I don’t quite fully trust EVs and Italy’s EV infrastructure to rely on one on a 2,000-kilometre road trip, is the Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? 

2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro: The Range 

For New Zealand, the Q8 range consists of a single petrol variant, the 55 TSFI at $161,090 powered by a 250kW/500NM turbo V6. There’s no TDI version anymore. Step up to the $207,090 SQ8 and you get a more potent 373kW/770NM 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. If you really need to get to places in a hurry the range-topping $255,090 RSQ8 is for you. With a frankly outrageous 441kW/800NM from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 there are few SUVs on the market that’ll be able to keep up with it. 

Sadly, the 60 TSFIe plug-in hybrid is yet to be available in New Zealand but I can still tell you all about it. 

2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro: First Impressions

Personally, I think the Q8 is one of the most attractive looking ‘SUV coupes’. It’s certainly easier on the eye than the chopped roof variants of the Cayenne, GLE, and X5. Perhaps that’s why it’s a better looking car as a whole rather than being a less practical version of an existing car. The Q8 is a standalone car; sure it shares the same platform as the Q7 but there’s no visual resemblance between the two. It’s wider, lower, and longer than the Q7; it’s its own thing. 

My test car came in a Kardashian-style shade of beige from Audi Individual’s extended colour palette. Mixed with the ‘Black Pack’ accent trim and 21-inch wheels, it made for a very attractive and head-turning spec. I do wish someone hadn’t pointed out the fake exhaust tips on the rear bumper though. 

What’s The Inside Like on a 2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro?

If you’ve spent time in modern Audi interiors then the Q8’s will be a familiar place to you. It’s got Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster which uses digital displays to give you one of the best driver displays on the market. The centre console is made up of two separate touchscreens, the top controls the main infotainment while the bottom takes care of your HVAC. Both are sharp and responsive to use. 

However, while the dual screens and simple-to-use infotainment are great from a user experience point of view, they do attract a lot of dust and fingerprints. Couple that with the extensive use of piano black trim and you’ve got yourself multiple surfaces that require a wipe down every so often. It got to a point where I just gave up cleaning it because by the time you need to do anything as simple as change the menu screen, turn on the AC, or set up the parking cameras you’ve got fingerprints on either one of the screens again. It’s not so obvious when you’re driving but as soon as you get in the car you’re just greeted by a dirty, greasy black mirror. 

That said, the rest of the materials in the Q8 are the usual high quality we’ve come to expect from Audi. I appreciated the perforated leather steering wheel a lot, particularly on warmer days. Perforated leather is underrated. While materials were top notch as we’ve come to expect from Audi, some of the build quality was less so. There was an irritating and unidentified creaking noise coming from the right side b-pillar. Every time we went over a bump, which was often on Italian roads, it’d just creak like an old Victorian house settling. 

Which is a shame because otherwise the Q8 was a lovely place to spend time in. There’s no hiding the Q8 is a big car so inside you’re spoiled for space. Alright, it’s not as large and practical as the less expensive Q7 but you don’t actually have to sacrifice that much space for the extra style. It’s easy to find the ideal driving position in the front and there’s plentiful space for three adults in the rear. In fact there’s so much space in the rear seats it’s easy to lose camera equipment there. The boot is noticeably smaller than a traditional SUV, even more so in this plug-in hybrid variant. Annoyingly, if you need more space removing the rear parcel shelf was a bit of a faff. It took about four of us to remove it. It should be a lot simpler than that. 

What Does The 2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro Drive Like?

Have I mentioned the Q8 is a large car? That’s the sensation that dominates the overall experience of driving this thing. Audi describes it as having the “elegance of a four-door coupe with practical versatility of a large SUV”. It certainly does have that but also has the impracticalities of both. It’s hard to judge where the front corners of the car is, much like in a swoopy large grand tourer. It’s perfectly fine on the motorway, even if it may have crossed the white line once or twice. But in towns and cities, the large size and not being able to see the corners does hinder manoeuvrability a tad. It does have all-wheel steering but even that wasn’t able to help hide its size. 

That’s not to say it’s a slouch. The combined turbocharged petrol V6 and hybrid electric motors gives it a total of 340kW and 700NM of torque, more than enough for most people’s needs. All that combined is enough to get this 2.4 tonne SUV from 0-100 km/h in a respectable 5.4 seconds. Fast and quick aren’t what I’d use to describe the Q8 PHEV by any means but it sure is brisk. Stamp on the accelerator pedal and the instant surge of electric torque comes in followed swiftly by that petrol engine. It’s got sufficient poke to push you into those plush seats. 

Audi’s hybrid system, much like that of the Panamera’s, was smooth in its transition from EV to hybrid modes. In addition to charging it from the mains, you could also use the petrol engine to charge the batteries. That worked well on long stints on the motorway because once we’d arrive into an urban area I could switch into pure zero-emissions driving. In EV mode the Q8 PHEV gives a taste of what a Q8 e-tron would be like. It does almost feel wrong driving a car this big in pure silence. The electric motors do a great job of propelling this behemoth around. The most range I saw from its batteries was for 40 kilometres, which for most uses is adequate. The claimed fuel consumption of the V6 and the electric motors is 2.7L/100km, in the real world I saw closer to 10L/100km. It’s not great but for a SUV this big and having to keep up with all the Italian driving style, it’s not too bad. 

Sharing the same platform as the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga, and Lamborghini Urus means the Q8 handles corners with composure. Considering what it is and what it’ll mainly be used for it handles rather well. It sits flat and never feels floaty. The Q8 does feel tuned to be softer than the Cayenne and Urus but even then it doesn’t roly poly around bends. 

Where it does excel is on long motorway drives. The noise insulation is incredible with only the wind noise around the large wing mirrors being audible at 130 km/h (Italy’s speed limits on the autostrada). The ride is forgiving, especially on rougher Italian surfaces. It never crashes or jolts the interior – something that surprised me given this car is equipped with sports air suspension and 22-inch wheels. The Q8 might just have one of the most supple ride comfort I’ve experienced in a modern German car.  

What’s The Competition For The 2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro?

Brand/ModelEnginePower/Torque, kW/NMFuel, L/100kmAcceleration, 0-100 kphPrice – High to Low
Mercedes-Benz GLE53 AMG3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel320/5209.35.3$194,300
Porsche Cayenne Coupe e-hybrid3.0-litre V6 petrol hybrid340/7002.65.1$183,700
Range Rover Sport 3.0-litre inline-6 petrol hybrid324/8400.85.8$180,000 (approx)
Audi Q8 60 TSFIe 3.0-litre V6 petrol hybrid340/7002.75.4$170,000+ (est)
BMW X5 xDrive45e3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel290/6002.55.6$161,900

What’s The Pros and Cons For The 2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro?

• Handsome looks and great presence
• Top-notch interior materials   
• Generous standard equipment
• Comfortable ride quality  
• Well-insulated cabin
• Fiddly rear parcel shelf   
• Mysterious creaking from rear pillar  
• Rivals have longer EV range

What Do We Think Of The 2022 Audi Q8 60 TFSIe quattro?

The Q8 is a great thing in its own right. It’s stylish, comfortable, and spacious. It was the perfect car to cover 2,000 kilometres of Italian roads. It’s a very likeable thing and with the plug-in drivetrain, adds an extra layer of usability in places that reward that. Personally, I don’t think EV range and more importantly infrastructure is quite there yet for lifestyle vehicles such as these to go fully EV. Certainly, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do the trip I did with this car across Northern Italy if it had been a pure electric car. 

That said, the plug-in hybrid tech did help offset what would’ve been a very thirsty road trip car. If, like me, you’re not ready to go into the deep end of electrification but want to dabble in it, these PHEVs are a great way to transition into it. It might not have the biggest EV range amongst its peers but the rest of the car makes up for a compelling overall package. 

Vehicle TypeSUV
Starting Price$170,000+ (est)
Tested Price$190,000+ (est)
Engine3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol + electric motor
Transmission8-speed automatic transmission
0 – 100 kph, seconds5.4
Spare WheelNone
Kerb Weight, Kg2415
Length x Width x Height, mm5006 x 1995 x 1701 mm
Cargo Capacity,
litres (third row/second row)
Fuel Tank, litres75
Fuel EfficiencyAdvertised Spec – Combined –  2.7L / 100km
Real World Test – Combined –  10L / 100km
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Turning circle13.3m
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
ANCAP Safety RatingsN/A
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Ken Saito
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love cars but it's worth a try. Grew up obsessed with them and want to pursue a career writing about them. Anything from small city cars to the most exotic of supercars will catch my attention.


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