Now we are all aware of how this year started off, with the world almost grinding to a halt because of a virus whose name used to remind us of a cold beverage. One of the worst-hit during this pandemic has been our dear auto industry, as carmakers struggled to cope with losses all around. However, as the dust kind of begins to clear, it is becoming evident that the landscape is getting more recognizable. Several manufacturers are already clearing out their old stock to make room for better, newer ones. Keeping up with the spirit of the season is none other than the four-ringed heavyweight from Ingolstadt. Luxury car buyers rejoice, Audi India has just launched the Q8 Celebration variant in India at Rs 98.98 lakh (ex-showroom), which makes it a massive Rs 33 lakh less expensive than the next variant in the Q8 range, the Technology trim.
The standard Audi Q8 made its official debut in India back in early 2020 – in comparison to the Celebration trim, this Technology variant is priced at a relatively hefty Rs 1.33 crore (ex-showroom). Despite its steep price tag, it wasn’t long before the Audi Q8 carved a niche for itself within the upper echelons of luxury car buyers in the subcontinent. Now, with the introduction of the far more affordable yet similarly attractive Celebration variant, Audi can certainly hope to lure more buyers than ever before. Bookings have already been opened for the new Audi Q8 Celebration, with deliveries to the initial customers expected to commence in November.
To achieve the lower price of the Q8 Celebration, Audi has had to make a few compromises in terms of the Q8’s standard equipment list. Among the features that have been left out, two of the most tangible exclusions include the excellent Bang & Olufsen premium sound system and adaptive air suspension. While there isn’t any work-around for the B&O audio package, the standard steel springs of the Audi Q8 are quite adept at managing the delicate balance between sporty driving and a compliant ride. In that regard, you don’t really have to feel short-changed. The one other feature that has been given a miss on the Celebration variant is Audi’s gesture-activated tailgate operation. Finally, the alloy wheels of the Celebration are only 19-inches (not 20s or 21s, unlike other Q8 variants). However, I doubt these two things are something you will seriously miss on a day-to-day basis; unless, of course, you decide to play Top Trumps regularly with your fellow well-heeled luxury car owners.
On a more serious note, the Audi Q8 Celebration does come pretty well loaded with an extensive array of features and gadgets. Some of the best examples include the futuristic all-LED Matrix headlamps and dynamic turn indicators, a panoramic glass roof, LED ambient interior lighting, a wireless phone charging pad, and a 10-speaker sound system. There is also Audi’s beautiful and utterly useful Virtual Cockpit setup – these ropes in an 8.1-inch digital display for the driver, plus a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment head unit for the latest iteration of the brand’s popular MMI Navigation Plus system.
The Audi Q8 Celebration doesn’t miss out on any of the safety gear, either. You will be well taken care of, compliment of this SUV’s Quattro all-wheel-drive technology with a self-locking center differential, a plethora of 8 airbags, electronic stability control and traction management systems, hill-hold assist, and Audi Pre-Sense and Park Assist among several more nannies. The Audi Q8 is undeniably an attractive car. Its large ‘Single frame’ front grille, well-contoured body lines and creases sloping couple-like roof, and with its wide and confident stance, there is an air of charisma and sportiness about this luxury SUV that many would find endearing. The Q8 Celebration will be available with four distinct themes for the interior, and what a well-made and gorgeous interior this is. Everything feels sturdy and well bolted, and the engineers at Audi have done an excellent job at cocooning the passenger cabin from the ruckus and chaos of the outside world.
While the interior of the Audi Q8 isn’t as roomy as that of the Q7, you will be surprised with the headroom and shoulder space you will find in the Q8 – it is quite a wide vehicle, measuring nearly 2 meters across. As for its other dimensions, the Q8 measures 4,986mm in length, 1,705mm in height, and it has a wheelbase of 2,995mm. With all seats in place, the maximum boot space of the Audi Q8 stands at 605 litres, which is quite practical for a lifestyle luxury crossover SUV.
The Celebration variant of the Q8 is powered by the marque’s 3.0-litre TFSI petrol engine and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This six-cylinder turbocharged unit develops 340hp with 500Nm of torque and is also assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system for improved efficiency and responsiveness. Given its near 2-tonne mass, the Audi Q8 Celebration will still get past the 100 kmph mark in less than 6 seconds, eventually topping out at an electronically restricted 250 kmph. However, if money is no object, you could always go all out and get yourself the range-topping RS Q8. Its price tag of Rs 2.07 crore is a little out there, but with 600hp and 800Nm on tap, the RS Q8 will smash 100 kmph in a piffling 3.8 seconds!
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