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Used test: Audi Q8 vs Range Rover Velar
Buy either of these uber-stylish coupe SUVs at three years old and you could save a fortune, but which makes more sense? We've got the answer...
Audi Q8 50 TDI quattro S line
List price when new £65,040
Price today £49,000*
Available from 2018-present
Based on the class-leading Q7 but with two fewer seats and much sportier handling.
Range Rover Velar D240 R-Dynamic HSE
List price when new £64,620
Price today £46,000*
Available from 2018-present
This Velar might only pack a 2.0-litre punch in this version but it is cheaper than the Q8 to buy.
*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
To some, the concept of a coupé SUV might seem a bit of a contradiction. After all, a coupé is by its nature compromised in terms of interior space, with practicality often sacrificed on the altar of style, while an SUV is all about space and comfort and ease of use.
But with the huge rise in the popularity of the SUV concept, it was only a matter of time before the two were cleverly fused together. After all, five-door coupés such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé proved long ago that it was possible to combine practicality with a healthy dose of style, and soon a whole new breed of coupé SUVs emerged to strike that same balance.
One of the most popular is the Audi Q8, which is based on the regular Audi Q7 luxury SUV. It swaps the Q7’s third row of seats for a tapering roofline and a much more imposing front end. In the other corner, the upmarket Range Rover Velar may be the firm’s most road-focused model, but its glamorous looks have won it many admirers - in many ways, it’s a natural rival for the Q8.
Buy either of these two cars at three years old and you’ll save enough on the price of a new one to pay for a six-month luxury round the world cruise for all the family. But which coupé SUV should you choose? Read on to find out.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
There are some pretty big differences under the bonnets of the cars we've got on test here.
With 237bhp from its (now-discontinued) D240 twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine, the Velar isn’t exactly malnourished, yet the Q8 trumps it quite comfortably, thanks to a 3.0-litre V6 diesel that packs a thumping 282bhp. True, you can buy a more powerful 3.0-litre V6 Velar (the D300), but it will cost you more, even on the used market - we reckon you'd have to up the budget to at least £50,000 for one of the same age.
While the Q8 sprinted from 0-60mph in 6.3sec in our tests, the Velar could manage only 8.6sec, some 1.3sec slower than Land Rover’s figure. The Velar was also significantly slower during our rolling acceleration tests, taking 2.4sec longer to get from 30-70mph, for example.
But let’s put things into perspective here: the Velar will be brisk enough for most people. It still gets up to motorway speeds in a respectable time and overtaking isn’t too fraught.
The Q8 doesn’t just go like a hot hatch in a straight line; it would give one a nasty surprise on a twisty road, too. All versions come with adaptive air suspension that’s uncanny in its ability to keep this 2.2-tonne SUV upright in corners. Grip is impressive, while the steering is precise and more consistently weighted than the Velar’s, making it easier to place the car exactly where you want it.
Meanwhile, the Velar leans over in corners, with little sense that its body movements are being controlled. And while air suspension is an option, it’s not one that sharpens up the handling a great deal, so you can’t make the most of the accurate steering.
Take a less challenging route, however, and the Velar’s squidgy standard suspension means it’s noticeably more comfortable on its standard 21in wheels. It wafts along pleasantly, doing a fine job of smoothing out road imperfections, whereas the Q8, on the optional 22in wheels of our test car, always feels like it’s fidgeting over something.
Sadly, while the Velar has a ride that soothes, it’s louder than the Q8 at all speeds, letting in more wind whistle and tyre roar, and its engine doesn’t sound as sweet.
Both cars have automatic gearboxes that change gear smoothly most of the time but are hesitant to respond when you ask for a burst of acceleration. This can make entering a busy road or roundabout a leap of faith.
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