Charlie Cooksey test drives the all-new Audi Q8 in Jabal Akhdar, Oman.
In early October, we were invited for the regional launch of the new Audi Q8 in Oman. Being my first trip to Oman and knowing the rough and mountainous terrain of the country – this was something to be excited about. It’s only a short flight from Bahrain to Muscat, but the difference in scenery is something to behold – for our readers to have visited Oman – you’ll know what I mean!
Upon arrival, we were greeted by some of the Audi Middle East team, who escorted us to the airport car park where a fleet of brand spankin’ new Q8’s in an array of vibrant and stylish colours were lined up (Where are the keys?! Lets’ go!). My first impression was that it is a well-defined SUV of class. After a short and informative brief from one of the Audi experts – it was time to hit the road. We had a long 3 hour drive ahead from Muscat airport to our stay in Jebel Akhdar… plenty of time to explore the capability and various functions of the car, whilst surrounded with the breath-taking views of Oman.
The new Q8 combines the best of two worlds – the elegance of a four-door luxury coupe and the convenient versatility of an SUV. The generously dimensioned interior is my personal highlight – classy brown leather seats, suede touches on the doors that add to the overall luxury feel, easy-to-understand symbols and a smooth touchscreen user friendly navigation system.
We checked in to what has been one of the most stunning hotels I’ve yet stayed at, Alila Jabal Akhdar. Perched 2,000 metres above sea level in the Al Hajar Mountains, this luxury hotel really set the tone for the trip. We had the rest of the day to relax, make use of the spa and eat some fine Lebanese dishes with the fellow journalists and Audi Middle East team.
Starting early morning the following day, we picked our cars for the day and set off in a convoy of Q8’s. This convoy of vibrant and elegant Q8’s must have looked pretty awesome to the locals. We made the descent down the mountain, which is trickier than it sounds, because you have to be extra careful not to cook the breaks by holding your foot on the break the whole descent… after a short while we swiftly got into the rhythm of it; this was done by flicking it into manual and using gears 2 and 3. I love making use of the ‘flappy paddle’ gear shifting.
We reached the off-roading area, where the cars soon went from gleaming clean to covered in dust. We climbed a mountain using an off reading track and at times it was difficult to see where we were going since the car in front was kicking up a huge dust cloud – this all added to the experience!
The new Q8 combines the best of two worlds – the elegance of a four-door luxury coupe and the convenient versatility of an SUV.
I was most impressed with how the Q8 handled and felt while driving on the rough off-road terrain… usually, it can get uncomfortable and bumpy, but credit to Audi who have produced a car that still remains so comfortable even in extreme conditions. I found that the Q8 is an SUV that looks good (even if it’s covered in mud!) and drives well in all terrain – from city driving to extreme off-roading.
For more information or to book a test drive please contact Audi Bahrain on
Tel. +973 1745 9933
Starting Price for Audi Q8: BD32,490