Audi Q8 e-Tron – Framing a Life-sized Gradient Puzzle

I’m sure you’re aware of jigsaw puzzles. Little squares with inward or outward nubs of varying positions that fit each other in a specific way to create an image. It can go from as simple as a 9-piece picture for kids to those into the thousands that are preferred by hobbyists. The next level to that are the enthusiasts who seek harder and harder pictures that comprises thousands of pieces. One of the hardest to complete, in my opinion, is the gradient puzzle.

The gradient puzzle is basically a color map of all known colors, transitioning from one hue to another in varying intensity. Now stretch that gradient map into a size as large as a 6-seater dining table, and those transitions become tricky. Finishing it can become a mess and it’s not surprising if you miss a piece or two along the way. Luckily, the missing pieces are at the borders. The question now is how would you frame it? Will you cover the line that has the missing piece/s with the frame’s border or not? 

Such is my thought after driving the Audi Q8 e-Tron. It is definitely one hell of a car. I’m not sure where the fault lies but I expected it to be perfect given that this is the next generation of Audi vehicles. As I found out, even the Germans are not exempt from ‘you can’t have it all.’ 

I’ll admit I was intimidated by the Q8 e-Tron. I tried to get away from it and opted for the diesel variant but last minute changes happened and I drove away from PGA cars in a battery-electric SUV. It’s not a total love at first drive kind of thing, but I immediately knew why the Q8 e-Tron is enticing. The Q8 will break you in gently no matter what car you came from. The brake pedal is soft but you will feel the discs bite immediately, giving you a better sense of stopping even without a kilometer in. The same goes for the throttle that knows if you’re being light, if you just want to overtake, or you wanna be throttle happy and waste the battery charge for a few minutes of smiles. The adaptive air suspension also allows it to sit low on the ground making it more nimble for those quick changes and curves.

Once you get into the usual city traffic spots, you’ll realize the Audi magic happening. The Q8 is a wide car, yet the geometry of the cabin from the driver’s position makes it seem like you’re driving something smaller. There are less physical buttons on the center console but Audi implemented a feedback system so you’ll feel if you have indeed made the click you wanted. The memory function of the driver’s seat is also very easy to use unlike in other cars with the same feature. 

The magic also happens for the other occupants in the car. My wife enjoyed the different massage patterns in her seat (that’s also available on the driver’s), that is joined by a strong cooling system that we really appreciated during the hot summer days. Rear occupants were also delighted with the presence of pillar vents for them, as well as the rear dual-zone climate control so they can adjust their own cooling without my aid as the driver. 

It also has a few tricks at night. You can decorate the cabin with two hues of lighting in both rows. The Q8 also starts flaunting its Matrix headlights that goes further and wider on the road without blinding oncoming cars. Push out the doors and the bright puddle lamps will ensure you won’t step on anything undesirable on your way out. 

It’s all rainbows and butterflies until the kamotes of the road made themselves apparent. The Q8, with all its glory and driving prowess, does not have an autonomous emergency braking system. It only comes with an audio and visual cue. In a way, it forced me to be more alert. But as someone who just recently came from an accident, I’d rather have a more intelligent system that will assist me. Then on the highway, it also lacks adaptive cruise control while the lane keeping system can use a bit more refinement. Some people can make do without these two, but those coming from a more mainstream car that already has these (while being cheaper) will certainly raise an eyebrow.

This is what I’m talking about with my gradient dilemma. Will you look for the missing pieces – in this case – look for another car? Or will you let the frame’s borders cover up the missing tiles. With the Audi Q8 e-Tron, that means immersing yourself fully in what this electric SUV has and turning a blind eye on what it lacks. 

The saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder rings true for the gradient puzzle and the Audi Q8 e-Tron. From my perspective, no one will know if there’s a line of the puzzle hidden in the frame’s borders. Everyone that will see it will only marvel at its magnificence and be amazed that I was able to finish such an intricate work. As for the Audi, only I will know it’s not perfect. My wife will be too busy relaxing, having a massage, on the front passenger seat beside me. 

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