Audi has pulled the wraps off its Q8 concept at the Detroit motor show, offering a clear glimpse of what’s to come in its future flagship SUV, which is due to be released next year.
The concept sports a striking exterior design that combines the large footprint of an SUV with the sleek lines of a coupé. It is powered by an e-tron-badged plug-in hybrid powertrain made up of a 3.0 TFSI petrol engine – which produces 334hp and 500Nm – and an electric motor.
A 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery is located at the rear. It gives a claimed all-electric range of around 60km and, with a full tank of fuel, the Q8 has a claimed maximum range of up to 1,000km.
The electric motor adds 136hp and 317Nm, bringing the combined system outputs to 449hp and 700Nm, which is enough for the Q8 to hit 100kph from rest in just 5.4sec and go on to a limited top speed of 250kph.
The concept uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with permanent quattro four-wheel drive. It features a torque control system to improve agility by braking an inside wheel when cornering at speed.
The car sits on five-link adaptive air suspension, front and rear. Adjustable damping control allows the driver to switch from Comfort mode to a firmer Sport mode, with the different settings raising or lowering the car by as much as 90mm.
At 5,020mm long and 2,040mm wide, the Q8 concept’s footprint is larger than that of a Range Rover but it stands 210mm shorter at 1,700mm. The car’s wheelbase is 3,000mm, which is 78mm longer than that of a Range Rover, and it rides on 23-inch two-tone alloy wheels. Much like the smaller Q2, Audi’s designers have used the arches to give the lower section of the car a more muscular stance.
An octagonal grille, bigger than any fitted to a current production Audi, dominates the concept’s front end. It features a honeycomb pattern inlay and extends down towards the front bumper, where it is undercut by an aluminium blade.
The Q8’s headlights follow the lines of the grille and bonnet and feature digital Matrix laser technology that can project one million pixels onto the road ahead. It also has LED daytime running lights, which double as dynamic indicators, mounted within the headlight cluster.
At the rear, the tail-lights extend across the full width of the car and use LED technology to allow the single strip of lights to act as brake lights and dynamic indicators.
The frameless doors are opened by touch sensors that detect the presence of a hand or fingers and then open the doors automatically to a defined angle.
Inside, the Q8 concept has four leather-wrapped seats and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit technology. The digital displays are headed by a 12.3-inch TFT screen that features a new design for its menus and works with augmented reality to project virtual graphics over the windscreen. Additionally, the Q8 has a 630-litre boot — 80 litres bigger than that of the Range Rover. The Q8 concept will inspire a production version that’s due to go on sale next year.
The Q8 is scheduled to be built at Volkswagen’s Bratislava plant in Slovakia, alongside the current Q7 and future versions of the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.