THE Audi Q8 concept has been unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, hinting at a smart-looking, hybrid engined fastback SUV that will one day challenge the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and BMW X6.
The concept shares a similar footprint to the current Q7 – it’s over five metres long and has a wheelbase of three metres – but is 40mm lower. A sloping roofline and tapered rear end mean the concept only has four seats, however the production version is expected to be available with a five-seat layout. The Q8 concept has a 630-litre boot.
Showcased as a plug-in hybrid e-tron model, the Q8 concept is powered by a 3.0-litre TFSI engine paired with an electric motor, which runs from a 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery. The powertrain develops a combined 438bhp and 700Nm of torque.
Audi claims 0-62mph takes 5.4 seconds and the car has a top speed of 155mph, while it emits 53g/km of CO2. Power is delivered via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive.
There’s a good chance the petrol-electric powertrain will be made available in the production model, because Audi says: “Their use in the study demonstrates their importance once again.” On electric power alone, the Q8 concept can travel up to 37 miles, and the lithium-ion battery takes two and a half hours to fully recharge.
Those wanting more performance will eventually be able to upgrade to an Audi SQ8. The high performance model is likely to use the same 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 diesel as the SQ7, developing 429bhp. When asked about the SQ8 in Detroit, Audi’s board member for sales and marketing, Dietmar Voggenreiter said, “That’s something I would like to do.”
The concept adopts a wider version of Audi’s single-frame octagonal grille, which is flanked by new matrix LED headlamps. The Q8 concept rides on 23-inch alloy wheels and has carbon-ceramic brakes.
At the back, the LED lights stretch across the width of the concept; Audi says this will be a signature on future e-tron models. Inside, the brand has kitted out the Q8 concept with a new wraparound dash and a raft of new tech. But as it has failed to supply any interior pictures, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for our first glimpse.
According to official details, Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display offers more functionality and a higher resolution. A new ‘control and display concept’ replaces a host of buttons with digital touchscreens on the dashboard and centre console.