Audi has just unveiled their flagship SUV which combines an expressive four-door coupe design with high equipment features and a sporty driving experience. In other words, Audi is joining the growing large SUV-coupe group that was started by the BMW X6, which now also includes the Range Rover Sport and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
First shown as the Sport Concept last year, the Audi Q8 - positioned as the flagship model in their ‘Q’ SUV range of models, is based largely on the Q7 model but substantially different dimensions to project the four-door coupe design. The roofline is obviously lower, while the wider body sits on the same wheelbase as the sister Q7.
Being the flagship model, the design team have created the new face of the Q family, through the new ‘Singleframe’ architecture in an octagonal shape. Other design details that take cues from the original Quattro include the gently inclined D-pillars and wheel arch blisters. The 22-inch wheels are also the largest on an Audi.
At the tailgate, a light strip connects the tail lamps which have a technical, digital character to the lighting graphics. The gloss black panel under the light strip is also another element from the original Audi Quattro.
While no engine details have been released, all Q8 models will feature a mild hybrid with 48-volt primary electrical systems. The mild hybrid system consists of a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter. In the Sport Concept, which also featured this mild hybrid system, the combined system output together with a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine was 476 hp and 700 Nm of torque.
The Q8 Sport Concept’s mild hybrid powertrain delivered 476 hp and 700 Nm of torque
On the chassis technology, Audi will equip the Q8 with a purely mechanical centre differential transfer that provides a front-to-rear torque bias of 40:60, where additional drive force can be transferred the rear axle when required. Optional items include an air suspension system and rear-wheel steering that turn the rear wheels by as much as 5 degrees for all-round stability and agility. Performance tests were also done at the famed 21 kilometres of Nurburgring.
Opening the frameless doors and one is greeted by an interior that is bespoke to the Q8. Similar in concept to the new A8 limousine and A7 Sportback, the dashboard of the Q8 houses a dual-touchscreen setup. The upper display in 10.1-inch size is used for controlling infotainment and the navigation system. A smaller display in 8.6-inch size below places controls for air conditioning and other convenience features.
An online service in the MMI Navigation Plus recognizes the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys and perform intelligent suggestions on the route planning.
Audi will also introduce the remote parking pilot feature in early 2019. This feature allows the driver to egress from the Q8, and park the vehicle in a tight spot through the myAudi app on their smartphone. Up to five radar sensors, six cameras, 12 ultrasound sensors, and a laser scanner feed data to the central computer in the Q8 to allow for a safe operation of this driver assistance.
The Audi Q8 will be available for sale in Europe by the third quarter of this year.