Audi’s intentions to launch a new flagship SUV above the Q7 has just been reinforced with the Q8 Sport Concept being showcased at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show.
A further development of the Q8 Concept shown earlier this year at Detroit, the Sport Concept showcases another possible powertrain setup for us to expect with the production model.
Whilst the original Q8 Concept had a plug-in hybrid setup with net system output of 442hp and 700Nm, the Q8 Sport Concept offers less in the way of electrification but a greater amount of brute force, shoving out 476hp and 700Nm from its mild hybrid powertrain.
Consequently, the performance numbers of the Q8 Sport Concept are accordingly improved, with 0-100 km/h time cut from 5.4 to 4.7 seconds. Maximum speed too, is raised, from 250 to 275 km/h.
Despite its greater dependence on fossil fuel power, the Q8 Sport Concept’s engine is no less sophisticated than the Q8 Concept’s PHEV setup. It borrows the SQ7 TDI’s forced induction arrangement in utilizing two exhaust-driven turbochargers supplemented by an electric supercharger to boost its 3.0-litre petrol V6 engine to generate 450hp.
Able to spin at 70,000rpm in less than 250 milliseconds, the electric supercharger provides virtually lag-free boosting for the engine at all revs, stepping in for the two turbochargers as they spool up.
Its mild hybrid system, meanwhile, consists of a starter-generator placed between the engine and transmission that alternates in function between recuperating excess energy and providing a boost of 20kW and 170Nm on the go, leading to the aforementioned net system output of 476hp and 700Nm.
Electricity for the starter-generator is stored in a lithium-ion traction battery with 0.9 kWh energy storage capacity. It is, Audi claims, sufficient to keep the Q8 Sport Concept moving purely on electric power in stop-start traffic.
The considerable power consumption of the electric superchargers as well as its mild hybrid drive system necessitates the use of a 48V electrical architecture in the Q8 Sport Concept.
In appearance, the Q8 Sport Concept notably carries more aggressive styling details than the earlier Q8 Concept although the basic silhouette and proportions remain identical. The Sport’s more sinister orange-black exterior finish contrasts the cooler blue-silver theme of the earlier car.
Up front, the Q8 Sport Concept’s singleframe grille receives a darkened honeycomb grille and its bumper air inlets are made larger than the Q8 Concept. Astern, aluminium blades add a detail of aggression to the fake air vent below the tail lights. Also, the elegant integrated tail pipes of the Q8 Concept make way for larger ovoid-shaped exhausts.
Inside, the Q8 Sport Concept’s four-seater cabin previews what surely is Audi’s next-generation interior design. In line with present design trends, the number of buttons are minimized with a greater acreage of screens all of which, aside from the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, offer touch interface.