Eager to cash in on the luxury SUV/coupe segment currently dominated by rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi has revealed the Q8 concept. Portending a future production Q8 that will come to market in 2018, the Bombay Blue crossover show car portrays the greatest evolution of Audi’s current design language in years, with a gaping maw that makes it look like no other vehicle currently produced by the German brand, as well as frameless windows to give it more of a proper four-door-coupe feel.
Dimensionally, the Q8 concept is very much a chopped Audi Q7. Sitting on a wheelbase just 0.3 inch shorter than that of the Q7, the four-passenger Q8 concept’s 198.0-inch overall length and 67.2-inch height fall short of its three-row counterpart by 1.6 and 1.3 inches, respectively; however, the concept’s broad hips result in an additional 2.9 inches of width compared with the Q7. Audi chose to emphasize the Q8 concept’s breadth by implementing a full-length taillight design and 1980s-Quattro-inspired design cues such as flared fenders at all four wheels. A wide, raked C-pillar and additional intakes atop the concept’s eight-point grille further tie the crossover’s design to that of the classic Audi rally car.
The Q8 concept does more than just preview a new Audi model, though. Inside, passengers are greeted to a barrage of touchscreens, which Audi says portend a system coming to the new A8. Nevertheless, we hope the brand’s flagship sedan refrains from the Q8 concept’s screen overload. While Audi didn’t provide much in the way of interior dimensions, the company claims the crossover maintains “ample” headroom for rear passengers despite its sleeker roofline. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for cargo volume, which, at 22 cubic feet, is 16 cubic feet less than the Q7 affords behind its second row, not to mention 5 cubic feet less than the similarly sized and styled BMW X6.
Underhood sits a 333-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and a 134-hp motor integrated within the crossover’s eight-speed automatic transmission. Together, the hybrid powertrain makes a total of approximately 443 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, enough oomph to push the crossover from zero to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds and on to a governed top speed of 155 mph. Meanwhile, a rear-mounted lithium-ion battery pack is good for 37 miles of all-electric driving range and can be charged in approximately two and a half hours when plugged into a 240-volt, 30-amp outlet.
Amazingly, Audi refrained from adding any noteworthy self-driving tech to the car. Still, we’re told the production Q8 likely will offer such features, as the crossover’s front end is designed to accommodate the technology behind its grille and bumper cover.
When the Q8 eventually makes its way to market at the end of the year, expect the low-slung crossover “coupe” to include a smorgasbord of powertrain options, including a V-6, a V-8, a gasoline-electric hybrid e-tron model, and possibly even an RS Q8 with a 500-plus-hp twin-turbocharged V-8. Consumers across the pond are also bound to see a handful of diesel options; however, we’re not counting on Audi equipping U.S.-bound Q8 models with this engine option. No matter the powertrain, though, expect the Q8 to sport a premium of at least $5000 to $10,000 over the Q7. We will know more later in the year, when Audi is expected to formally reveal the production Q8.