A full size luxury SUV doesn’t always mean the most seating capacity and cargo, proven by the Audi Q8 Concept unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show.
Soon to take the top rung on Audi’s SUV ladder, the Q8 Concept that made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show takes the size and footprint of the Q7 and plucks a few seats out, coupifies the roofline and dials up the luxury a few more ticks. It’s the ultimate expression of I don’t need all of this, but I can afford it.
And it’s sexy too. Showcasing what will be a production model, the Q8 Concept draws on the brand’s next-generation styling language inside and out with sharper angles, blockier proportions and in this case, more aggression.
The facial features for instance are bolder and more sculpted than the wallpapered on effect we’ve seen in many recent Audi models. The wheel arches and surrounding sheetmetal are also more athletic in their form, and they have to be to hold those huge 23-inch wheels.
It’s side profile and rear three-quarter view are certainly more attractive than the recently launched Q7 with the more angled rear hatch. In fact from the rear view I’m seeing a lot of vintage Audi GT Quattro here.
Powering the Q8 Concept and likely what will come to the production model is a powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain composed of a 333 horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a robust 134 horsepower electric motor between them.
Together they can belt out 442 horsepower and an astounding 516 pound-feet of torque for all-four wheels to push you along with. Audi says the Q8 Concept in spite of its heft can hit sixty miles per hour in 5.4 seconds.
Best yet with all of its power and luxury, with a full charge on board and its strong 37 mile EV only range and conventional hybrid operation modes it can achieve up 102 mpg based on initial testing. Not bad.
Moving inside, the Q8 Concept shows off the next-generation of Audi’s interior design and technology initiatives. Seating for four is the name of the game here, in high style and luxury. If you want a work horse with versatility, buy a Q7.
In terms of the cockpit, buttons and knobs are a thing of the past, replaced by sweeping slabs of touch sensitive control panels and touchscreens. Backlit and shiny, they look splendidly high tech along side the Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument display. There still remains some hardware here, the steering wheel, pedals and the console gear selector.
It is very nice looking and with Audi’s reputation for high-end materials and build quality it ought to be an amazing place to sit. Will the controls be easy and intuitive to use? Time will tell.
Audi does tell us the Q8 Concept is very close to the production Q8 that will go on sale in 2018. Pricing? It’s hard to say but expect something close to $100,000.