• All-new model goes on sale in late 2018
  • Flagship offers 2-row, 5-passenger seating
  • Wider, lower than Q7
  • Quattro all-wheel drive standard

 

Audi has taken the wraps of its new flagship SUV, the 5-passenger 2019 Audi Q8 during the German automaker’s Brand Summit in China. The all-new Q8 introduces a new design approach for the upscale division as well as offering advanced technology and connectivity.

The revamped styling signals a shift in Audi’s design philosophy. While the front end is still dominated by a larger single frame grille, the opening takes on a more octagonal shape with a pronounced satin finish collar around it. This bolder nose also sports large auxiliary inlets and a lower front skid plate that gives the Q8 a more traditional SUV look to it than the more crossover-inspired Q7. In profile, the 2019 Audi Q8 has a sleeker roof design that while not quite 4-door coupe like the Mercedes-Benz GLE or BMW X6, lends a sporty flair to the overall shape.

At the rear, the twin exhaust outlets are tied together by another panel that is more skid plate than rear diffuser. Large alloy rims fill the bulging wheel arches to add to the vehicle’s muscular look. Audi says the Q8 is inspired by the original Quattro sports coupe as seen in the sail panel look of the D-pillar.

New-look cabin

The interior is dominated by a larger, horizontal dash board with vents integrated along the top edge of the panel. The main instrument panel and center screen are augmented by a new touch response Man-Machine Interface (MMI) system located beneath infotainment display and the shift lever. The new MMI has illuminated touch points for various vehicle functions dissolving into a large, black inlay when not in use. Ambient lighting is used to trace various interior lines, which adds to the cabin’s elegance.

Audi says the new MMI uses haptic and audio feedback and says its use is as intuitive as a smartphone. Logically arrayed options allow for quick and easy access to desired vehicles functions and the display can be configured with movable favorite-type buttons. Audi also says its natural-language voice commands will make it easier to use navigation and other vehicle systems. In addition to the advanced MMI, Audi says the Q8 will also boast a Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System.

2019 Car Reviews: First takes on new models

Audi said it would announce powertrain and performance specifications later, but said all Q8 models will be equipped with Quattro all-wheel drive with basic front/rear drive split of 40:60 percent with the ability to transfer most of the power to the axle with the most grip. The Q8 will have an adaptive suspension and a number of drive modes suitable for both on- and off-road use. Pricing will also be given closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date.

 

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