Audi Q8 Concept Previews New SUV
Offering an early look at a new range-topping SUV expected to hit showrooms sometime in 2018, the Audi Q8 Concept was revealed in Detroit. Melding conventional SUV character with coupe-like styling, the aggressively edgy Q8 Concept is fitted with a potent plug-in gas/electric hybrid powertrain, Quattro all-wheel drive and loads of the automaker’s next-generation technology.
Similar in size and riding on the same wheelbase as the current Audi Q7, the Q8 Concept makes a strong visual statement that features the largest and boldest execution of the automaker’s Single Frame grille to date. The new nose also sets the theme for future Audi crossovers and SUVs. The 8-pointed grille is flanked by Audi’s digital laser matrix headlamps and prominent air intakes all set off with an aluminum blade element on the lower fascia area.
Sculpted body panels, frameless side-door glass, a sweeping roofline and beefy wheel arches that house 305/35 tires on massive 23-inch alloy wheels add impact to the Q8 Concept’s profile. The rear of this one-off features a fast-raked window, bespoke spoilers and a unique e-tron lighting signature along with an aluminum diffuser. The flared fenders and triangular C-pillar recall the original Audi Quattro Coupe.
Efficient and exhilarating
The Audi Q8 Concept is built on the same modular platform that underpins the current Q7 model. It uses production-style lightweight 5-link chassis elements coupled with a full adaptive air suspension system that can vary ride quality as well as increase ground clearance by 3.5 inches. Motivation for the show car is supplied by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that makes 329 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with an electric motor developing 134 horses and 243 lb-ft of twist, the front-mounted drivetrain turns out a combined 443 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Output passes through an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and is delivered to all four wheels. The motor is energized by a rear-mounted 17.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can provide just over 37 miles of pure EV range. Capable of on-the-fly regeneration, the Q8 can be fully recharged in about 2.5 hours using a 240V plug-in system.
Like other Audi e-tron systems, the concept’s hybrid management setup features a selection of range-optimization technologies including an efficiency assistant that gathers information from the driver, navigation system and even Audi Car-to-X services. It offers three driving modes – Hybrid, EV and Battery Hold – and under max acceleration can hit 62 mph in 5.4 seconds, reaching a top speed of 155 mph. The system is fully integrated with the Q8 Concept’s Quattro AWD package which features wheel-selective torque control to enhance cornering and overall stability.
New approach to cabin design
Smartly styled and offering individual seating for four, the Q8 Concept’s tastefully rendered passenger compartment matches colors, textures and premium materials chosen to foster “a cool and sporty atmosphere.” But beyond all the Nappa/Nubuck leather, soft-touch surfaces, aluminum accents and high-gloss carbon appliques, it showcases themes and tech solutions we can expect to see in future production Audi models. Topping that list is a new interactive digital display capable of systematically emphasizing the most important bits of information to the driver and passengers. These include an enhanced Virtual Cockpit that offers a higher resolution screen and a new head-up display as well as supplemental touchscreens that allow quicker, easier inputs while dispensing with the traditional touchpad and knob-driven Multi-Media Interface.
Like any other show car with production intent, we’re destined to see some changes to the Q8 Concept before its production version hits the showrooms. Whether that entails additional seats and more powertrain choices remains to be seen.
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