It has the styling of a coupe but the spaciousness of an SUV. It’s the Audi Q8 luxury concept vehicle and it was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It’s the basis for a production model that Audi plans to launch in 2018.
“The Q8 concept is an Audi in peak form,” said Dietmar Voggenreiter, member of the board of management for sales and marketing at Audi AG. “It demonstrates the strengths of our brand in both technology and design while providing a glimpse at a future full-size production SUV. With its next-generation display and control solutions, we are enabling customers to experience connectivity in a whole new way.”
The plug-in hybrid concept is able to go from 0 to 62.1 miles in 5.4 seconds. It has a 9.8-foot wheelbase so it’s plenty spacious. Without a third row and no rear middle seat, the vehicle fits four. Along with being spacious, the Q8 concept is stylish. It has a sporty and bold exterior and is packed with tons of new technology. Let’s take a further look at this near-production vehicle.
When checking out the front of the Q8 concept, it’s hard to miss its oversized octagonal grille. Six upright double bars structure it while also emphasizing its height. The outer air inlets, meanwhile, contribute to the Q8’s bold look. They were designed to have a deep and dynamic appearance like the intakes of a turbine. Signature LED lighting, including flat, wedge-shaped headlights, accentuate the vehicle’s dynamic design.
From the side, the Q8 looks just as athletic and powerful. Contributing to the flat roofline are the doors, which do not have window frames. Speaking of the doors, users don’t have to physically open them. That’s because they open as soon as they detect hand contact via touch sensors. It’s a feature that could definitely help you out if were carrying a bunch of different items or weren't feeling that well.
Audi says the Q8 concept features a number of design elements reminiscent of the Audi Ur-quattro of the 1980s, including the extremely flat and very wide C-pillar and the strongly flared shoulders over the wheels. While we’re not sure the production version of the vehicle will have the same wheels as the concept, the Q8’s feet are quite impressive. The concept sports 23-inch by 11-inch wide wheels.
The rear window of the Q8 is also extremely flat and a long roof edge spoiler shades it. A strip of lights extends over the entire width of the rear and serves as the tail and brake light as well as the dynamic turn signals. It gives the vehicle’s rear a futuristic look.
Despite the sloping, couple-like roofline, Audi says there’s plenty of room for four in the concept vehicle thanks to its 9.8-foot wheelbase. There’s also space for passengers’ belongings as the luggage compartment has a capacity of 22.2 cubic feet. The company describes the color and materials used in the interior as sporty and elegant. It says the Q8 console’s appearance resembles the “stern of a sailing yacht.”
Technology certainly dominates the interior. Audi’s virtual cockpit features an array of adaptable touch displays that are seamlessly integrated into the dash. The vehicle also features a contact analogue head-up display that projects crucial information onto the windshield in the driver’s direct field of view. Audi says a navigation arrow, for example, will appear on the windshield in the same position as an actual arrow on the road. The company calls it an intelligent application of augmented reality.
When it comes to performance, the plug-in hybrid concept certainly does not disappoint. The combined system of the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and the electric motor produces 442 horsepower and 516.3 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s able to go from 0 to 62.1 mph in 5.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155.3 mph.
Its lithium-ion battery is located in the rear and with a capacity of 17.9 kWh, it has an electric-only range of 37.3 miles. The total range with the TFSI engine increases to 621.4 miles. The company says the battery can be fully charged with a 7.2 kW output in about two and a half hours.
Drivers are able to select from one of three driving modes: the first prioritizes electric driving while a hybrid mode lets the vehicle largely decide the drive type and a third, battery hold mode saves the available electric energy for a later time.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system uses torque vectoring. Audi says an air suspension system with controlled damping allows a wide range from cushioned cruising to firm and tight handling and also sets the ground clearance in two levels.
Other Audi Unveilings
Aside from the unveiling of the Q8 concept, which previews a production vehicle to be released in 2018, Audi also unveiled its all-new 2018 SQ5 SUV.
The second-generation SQ5 has more power with a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. It produces 354 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. For the first time, the all-new SQ5 is available with adaptive air suspension, allowing for ride height and firmness adjustability. Audi says the all-new SQ5 offers a full suite of driver assistance systems. As for the exterior, the second-generation SQ5 gets a more progressive, sporty design. Inside the vehicle, there’s now more space compared to the previous generation with more rear legroom and shoulder room. There’s also increased cargo capacity with the second row seats folded down. The new Q5 also offers advanced infotainment options. The company says the sporty variant of the Q5 family will be available in the spring.
Aside from the Q8 concept and the SQ5, Audi also brought its all-new A5 and S5 Cabriolet to the North American International Auto Show. They feature a fully electronic top that can be lowered in just 15 seconds using the new one-touch opening function.
Of course, we’re most excited about the Q8 concept and like many others, can’t wait to see what the production version of the concept vehicle will look like.
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