Serving as a prelude to a production model that will be introduced in 2018, it combines the spaciousness typical of an SUV with the elegant lines of a coupe and will tap into a new segment for Audi by offering an elegant alternative to the classic design of the full-size class.
At 5.02 metres long, the Audi Q8 concept has an impressive presence. Thanks to a wheelbase of 3 metres, the show car offers plenty of space for passengers and luggage. Despite the sloping, coupe-like roofline, even the rear-seat passengers enjoy ample head and shoulder room. The control concept uses large touchscreens in the cockpit and is rounded out by an expanded version of the Audi virtual cockpit and a contact-analogue head-up display. The latter uses intelligent augmented reality technology that merges the real and the virtual worlds.
The distinguishing feature at the front of the 2.04-metre-wide Audi Q8 concept is the octagonal Singleframe with honeycomb insert. It is sculpted and significantly wider than on today’s Audi production models.
The silhouette of the Audi technology study evokes tautness. The doors do not have window frames, thus contributing to the flat roofline. The vehicle is 1.70 metres tall. All lines on the body climb upward dynamically toward the rear – the bottom edge of the side window, the shoulders, the dynamic line and the sill lines. The surfaces of the wings, doors and side panels are athletically curved. The extremely flat and very wide C-pillars are reminiscent of the Audi Ur-quattro from the 1980s, as are the strongly flared shoulders over the wheels.
The interior of the Q8 offers opulent spaciousness for four persons and their large suitcases. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 630 litres. Widely stretched lines lend the cockpit an elegant ambience. Virtually floating above the centre tunnel is a console for the shift-by-wire lever, with which the driver controls the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission purely electronically. The console’s appearance resembles the stern of a sailing yacht.
The elegant interior architecture of the Q8 merges with a groundbreaking control and display concept. Information and commands are passed primarily through touch displays augmented by the Audi virtual cockpit and a contact analogue head-up display. All displays feature a new “digital design” that concentrates systematically on the most important things.
The Q8 uses production technologies for the drive system and suspension. Their use in the prototype demonstrates their importance once again. The plug-in hybrid combines impressive performance with high efficiency.
The combustion engine is a 3-litre TFSI unit producing 333bhp and a maximum torque of 500Nm. The electric motor generates 100kW of power plus 330Nm. Together with a decoupler, it is integrated into the 8-speed Tiptronic. The complete system produces 330kW and 700Nm.
The Q8 accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 250km/h. According to the standard applicable for plug-in hybrids, it returns up to 51km per litre in the NEDC, corresponding to 53 grams of CO2 per km.
Read our review of Audi’s 2-litre Q7.