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Audi turns up the Q8 drama

Lights, camera: Audi’s new Q8 SUV coupe is glimpsed in a video serial drama produced to intrigue car fans.

Sketches, video drama ratchet up the attention for Audi’s new Q8 flagship


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30 May 2018

THE prolonged gestation of Audi’s SUV flagship, the Q8, is finally reaching culmination, with the German company teasing its new SUV flagship with sketches and video images ahead of its in-the-flesh reveal in China on Tuesday.
Audi has even produced a five-part YouTube video drama – Q8 Unleashed – to promote the vehicle ahead of the global launch at the Audi China Brand Summit in the southern China city of Shenzhen.
The third episode of the dramatic serial, featuring a cashed-up American couple in a kidnap mystery, showed a look at the front of the vehicle in the back of a semi-trailer. The fifth and final episode is expected to reveal the Q8 in full on Tuesday as the new model is shown in China.
The sketches of the coupe-style large SUV indicate that the design has not changed significantly from the original concept shown at the Detroit motor show more than a year ago.
With a lower, more sloped roof line and more aggressive front than the related Q7, the five-seat Q8 has been designed to take on rivals such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
The lights have been redesigned, along with the grille that now features an egg-crate look. The metallic exterior trim on items such as the grille surround, front splitter and rear diffuser has been carried over into the production vehicle which, if it is true to concepts shown to date, will be 32mm longer, 82mm wider and 41mm lower than the Q7 wagon.
The design in these sketches appears to represent the standard vehicle. A raunchier Audi Sport version – perhaps based on the Q8 Sport concept shown at last year’s Geneva motor show – can be expected at some point.
Audi Australia has put up its hand for the new flagship and expects it to arrive in local showrooms in early 2019.
So far, no powertrain or performance details have been released, but the concepts shown to date have included an E-tron plug-in hybrid combining a 3.0-litre TSFI V6 petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 330kW of power and 700Nm of torque, making it capable of pushing the Q8 from zero to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds.
The vehicle can travel up to 60km on electricity from its 17.9kWh battery and return fuel economy of 2.3 litres per 100km.
The Q8 Sport concept shown at Geneva carried a mild-hybrid powertrain, marrying a twin-turbo TFSI petrol V6 with an electric motor for combined 350kW of power – up 20kW on the plug-in hybrid version. Torque was the same, at 700Nm.
Driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, the powertrain can push the Q8 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
Other powertrains are sure to materialise in the showroom version. These are expected to include Audi’s 4.0-litre triple-turbo V8 diesel, lifted from the SQ7, to create an SQ8.
The 3.0-litre V6 diesel from the Q7 would also seem a chance, perhaps with the 210kW/620Nm tune from the just-released Q5 3.0 TDI.
The new flagship will bring the company’s SUV line-up to five, sitting above the Q2, Q3, Q5 and Q7.
It is likely to be priced above Q7 which starts at $97,800 for the base 3.0-litre 160kW TDI and rises to $155,511 for the 4.0-litre diesel SQ7.
The diesel-electric Q7 E-tron is priced at $139,900.

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