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Geneva show: Audi reveals Q8 Sport concept

Q-wait: Although nearly ready for production, Audi Australia has yet to confirm whether its tech-laden Q8 large SUV will land in local showrooms.

Audi’s SUV range-topping Q8 moves closer to production with next iteration show car


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8 Mar 2017


AUDI’S evolution and its intention to become the world’s leading premium car brand was brought sharply into focus again at the Geneva motor show this week, with the German marque unveiling a Q8 Sport concept that takes it a step closer to production of a large coupe-styled SUV.

Building upon the Q8 concept shown in Detroit earlier this year, the Sport-branded version is designed to “demonstrate the potential” of the forthcoming all-new Q8 model line, particularly in terms of performance as the Geneva show car emerged with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre TFSI six-cylinder petrol engine combined with an ‘mHEV’ mild-hybrid system that delivers 350kW of power.

This is up 20kW compared to the plug-in hybrid version from Detroit – torque remains unchanged at 700Nm – and, in concert with an eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system, enables the Q8 Sport to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.7 seconds, making it quicker than likely competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and BMW X6.

With its (higher-output) electric motor and 0.9kWh lithium-ion battery, the Q8 Sport can navigate stop/start traffic without the need to employ its V6 engine and, according to Audi, can deliver CO2 emissions as low as 35 grams per kilometre and a driving range as long as 1200km.

The electric-powered compressor on-board can also feed fresh air into the engine and supports the turbos at lower exhaust gas pressure periods to reduce turbo lag and boost responsiveness, similar to the system used in the SQ7.

Speaking to Australian journalists, including GoAuto, on the sidelines of the Geneva show this week, Audi head of exterior design Andreas Mindt confirmed that the Q8 Sport is “90 per cent production-ready” – including the seemingly unfeasible 23-inch wheels with 305/35-section rubber.

“The steel body is production-ready, you can see all these elements you don’t do for show cars,” he said.

“You can see in all these elements, that this is production-ready, so the wheel size is not fake, this is something you can get later. The whole roof is like this, the frameless doors, the C-pillar, the spoilers.

“There are some elements that will change, but for the better.” Easily identified by its striking new orange body colour, the Q8 Sport’s honeycomb grille and oval-shaped tailpipes – usually the purview of Audi Sport models – replaces the front vertical motif and hidden exhaust outlets of the concept shown in Detroit.

In other respects, the Geneva car remains faithful to its Detroit forerunner, with a sloping roofline, imposing 2050mm width and 5020mm length, X-shaped headlights, frameless doors, chunky wheelarches, thick C-pillar and roof-mounted rear spoiler.

Inside, the Q8 Sport concept retains the four-seat layout and futuristic dashboard and infotainment layout characterised by aluminium-framed gloss-black panels, touchscreens and a high-definition virtual cockpit display.

Mr Mindt reaffirmed Audi’s intention to crack the burgeoning large coupe-SUV market, but said the Ingolstadt brand wanted to do it on its own terms and not copy its rival German brands.

“You know, from Munich, a very certain SUV that has a very coupe line, and we said we don’t want to copy that like others do, we want to go our own way,” he said.

“We want to build up the brand and not copy someone else – this is … very important.” Mr Mindt also said an announcement on series production could be expected “very soon”.

“The Q8 makes sense because the Q7 is such a good basis and you can use all the elements that are there,” he said.

Conventional doorhandles will be among the detail changes the production version will receive.

Currently, the show car employs a touch-to-open system wherein occupants tap on a milled Audi logo situated on the B- and C-pillars to pop the doors open, but Mr Mindt said the switch to traditional doorhandles was required for safety reasons.

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