Audi confirmed last year that it would add a Q8 model to the top of its utility vehicle range. But before it launches the new vehicle, a concept version will debut at the Detroit auto show next month.
Audi calls the concept a “near-production study” that blends the spaciousness of an SUV with the styling elements of a coupe. Teaser images show a completely new interpretation of the automaker’s Singleframe grille, now wider and more prominent than before, as well as a raked roofline. The Audi Q8 Concept also features a wide C-pillar and flared shoulders above the wheels, qualities which Audi says are reminiscent of the Audi Ur-quattro of the 1980s. It’s hard to imagine anything like those huge wheels making it to production, though.
“We believe an important aspect of this showcar is that it offers a spacious interior with four equally comfortable seats, even with the flat roof line,” Audi design chief Marc Lichte said in a statement.
As evidenced by the “e-tron” badging on the front of the car, Audi is previewing an electrified version of the Q8. A plug-in hybrid powertrain, developed with Porsche, should help the large SUV achieve an all-electric driving range of around 35 miles. Look for a range of gas and diesel options including V-6 and V-8 engines, also developed in collaboration with Porsche.
When it goes to market, the Audi Q8 will join other fastback SUVs like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, though it could be larger if based on the Q7.