Audi is looking to get a strong foothold on the zero-emission luxury SUV market, reportedly moving forward with plans to develop an all-wheel-drive all-electric Audi Q8 e-tron SUV that will compete directly with the forthcoming Tesla Model X.
We already know that the Q8 will be a sleeker, sportier take on the upcoming 2014 Audi Q7, which will be built on Volkswagen’s new MLB platform. According to Autocar, the Audi Q8 e-tron will use electric motor and battery components from the recently resurrected Audi R8 e-tron electric supercar (pictured), and shoot for a 370-mile total range.
The seven-passenger, gullwing-door Tesla Model X is expected to debut in late 2014 following delays, while the Audi Q8 e-tron will not hit showrooms until 2017. Other engine options for the Audi Q8 should include a pair of gasoline V-6 engines making 230 hp and 300 hp; a pair of TDI engines, namely a 3.0-liter 250-hp V-6 and a 4.2-liter 400-hp V-8; and a top-shelf 550-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 for the S Q8 model.
While Audi has long made all-wheel-drive available as an option on nearly all of its vehicles, Ingolstadt’s next generation will apparently expand electric and hybrid options across its model lineup. The strategy seeks to capitalize on the growing demand for luxury electric vehicles, as evidenced by the success of the Tesla Model S. Autocar reports that Audi believes that future luxury customers will want to ensure their vehicles are as green as possible.
Rumored to reach production as a future Audi TT e-tron, an all-wheel-drive e-tron formula was featured prominently on the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept that debuted at the 2014 Detroit auto show. The hybrid powerplant totaled 402 hp from its 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine and twin electric motors. While that concept had an all-electric range of just 31 miles, advances in battery technology by the time the model comes to production could result in a significantly larger figure. The Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept also provides a useful look at the styling direction Audi will likely take for its even-numbered Q-cars; the Q8 is expected to employ the same high beltline, long roofline, raked rear hatch, and chrome trim.
Look for more news on the upcoming Audi Q8 and its electric variant sometime after the next-gen Audi Q7 debuts this year.