New Audi Q8 luxury SUV revealed in official design sketches

Audi Q8 – front teaser

We learned about Audi’s plans to launch a range-topping Q8 SUV earlier this year, and now the first official images have emerged. Design sketches reveal the look of the Range Rover Sport rival ahead of a planned unveil at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. 

The SUV will be previewed by an ‘e-tron’ concept on the stands at Detroit, showcasing the design direction for a production model in 2018. It’ll be based on the same platform as the current Q7, but if these images are anything to go by it’ll have a markedly different look, with a lower roofline and muscular stance.

We were granted a sneak preview of the car by Audi in the summer, and learned a great deal. For starters, the wheelbase is the same as the Q7, yet the rear overhang is shorter and the car sits 70mm lower. Audi claims the concept features a spacious interior with four “equally comfortable” seats, instead of the seven seats found in the Q7. 

Audi Q8 – side teaser

To further differentiate Audi’s range future ‘Q’ models will have octagonal grilles and ‘A’ models will feature hexagonal grilles – as the sketches show, the Q8 gets the most dominant octagonal grille of the lot featuring bold vertical strakes. 

Being the range-topper it gets a similar, full-width rear light treatment to the new A7 and a unique front light design split into two, with further lighting in a lower part that’s disguised as an air intake. 

Although the Q8 could be seen as a rival to sporty luxury SUVs like the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne, Audi design boss Marc Lichte has avoided the temptation to give it a true coupe-like rear end, following the trend of its rivals. “We started the roof lower at the front,” Lichte told us, “And made it longer to make sure you get good headroom in the back. Then we’ve added a fast C-pillar to really show off the car’s progressive sportiness.”

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has high hopes for the Q8, telling us, “The way the market is going, we see the Q8 sitting alongside the A8 as our two luxury flagships.”

The Q8 will get Audi’s latest autonomous driving technology and powertrains. Electric turbo engines similar to that which recently appeared in the SQ7 will be offered, along with full plug-in hybrid options.