This Is Audi’s Detroit Auto Show Q8 Flagship SUV Concept

With less than three weeks to go for the Detroit Auto Show, the first teasers of Audi’s new production-intent Q8 concept have emerged on the internet.

Official sketches of the Q8 flagship SUV were shared by German news site Welt which spoke to Audi chief designer, March Lichte, about the brand’s future plans.

One of Lichte’s first projects at Audi, the Q8 will sit alongside the A8 at the top of the brand’s current lineup, with the model described as a cross between a traditional “SUV and a Sport Coupe”.

While similar in philosophy to BMW’s X6 and Mercedes-Benz’s GLE Coupe, the Q8 is believed to be placed above those models in in terms of size, pricing and features, maybe even targeting the Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne, with which it shares its MLB-EVO platform that also forms the base for Audi’s Q7 and next A8.

Lichte did not divulge any details about the concept’s powertrain, but the production model that will be introduced in the market in 2018 is expected to get an array of new-gen diesel and gasoline V6 and V8 turbo engines. An SQ8 featuring the SQ7’s 4.0-liter V8 diesel aided by an electric powered compressor to produce 435PS (429HP) and 900 Nm (664 lb-ft) of torque, and perhaps a more extreme RS Q8 model with a bi-turbo gasoline V8 delivering around 600hp, will likely join the range, as could an all-electric E-tron model.

During the interview with Welt, Lichte implicitly admitted that Audi’s design language has become somewhat stale over the years and that more differentiation is needed between the brand’s products:

“From some customers’ point-of-view, we lacked the necessary differentiation. This will change in the future. Every new Audi model will have its own character and express it in its formal language – both in the exterior and in the interior,” he said.

Of course, this begs the question whether the Q8 is a continuation of the E-Tron and H-Tron concepts or a separate model, because if it’s the latter and the two aforementioned Tron studies previewed the Q6, Audi’s second upcoming SUV, then we fail to see the differentiation Lichte is talking about.

H/T to Motor1