Right now Audi has a full-size SUV (the Audi Q7) and they have a mid-size SUV (the Q5). What they don’t have is a “stylish” SUV. One like the BMW X6 or the Range Rover Sport. According to Audi chairman Rubert Stadler, the company is quickly working to fix that. Described as their “flagship SUV”, the all-new Q8 is intended to sit perched atop the Audi line alongside the A8 sedan.
The Q8 will be a sister to the Q7, sharing its mechanical bits and the Audi MLB platform, and being mostly the same size. It will only have two rows instead of the three offered in the Q7, but it will have a roofline about 50 mm lower than the Q7. The new SUV will be big, but it’s also expected to be light for its size. Audi’s increasing use of aluminum, along with carbon fiber for non-structural panels is said to keep base models of the Q8 below 2,000 kg.
The point of the Q8 is to be more stylish than the Q7, and the lower roof is just a part of that. Expect bulging fenders, a wider track, off-road cladding, a massive grille, and huge wheels to fill out the new shape. Renderings show pronounced shoulders and scalloped doors as well. This will likely follow the path laid down by last year’s Prologue Concept pictured above.
Underhood is likely to be a series of new V6 and V8 engines based on Audi’s latest designs. The new engines share a 500 cc per cylinder capacity, so expect 3.0L for the V6 and 4.0L for the V8. Turbochargers are almost a given at this point, but may be either conventional mechanical units, or Audi’s newly released electronic turbos. An even sportier SQ8 is rumoured with Audi’s V8 diesel, but a gas engine is more likely here.
The Q8 is expected in 2018 and joins an onslaught of no fewer than seven new or revised SUVs from Audi. There is the Q2, new Q3 and Q5, all-new models Q1 and Q4, and an electric Q6 which has already been previewed. Whether this is good news or bad depends on how you feel about SUVs, but Audi certainly won’t leave you wanting for variety.
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