Following Audi’s traditional naming strategy, the Q8 is positioned above the three-row Q7, sporting seating for five in a body wider and lower than that of the Q7, as well as shorter tip-to-tail.
Audi says a wheelbase of nearly 3,000 mm lends the Q8 a roomier interior than its direct competitors, which we presume include the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Among the more practical touches is a rear seat that adjusts fore and aft and (naturally) folds flat to expand cargo capacity to 1,755 litres.
The Q8’s octagonal grille is “the new face of the Q family,” according to Audi, and projects a “brawny, self-confident” appearance.
Less practical touches include exterior lights than can be manipulated via a smartphone app so buyers can show off to their friends.
Interestingly for a vehicle whose market launch is just months away, Audi doesn’t say what engine will power the Q8. All we know is it will have a 48-volt mild hybrid drive system that draws power from a lithium ion battery and recover energy through regenerative braking.
Whatever engine ends up under the hood, its power will go through a mechanical centre differential that will split torque 40/60 between the front and rear axles. Among the options to be offered is an all-wheel steering system that will aid maneuverability at low speeds and stability at highway velocities.
Moving back into the cabin, Audi says the Q8 will sport a two-screen infotainment system that splits functions between 10.1-inch upper and 8.6-inch lower touch-sensitive displays. The system will also boast what Audi calls natural voice control: utter the words “I am hungry,” and the navigation system will suggest nearby restaurants.
Also included is Audi’s virtual cockpit digital gauge cluster.
High-tech features will include expected functions like adaptive cruise control, lane change warning and a 360-degree exterior camera system. Audi says the Q8 will also come with more advanced kit like the remote garage pilot system, which lets the driver guide the car into a tight garage or parking spot while standing next to it.
The Q8 goes on sale in Europe in the third quarter of 2018; the manufacturer has not yet announced a launch date for North America.