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New 2018 Audi Q8: bold Range Rover rival revealed in Detroit

Flagship Audi Q8 SUV stars at the 2017 Detroit show with plug-in hybrid drivetrain

Audi is pulling in the crowds at this week’s Detroit Motor Show with its Q8 concept – a thinly veiled glimpse at a new flagship SUV that will join the range in 2018. When it arrives, the Q8 will rival the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe, as well as the Range Rover.

The concept shares a similar footprint to the current Audi Q7 – it’s over five metres long and has a wheelbase of three metres – but is 40mm lower than the Q7. A sloping roofline and tapered rear end mean the concept is a four-seater, although the production version is expected to be available with five seats. The Q8 concept has a 630-litre boot.

Showcased as a plug-in hybrid e-tron model, the Q8 concept is powered by a 3.0-litre TFSI engine paired with an electric motor, which runs from a 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery. The powertrain develops a combined 438bhp and 700Nm of torque.

Audi claims 0-62mph takes 5.4 seconds and the car has a top speed of 155mph, while it emits 53g/km of CO2. Power is delivered via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive.

There’s a good chance the petrol-electric powertrain will be made available in the production model, because Audi says: “Their use in the study demonstrates their importance once again.” On electric power alone, the Q8 concept can travel up to 37 miles, and the lithium-ion battery takes two and a half hours to fully recharge.

Those wanting more performance will eventually be able to upgrade to an Audi SQ8. The high performance model is likely to use the same 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 diesel as the SQ7, developing 429bhp. When asked about the SQ8 in Detroit, Audi’s board member for sales and marketing, Dietmar Voggenreiter said, “That’s something I would like to do.”

The concept adopts a wider version of Audi’s single-frame octagonal grille, which is flanked by new matrix LED headlamps. The Q8 concept rides on 23-inch alloy wheels and has carbon-ceramic brakes.

At the back, the LED lights stretch across the width of the concept; Audi says this will be a signature on future e-tron models. Inside, the brand has kitted out the Q8 concept with a new wraparound dash and a raft of new tech. But as it has failed to supply any interior pictures, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for our first glimpse.

According to official details, Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display offers more functionality and a higher resolution. A new ‘control and display concept’ replaces a host of buttons with digital touchscreens on the dashboard and centre console. 

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