Back in January, Audi pulled the wraps off an all-new model they were aiming to add to their growing line-up, again to their burgeoning list of SUVs - poor ‘cars’, you used to be popular. It was called the Q8, which was simple enough as it would be a swoopier, sportier, and slightly more compact sibling to the Q7.
Months later, it seems Audi is very close indeed to debuting the new high rider in near or full production guise, possibly lobbing for an unveil at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show if the test car spotted here on a European highway is to be judged (spotted by an Autopareri member). Audi has hardly bothered to disguise it for its public excursion, and we can clearly distinguish its single-piece tail lights (faithful to the concept) and 5-spoke alloys, and obscured exhaust tips.
Also, and most curiously in keeping with the concept’s initial design, this prototype’s bumper features the same slats and vents seen back in January. Supposedly, they do serve some aerodynamic purpose to having been included in this near-production form. Perhaps it is an integrated rear diffuser without being too ostentatious.
Even then, the car they were peddling looked to be surprisingly close to its production form; one would just have to tap imagination to omit the crazy wheels and take the bling level down a couple of notches. Like the A8 that would be revealed later in 2017, some cues from the Audi Prologue concept have trickled onto the Q8 concept too, and will likely not stop there.
The Q8’s hexagonal grille is fittingly wider to match their latest design trend, and it’s even a little more puckered, protruding a little more from the car’s front end. Again, this is like the all-new A8. At the Q8 concept’s debut, Audi themselves were unashamedly laying on the self-praise, with one notable exec saying that it’s “Audi in peak form.” Accordingly, they might not want to change much, not that we’re complaining.
Audi could also decide to execute a more radical powertrain strategy with the production Q8, opting to offer it exclusively with an electrified powertrain. This would be the case if in this department, Ingolstadt brass decide to stay faithful to the concept as that featured a 245kW 3.0-litre V6 TFSI augmented by a 100kW electric motor - an entirely plausible path.
Together, they produce 330kW and a mighty 700Nm that can launch it to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy and emissions estimations were not provided but should be predictably impressive if a sufficiently large battery can be installed to have it run in fully electric mode while in most urban situations.
We’re only a month away from one of the most important events on the European automotive calendar, the Frankfurt Motor Show, which is scheduled to begin on September 12th. It’s looking increasingly likely that that’s where the newest member of Audi’s family, the Q8, will make its entrance.