Audi Q8 Concept Is A Striking Taste Of Big Things To Come

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The Q7 is where it all started for Audi in the crossover market, and it has remained its flagship model ever since. But at the Detroit Auto Show today, the German automaker took the wraps off the imposing Q8 concept you see here – and what's more is that it has every intention of putting it into production.

Though its more streamlined roofline leaves the concept with ample room for only four occupants inside, the Q8 is actually longer and wider than the second-generation Q7 introduced at the same show two years ago. The concept also much more aggressive visually, its oversized octagonal grille capping a more couple-like form, with frameless windows, muscular shoulders, and 23-inch wheels packing 20-inch ceramic brake rotors in the grandest of show-stopping style.

Created as a showpiece for what the brand stands for, Audi has fitted it with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that mates a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with a supplemental electric motor and eight-speed automatic transmission. The combined effect is 442 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque – enough, in other words, to propel the big crossover from a standstill to 62 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds and on to the customary limited top speed of 155 mph.

All the while, the manufacturer says it will return over 100 miles per gallon on the European cycle, or travel up to 37 miles on battery power alone. The hybrid powertrain also provides torque vectoring for the all-wheel drive system, working with the adaptive air suspension to keep the big beast level when the road goes all twisty.

Far from a styling exercise, Audi says that the concept previews a production model set to reach production next year – joining the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, the Porsche Cayenne, and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus in the Volkswagen Group's array of high-end sport-utes. We won't be surprised, however, to see some of its more extreme styling elements (inside and out) toned down on its way from the show stand to the showroom.

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