This is the upcoming S version of the new Audi Q8, spotted free of camouflage during its late development stage.
A recent report on the range-topping RS Q8 claimed that it will feature the same plug-in hybrid powertrain used by the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, where it makes 671 HP.
That, however, would make it more powerful than the Lamborghini Urus, which, given that both companies fall under the VW Group umbrella, seems unlikely. Besides, Audi has teased the production SQ8 with the Q8 Sport Concept that was powered by a mild hybrid powertrain consisting of a 443hp 3.0-liter V6 TFSI hooked up with a 27hp electric motor, offering a total of 469hp (476PS) and 516lb-ft (700Nm) of torque – something that seems more plausible.
The car will feature the brand’s 48-volt electrical architecture and a small lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the boot. The SQ8’s V6 engine is also expected to feature an electric compressor along with a traditional turbocharger, a technology that has debuted already in the SQ7 that is is powered by a diesel ICE.
Since this powertrain is already available, there’s a chance Audi will offer the SQ8 with the SQ7’s diesel engine as well – at least in Europe. The prototype pictured here carries the TDI badge on the tailgate, but that could be a distraction instead of an indicator of what’s hiding under the bonnet.
On the outside, the SQ8 is distinguished by the more aggressive bumper design that features bigger air inlets at the front, lowered suspension, larger alloys, deeper side sills and quad exhausts.
Sporty touches in the tech-laden cabin will include a flat-bottom steering wheel, bucket seats and more vivid color options to set the tone for the upcoming performance SUV.
Eventually, the new hybrid petrol powertrain will find its way to more Audi models, including the A6, A7 and A8, and maybe even the Q7.