Not content to let the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé hog the SUV-coupé limelight, Audi is preparing to release its own contender in this niche segment, and it will be badged the "Q8".

These sketches provide the first official look at the concept (set to be revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January) that will preview the flagship SUV. The German brand describes the concept as a "near-production study".

The two images were first shared by German publication Welt after interviewing Audi's chief designer, Marc Lichte.

"With the Audi Q8 concept, we have created a new spearhead within our Q model line. Its design strongly evokes sportiness and prestige," said Lichte.

"What's more, we believe an important aspect of this showcar is that it offers a spacious interior with four equally comfortable seats, even with the flat roof line."

Interestingly, the sketches show the inclusion of the "e-tron" badge on the lower section of the front bumper, which suggests the concept will arrive in pure-electric form. And the profile shot indicates that the roofline doesn't slope quite as aggressively as first thought.

We'll have to wait for the concept's full reveal in the second week of January in Detroit to learn more...