After an extensive teaser campaign, the covers have finally been removed from the new Audi Q8 flagship crossover, which takes its place at the very summit of the Ingolstadt-based automaker’s growing SUV range. And it's scheduled to arrive in South Africa towards the end of 2018.
Revealed in the city of Shenzhen in China, the production version of the new Q8 doesn’t stray far from the pair of concepts that preceded it (the first unveiled in Detroit in January 2017 and the second two months later in Geneva), and has been conceived to take on the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé.
Sharing much of its running gear with the Q7 (and thus also closely related to Volkswagen Group siblings in the form of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg), Audi says its new five-seater flagship crossover “combines the elegance of a four-door luxury coupé with the practical versatility of a large SUV”, and adds that it is “tough enough for off-road duty”.
The new SUV-coupé is wider, shorter and lower than the Q7, and features a completely different face and sloping roofline. In addition, the Slovakia-built Q8’s spoiler, wheel-arch trim, door trim strips and diffuser will come in a contrasting colour.
Audi says the Quattro-equipped Q8’s “purely mechanical” centre differential transfers forces to the front and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60 as standard. When required, it transfers “the majority” to the axle with the better traction. In addition, it features as much 254 mm of ground clearance and hill descent control. The suspension arrangement comes with damper control as standard, while adaptive air suspension will be offered as an option.
Audi makes no mention of engine options in its initial press material, although we know that a 213 kW/600 N.m 3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel (wearing the “50 TDI” badge) will be offered from launch, with a detuned version and a 3,0-litre TFSI to follow at a later stage. In addition, the German automaker has confirmed that it will offer the latest mild hybrid technology on the Q8, incorporating a 48-volt primary electrical system with a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter.
Inside, you’ll find two large displays: the upper 10,1-inch screen is used for controlling the infotainment and navigation systems, while the 8,6-inch display below that covers heating and air conditioning, convenience functions and text input. Then, of course, there’s the now-familiar digital virtual cockpit with its high-resolution 12,3-inch display, as well as a head-up display.