Whatever economists might be saying about the long-term outlook, the luxury SUV market is booming, yet shows no signs of slowing down – and here’s one of the most exciting new models.
Audi is already an established player in the upmarket SUV segment, with the Q7 having now been on sale for over a decade. But the German firm isn’t resting on its laurels, with an all-new Q8 model due later this year, ready to take on the likes of the BMW X6, Mercedes GLE and Range Rover Sport.
Here’s what we know about it so far…
New Audi Q8 specifications
The Q8 will be based on Audi’s lightweight MLB platform, which also underpins the Q7. It will feature extensive use of aluminium chassis components and carbon fibre panels to keep weight down, meaning that despite its outward bulk the entry-level version will weigh in at less than 2,000kg.
It will come with a new range of 3.0 V6 and 4.0 V8 petrol engines, with electrically-assisted turbocharging, along with 3.0 V6 and 4.0 V8 diesel units.
Insiders have also hinted that a plug-in electric drivetrain is on the cards, as recently introduced on one of its key rivals; the Range Rover Sport.
The Q8 will share much of its architecture with the next Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Volkswagen Touareg replacement.
New Audi Q8 technology
As well as the PHEV technology that will give the Q8 strong fleet appeal, the newcomer will also come with a number of features drawn from the new A8 luxury saloon.
These include Audi’s pioneering ‘Virtual Cockpit’, which replaces traditional analogue dials with a fully digital display in lieu of an instrument binnacle. The 13-inch wide screen will feature a number of touchscreen features and display options.
It will also feature some innovative Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), including automatic emergency braking, Audi’s trademark MMI central interface controller and Level 3 autonomous ability, including Traffic Jam Pilot – a function that allows it to be driven in urban traffic at moderate speeds with no driver input. It’s the closest thing yet to a self-driving car.
And if that’s not enough, a removable tablet will allow you to self-park the car without a driver onboard, like a giant r/c car. It’s immensely clever, albeit slightly scary stuff.
New Audi Q8 interior
The Virtual Cockpit will obviously be the big draw of the cabin, but on top of that expect the usual exquisite Audi design – high quality materials, soft-touch controls, supple leather and a number of neat touchscreen features controlling everything from temperature to suspension settings.
Models with sat nav will feature intelligent controls, where you simply write your destination on the car’s touchscreen with your index finger and it will automatically read your input to find the correct destination – in theory at least…
New Audi Q8 price
The Q8 SUV will go head-to-head with the BMW X6 and Range Rover Sport, so expect a starting price of around £55k. For that, though, you’re unlikely to get one with all, if any, of the toys.
You’ll need to spend a bit more to start enjoying the most up-to-date Audi technology, with a fully-equipped example, using PHEV technology, expected to tip the scales at over £100,000.
New Audi Q8 release date
The Q8 will take centre stage at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with order books open soon afterwards. The first cars will reach UK customers early in the summer.