Audi has revealed the near-production model of the 2018 Audi Q8 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And it's a beast.
Elegant, angular, and large, the Q8 concept has emotional and handsome sight lines that make it a bit of a break from Audi's "upside down bathtub" designs of the past. This new corporate look is angular and fierce.
Audi crows, legitimately, that this is a shrewd combination of a spacious SUV with the emotional lines of a coupe. It will come with a powerful, yet highly efficient plug-in hybrid with 330 kW of system output and 516.3 lb-ft of torque. The concept car is the basis for a production model that Audi will launch on the market in 2018, Audi assures. If so, Audi is in for a bit of a renaissance.
The flat, wedge-shaped headlights of the Audi Q8 concept are integrated progressively into the exterior and connected from a design perspective to the surrounding air inlets. The individual lighting units have glass covers, but the headlights as a whole are open. The lights are a very welcome change from previous models, which gave Audis a rounded and bulbous appearance.
The side view is equally dynamic. The doors here have window frames, thus contributing to the flat roofline. The Audi Q8 concept is 5.6 ft. tall. All lines on the body climb upward dynamically toward the rear – the bottom edge of the side window, the shoulders, the dynamic line and the sill lines.
The surfaces of the fenders, doors and side panels are athletically curved. The lower section of the doors form a deep fillet. Other design features are the Quattro logo milled below the rear doors and also the exterior mirrors with their multifaceted edges. The doors are opened via touch sensors. As soon as the door detects hand contact, it opens easily and swings to a defined opening angle.
A long roof edge spoiler shades the extremely flat rear window of the Audi concept. A double spoiler lip below the window forms a distinctive contour on the power luggage compartment hatch.
The strip of lights extends over the entire width of the rear end. And if there's a quibble with the design, it's that this thin rear light structure *may* too closely resemble that of a modern Lincoln. If you love Lincolns, that's great. If you view Lincolns as tarted-up Fords, it's not.
The license plate of the Audi Q8 concept is located on a black trim strip between the lights – a historic feature of the Audi Quattro. Clearly, they're hearkening back to their heritage here, and if they keep this design in relatively the same format to the production model, they will revive the brand and boost sales to the stratosphere in the US and Europe.
Photos: Audi Media Center