Audi has shown its plug-in Q8 concept at North American International Auto Show in Detroit, flagging a move into the large SUV coupe segment that will take the company up against premium German rivals in the shape of BMW's X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
A number of teaser images preceded the concept vehicle, carrying the common theme of Audi’s e-tron electrified powertrains, the most notable being the e-tron Quattro concept unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in 2015.
Despite ditching the e-tron name, the Q8 is certainly part of the family with its powertrain combining a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 TFSI engine with an electric motor. This is the most likely combination to make it into production.
The concept car appears more production-ready than an improbable show special, but how much of it carries over into the production Q8 next year remains to be seen.
The petrol engine produces 245kW/500Nm, and when combined with the single electric motor the total system output rises to 330kW/700Nm. All this technical wizardry results in a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.
Audi claims the Q8 has a 60km range on pure electric power, propelled by a 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the back of the car, and that it can return fuel economy of 2.3L/100km in hybrid mode.
The Q8's total range is said to be 1000km with the petrol engine and electric motor working together, and battery charge time is claimed to be 2.5 hours, though the company has not specified whether that is with specialist charging equipment or via a normal power outlet.
Q8 owners will also look through an evolution of the company’s head-up display, one which takes the initial steps into augmented reality.
A 'predictive efficiency assistant' funnels the various power sources into an eight-speed automatic transmission to provide maximum efficiency, and this system has been confirmed for the production version.
The hybrid management system takes external inputs, including weather conditions and the particular route being taken, and specifies the most efficient combination depending on which driving mode has been selected.
Selecting the EV setting prioritises electric power, hybrid mode makes the best combination of petrol and electric power, while the battery hold function runs on petrol power only, holding battery power in reserve for situations such as heavy traffic where electric drive is optimal.
The Q8 premiered a new 12.3 inch virtual cockpit instrument cluster with greatly enhanced resolution and more functions. Q8 owners will also look through an evolution of the company’s head-up display, one which takes the initial steps into augmented reality.
Other cabin displays are touch screen, including the climate control panel and the central MMI monitor mounted in the dashboard. The former selectively displays the zoned temperature settings for the passenger only if the car senses one aboard. A third screen controls lighting settings.
The interior features ‘silver’ Nappa leather and Nubuck, simple interconnected displays and an expanse of clean lines.
Whether the Q8's Bombay Blue body colour will make it through to the production version is not certain, but a sportier look over the previous Q7 would be in keeping with the approach of rivals Mercedes and BMW with their similar offerings.
As with all show cars, some of the more outlandish features may be scaled back for the road-going version, but the new Audi's sporty styling appears showroom ready.
The Q8 is said to offer sufficient room for four passengers and have a luggage capacity of some 630 litres.
The production model's external dimensions are unlikely to change much from the concept Q8 which is 5020mm long, 2040mm wide, and 1700mm tall.