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Audi Q8 Sport concept revealed


Audi has unveiled a Q8 Sport concept at the Geneva motor show this week, taking the large coupe-styled SUV a step closer to production, and putting an even sharper focus on the company's intention of becoming the world's leading premium car brand.

The Geneva show car emerged with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre TFSI six-cylinder petrol engine combined with an ‘mHEV' mild-hybrid system that delivers 350kW of power. The new vehicle builds on the Q8 concept shown in Detroit earlier this year, with the Sport-branded version designed to "demonstrate the potential" of the forthcoming all-new Q8 model line.

The Q8 Sport will be quicker than competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and BMW X6, with a 0-100km/h time of just 4.7 seconds. Its 350kW and 700Nm get to the ground via an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro permanent four-wheel drive system.

The new Audi can navigate stop/start traffic without the need to employ its V6 engine thanks to its (higher-output) electric motor and 0.9kWh lithium-ion battery. Audi claims a driving range as long as 1200km, CO2 emissions of just 35 grams per kilometre and fuel economy as low as 1.3L/100km – a litre less than the plug-in version.

The turbos are supported at lower exhaust gas pressures by a separate, on-board, battery powered compressor to reduce turbo lag and increase responsiveness, similar to the one used in the SQ7.

Audi's head of exterior design, Andreas Mindt, confirmed to CarsGuide at the Geneva motor show this week that the Q8 Sport is "90 per cent production-ready."  It may even be built with the unlikely looking 23-inch wheels with 305/35-section rubber.

"The steel body is production-ready, you can see all these elements you don't do for show cars," he said.

An announcement on series production could be expected "very soon."

"You can see in all these elements, that this is production-ready, so the wheel size is not fake, this is something you can get later. The whole roof is like this, the frameless doors, the C-pillar, the spoilers. 

"There are some elements that will change, but for the better."

The Q8 Sport's honeycomb grille and oval-shaped tailpipes replace the front vertical motif and hidden exhaust outlets of the concept shown in Detroit. The show car is instantly identified by its striking new orange body colour.

The Geneva car remains faithful to its Detroit forerunner in other ways, with X-shaped headlights, frameless doors, chunky wheelarches, thick C-pillar and roof-mounted rear spoiler. It also has a sloping roofline, an imposing 2050mm width and 5020mm length.

The Q8 has a futuristic dashboard and multimedia layout characterised by touchscreens, a high-definition virtual cockpit display and aluminium-framed gloss black panels. It retains a four seat layout.

While reaffirming the brand's intention to crack the burgeoning large coupe-SUV market, Mr Mindt was adamant Audi wanted to do it on its own terms and not simply by copying other brands.

"You know, from Munich, a very certain SUV that has a very coupe line, and we said we don't want to copy that like others do, we want to go our own way," he said.

"We want to build up the brand and not copy someone else. This is… very important."

Mr Mindt also said an announcement on series production could be expected "very soon."

"The Q8 makes sense because the Q7 is such a good basis and you can use all the elements that are there," he said.

The production version is slated to receive detail changes such as conventional door handles.

The show car features a touch-to-open system where passengers push a milled Audi logo on the B- and C-Pillars to open the doors. The change to conventional handles is for safety reasons according to Mr Mindt.

Should Audi bring the new Q8 Sport to Australia? Tell us what you think in the comments below.