When we saw sketches of the Q8 Concept before Detroit, we thought it'd be a 7 to 8 passenger premium SUV. Boy were we wrong. The Ingolstadt manufacturer has gone another route with their premium "off-roader". Not only does it look far different from their current SUV offerings, it's only made for four passengers. Audi has given the SUV more of a fastback look than the Q7 on which its based or even the smaller and racier-looking Q3 and Q5. It's a bold move for Audi, and the new concept feels more like a competitor for the Mercedes-Benz GLE and the BMW X6 than something like the Mercedes-Benz GLS.

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  • The Q8 is meant to go up against the likes of BMW and Mercedes, but it takes a racier approach with a sleek greenhouse and a very aggressive front end. It displays what's likely to become Audi's new design language with a large grille, raked C-pillar and four-door coupe styling.
  • The Q8 is actually shorter than the Q7 on which it's based but only by 0.3 inches at 198 inches. It's 67.2 inches tall (shorter than the Q7) but 2.9 inches wider, giving it a more powerful stance.  It actually borrows styling elements from the famous Quattro rally car with bulging fender wells. The dramatic fascia is both aggressive and sleek at the same time with a large grille and slender headlights set deep into the body.
  • The powertrain is serious with both its power and tech. Power comes from a 333-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 and a 134-hp electric motor that's housed within the eight-speed automatic transmission. Combined power is 442 hp, and the Q8 should hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
  • A rear-mounted lithium-ion battery pack even provides 37 miles of all-electric driving range on a full charge: a mere 2.5 hours from a 240-volt, 30-amp outlet.
  • When the Q8 reaches production, it should have various powertrain options including a V6, V8, gas-electric hybrid and possibly an RS Q8 with a twin-turbo V8 good for over 500 horsepower.
  • As dramatic as the exterior is, the interior is cutting edge with four luxurious seating appointments that eschew the middle position in the second row for the sake of luxury. The cabin also makes use of multiple high-resolution touchscreens.
  • Cargo room is on the small-ish side with 22 cubic feet of space, compared to the Q7's 38 cubic feet. 
  • The production Q8 should show up later this year at a major auto show, and details on pricing will also be announced. Rumor has it that the Q8 will be $10-$15K above the $49,000 base MSRP of the current Q7. 

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