Audi goes even more upmarket with Q8 Concept

December 23, 2016

About a year before the production model is set to go on sale, Audi will take to the stage at the Detroit auto show in January with a glimpse into its next production model—the Q8 Concept.

What's set to be shown in Detroit will be badged a concept, but if the teaser sketches the German automaker has passed out are any indication, the Q8 Concept will be a very thinly-disguised production car. Aside from larger wheels and perhaps some ostentatious styling details, the production model that will eventually arrive in dealer showrooms should look a heck of a lot like the Q8 Concept.

MORE: Read our review of the 2017 Audi Q8

The showroom-bound Q8's nameplate will, not surprisingly, follow current Audi convention since the model will supplant the Q7 as Audi's current top-shelf crossover. 

Audi Q8 Concept

Audi Q8 Concept

It looks to us like the Q8 will draw heavily from the Q7, except with a totally different roofline. The  Q8 Concept doesn't look quite as aggressively rakish as, say, the BMW X6 compared to the more conventional X5. Instead, it appears to be more inspired by vehicles like the Bentley Bentayga—and that shouldn't be a huge surprise since both brands are part of the Volkswagen group's portfolio.

Audi hasn't told us much about the Q8 yet, but we do know that it will be a four-seater, meaning the space normally occupied by a middle seat in the rear will probably feature an elaborate center console.

1983 Audi Quattro A2 Group B

1983 Audi Quattro A2 Group B

Audi claims that the Q8's design elements were inspired by its Ur-quattro from the 1980s, a model that gained a serious reputation among enthusiasts for its rally capabilities. In particular, Audi points to the Q8's wide yet flat C-pillars (the rearmost roof supports) and the flared "shoulders" situated above its wheels.

We'll check back in early January after the Q8 is debuted with more details. 

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