Looking to the future of quick and comfortable crossovers

For the time being, the top of the Audi crossover pyramid is occupied by the Q7, a full-size luxury SUV that originally debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of 2005. Now, it appears as though the Four Ring brand is looking to go plus one with the new Q8. Initially shown this past January at the Detroit Auto Show, the Q8 is just a concept for the moment, but Audi seems intent on fanning the flames of interest with a brand-new concept called the Q8 Sport Concept. This latest design study debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show, and adds a bit of zesty flavoring to the previous Q8 concept. It’s supposedly faster and more entertaining behind the wheel, bearing a high-tech hybrid twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 powerplant, as well as attractive new styling ideas for the exterior and interior space.

Those new aesthetics follow the path originally laid out by the Audi Prologue Concept that dropped cover at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2014, rocking lots of horizontal lines, thin features, and highly angular cuts. It looks pretty good, but the other half of the equation is in the powertrain, which previews a possible future innovation heading for the Audi production line. The aim of the game is power and fun when you want it, plus efficiency when you don’t, which is a tough nut to crack by any measure, but especially when you’re dealing with an enormous SUV.

That said, Audi is giving us a surprising amount of specificity when laying out the Q8 Sport Concept’s various specs and numbers, leading us to believe the marque will indeed release something very close to this chopped-up concept in the not-so-distant future.

Interested? Read on for more info.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Q8 Sport Concept.

Exterior

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In terms of aesthetics, the Audi Q8 Sport Concept is more of an evolutionary design rather than a revolutionary design. It’s got many of the same touches we’ve seen from Audi’s other concepts in the past, with tons of angular touches and deep cuts.

These characteristics are seen prominently in the front fascia, which includes an octagonal Singleframe grille. While this shape is common amongst Four Ring badges, on the Q8 Sport Concept it’s significantly wider than the brand’s current crop of production cars. Inside the grille is a honeycomb insert with aluminum dividers, as well as a contrasting frame to give it even more visual girth.

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In the lower corners you’ll find enlarged intakes, undoubtedly added as a means of underlining the model’s inherent sportiness.

In the lower corners you’ll find enlarged intakes, undoubtedly added as a means of underlining the model’s inherent sportiness. Aiding the aero is a lower splitter blade element, while higher up are integrated headlights that come connected by the large central intake frame. The headlight housings are also made from aluminum.

Move to the side and you’ll find the Q8 Sport Concept’s coupe-like roofline, a common feature amongst sporting crossovers, including those from rival makes like Mercedes and BMW. Look closely at the black side skirt moldings underneath the rear doors, and you’ll find Audi’s all-important quattro logo milled into them. The minimal side view mirrors are capped in carbon fiber trim, while the C-pillar was shaped so rally fans would be reminded of the Audi quattro from the ‘80s, the world-beating legend that introduced the world to the joys of permanent AWD in a passenger car and in top-shelf rally competition.

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The C-pillar was shaped so rally fans would be reminded of the legendary Audi quattro from the ‘80s.

Move towards the rear, and you’ll find a spoiler attached to the trailing edge of the roof with an indentation in the middle that gives it a “double-flap” like appearance. The taillights – or rather, the singular taillight I should say, is a solitary strip that spans the width of the car. This light strip is also used for braking and the dynamic turn signals, and it adds some serious visual width to the entire rear end. A strip of black trim is mounted above the license plate, while a carbon fiber crosspiece and aluminum diffuser is underneath the bumper. The dual exhaust tips have an aluminum finish and an oval shape.

The whole shebang is slathered in a “krypton orange” paint job, which looks bright enough to blind even the strongest of superheroes.

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Note: previous Audi Q8 Concept pictured on the left, current Audi Q8 Sport Concept pictured on the right.

Placed next to its predecessor, the Audi Q8 Sport Concept looks quite similar. However, Audi is quick to point out new details like the larger grille and side intakes, plus the new colors and trim. However, it should be mentioned that the wheels and side skirts look practically identical.

But that’s to be expected. If both concepts preview production vehicles, with the first as the standard model and the second as the Sport trim, the aesthetic differences would most likely be just as close. Audi also points out a greater focus on aero efficiency for the Sport Concept, although not much was said about specifics like the drag coefficient.

“The individual light elements have a glass cover, but the entire headlight units are not enclosed. This creates the impression that they are free in space,” says Audi. “Broken down into more than one million pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high resolution and with precise control.”

LEDs were used for the dynamic turn signals and daytime running lights, which means all the lights on the concept are considered “dynamic.” Further interesting details include a blue laser light signature with an x-shape.

LEDs were used for the dynamic turn signals and daytime running lights, which means all the lights on the concept are considered “dynamic.”

The exterior measurements come in at 16.5 feet in length, while the wheelbase is 9.8 feet long, about right for offering lots of space inside. The concept is also 6.7 feet wide and 5.6 feet tall. Compared to the previous Q8 concept, the Sport’s wheel housings are 0.5 inches wider.

Exterior Dimensions

Audi Q8 Sport Concept Tesla Model X
Length (Inches) 198 198.3
Wheelbase (Inches) 116.4 116.7
Width (Inches) 81.6 81.5
Height (Inches) 66.0 66.0

Interior

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Inside the Audi Q8 Sport Concept, the look is sharp and futuristic, but not entirely out of line for something you might see on a model destined for production status. It’s all extremely wide, with long horizontal design elements that seem to sweep across the dash, and thin, geometric shapes placed here and there. There are frameless windows for each of the doors, giving the crossover its desirably flat roofline, while seating is capped at four with sizable side bolsters to keep folks in place during hard cornering.

Materials used include brushed aluminum for the door kick plates, as well as the center console, the dash, the doors, and the flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel. Piano black inserts and glossy black surfaces complement the bright trim and upholstery, plus carbon fiber was added here and there to up the crossover’s inherent sportiness. The shift-by-wire lever was placed above the central tunnel.

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LEDs were used for the lighting, and a gradient in the colors add a little extra splash between the headliner and console, morphing into a spread of greys and pastel silvers.

LEDs were used for the lighting, and a gradient in the colors add a little extra splash between the headliner and console, morphing into a spread of greys and pastel silvers. This is repeated in the seats, which are draped in Nappa leather and Nubuk leather, and finished in pastel silver.

Passengers will ejoy the individual climate control zones. To maintain some degree of efficiency, these zones are deactivated when no passenger is detected in the seat. Getting into the Q8 Sport Concept is facilitated via touch sensors in the Audi rings, which are placed on the B and C pillars. Touch these, and the door will pop open to let you in. The rear hatch is also power operated.

In terms of infotainment, the Q8 Sport Concept gets advanced navigation systems that provide the driver with predictive efficiency capabilities (more on that in the next section). The infotainment also gets a variety of car-to-X services via the Audi connect system.

To view and control the various settings onboard, the Q8 Sport Concept gets a number of large touchscreens. Starting things off is the Audi virtual cockpit, which is basically digital TFT instrumentation that’s placed behind the steering wheel. Resolution for this is set at an impressive 1,920 by 720 pixels, with measurements rated at 12.3-inch in the horizontal. There’s also something called a contact-analogue heads-up display with intelligent augmented reality tech that apparently “merges the real and the virtual worlds.” Cool.

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Audi included something called a contact-analogue heads-up display with intelligent augmented reality tech that apparently “merges the real and the virtual worlds.” Cool.

This heads-up display is used for vital driver information such as navigation and the like. It’s also used to relay important driver notification updates, and info on the various driver assist systems. As an example of this augmented reality feature, Audi says the heads-up display will project a giant arrow that points the way to your destination, kinda like something you might see in a video game.

There are a variety of ways to view and access the available infotainment systems. For example, you can look at nav info via a top-down map, plus there’s a three-dimensional display for the speedometer and powermeter. Controlling it all are buttons on the steering wheel.

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It’s no surprise the various touschscreens play the biggest role in the control scheme. Audi says this was intended to reduce the number of hard buttons in the cabin for a cleaner look.

It’s no surprise the various touschscreens play the biggest role in the control scheme. Audi says this was intended to reduce the number of hard buttons in the cabin for a cleaner look, with the central MMI display providing the control hub for the climate settings through a diagonal sloping section in the central console, which also helps to accommodate the driver’s wrist when it’s resting on the shifter. Another small touchscreen is placed to the left of the steering wheel for operation of the lights.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the Q8 Sport Concept offers lots of cargo space in back, with 22.2 cubic feet for stuff. Compared to the current Audi Q7, that’s actually a sizable amount of space. For reference, we’ve included the interior measurements for the 2017 Audi Q7 below.

Audi Q7 Interior Specs

Head room (inches, front / middle / rear) 38.4 / 38.8 /35.9
Leg room (inches, front / middle / rear) 41.7 / 38.8 / 29.2
Shoulder room (inches, front / middle / rear) 59.5 / 58.5 / 49.4
Cargo space (seats folded up) 14.8 cubic feet
Cargo space (seats folded down) 71.6 square feet

Engine And Drivetrain

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While the Audi Q8 Sport Concept does offer a few interesting ideas in terms of styling and interior layout, the really interesting features are found under the hood.

Like many things in life, the good stuff starts with a turbocharged, gas-burning internal combustion engine – a 3.0-liter TFSI six-cylinder, to be exact. To this basic configuration, Audi added something it’s calling a “mild” hybrid system, or mHEV, as well as an electrically operated compressor.

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Total output comes in at 476 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

Total output comes in at 476 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, all of which is dumped to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. Extra grip arrives courtesy of Audi’s quattro AWD system, as expected.

Properly motivated, acceleration specs look like 0-to-100 km (0-to-62 mph) in 4.7 seconds, while top speed is rated at 171 mph. So it’s quick, but the set-up also offers a range of 1,200 km (746 miles), making this one hybrid that can definitely go the distance.

But it’s the details that really make this powertrain shine.

But it’s the details that really make this powertrain shine. There’s an energy recuperation system onboard that will accumulate up to 20 kW in extra power. Making it happen is a starter generator that’s mounted between the crankshaft and transmission, creating a slow draw to help soak up errant energy when needed, such as under braking. The system can also keep the SUV moving ahead while in stop and go traffic, even with the engine turned off, which means the driver can go full EV mode when the time is right, and thus maximize efficiency.

This generator can also be called upon to produce heaps of additional power, similar to an electric motor in a performance hybrid vehicle. Pair the ICE and electric motor as a single unit, with the 20 kW and 125 pound-feet of torque added from the electric motor, and you get nice dose of twist at the low end of the rpm band, while also enjoying solid power at the top – a nice combo, indeed.

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Pair the boosted ICE and electric motor as a single unit, and you get nice dose of twist at the low end of the rpm band, while also enjoying solid power at the top – a nice combo, indeed.

Furthermore, Audi contends that this is the first-ever powertrain to pair a 3.0-liter TFSI six-cylinder with both an electric compressor and a mild hybrid system.

Regarding the forced induction, there are two turbos that spool up using the traditional exhaust gas-driven operation. However, there’s also an electrically powered compressor (juiced by a 48-volt electric system) that stuffs even more atmosphere into the cylinders, creating a heap more power in the process.

Basically, the set-up places the electric compressor in a bypass on the intake that’s past the boost-fed intercooler, which means its quite close in proximity to the intake manifold. It then uses an electric compressor to create more boost, with the compressor wheel spinning up to 70,000 rpm in less than 250 milliseconds, once again filling the gap left in the lower end of the rpm band, creating all that juicy throttle response and beefing up the torque curve even further.

The electric compressor is used to create more boost, with the compressor wheel spinning up to 70,000 rpm in less than 250 milliseconds, once again filling the gap left in the lower end of the rpm band.

A similar compressor system is already in use on the 435-horsepower Audi SQ7 TDI SUV, and it’s reminiscent of the system Audi used to set a new diesel-powered lap record at the Sachsenring race track in Germany last year.

Audi says the twin turbo and compressor combo is like adding two extra cylinders to the V-6 in terms of performance, while also yielding fuel returns like a four-banger. Compared to a standard six-cylinder powertrain, the mHEV manages to drink one less liter of fuel for every 100 km traveled, while also producing 25 g/km (40 g/mile) less in CO2 emissions.

For better weight distribution, the lithium-ion battery is placed in back under the cargo area. This unit has a capacity of 0.9 kWh. There’s also a 22.5-gallon fuel tank, and with both the tank and battery filled to the brim, the Q8 manages that previously mentioned 746-mile range.

Finally, to help make the most of the complicated powertrain, there’s a smart fuel management system, with provides either lots of go, or lots of efficiency and energy recuperation as needed. It even integrates with the navigation system for predictive efficiency as standard, which will do things like make more power up hills, and draw more braking energy down hills.

The fuel management integrates with the navigation system for predictive efficiency as standard, which will do things like make more power traveling up hills, and draw more braking energy traveling down hills.

“The drive system of the Audi Q8 Sport Concept is a major step towards optimizing efficiency and sustainability in large-volume series production,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management at Audi. “The combination of mild hybrid technology and a TFSI engine sets a new benchmark for the synthesis of elecromobility and combustion engines. In the future, this combination will be used in many Audi models.”

Sounds good to us. More power is always a plus, and if we can get it without burning more fuel, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Chassis And Handling

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Although it’s a big, heavy SUV, the Q8 Sport Concept gets a suspension system that should keep it feeling relatively sprightly in the corners. It all starts with a five-link set-up for both the front and rear corners, utilizing a lightweight construction. The five-links then incorporate an air suspension system with adaptive dampers, offering both comfort and sportiness as desired.

That means multiple drive modes as controlled from the cockpit, plus five different settings for the ride height, each of which are divided into individual 3.5-inch increments. With so much adjustability, you’d expect the Q8 Sport Concept to have the right settings no matter the conditions, whether it’s cruising down the freeway, attacking a few corners, or rumbling around off road.

With so much adjustability, you’d expect the Q8 Sport Concept to have the right settings no matter the conditions, whether it’s cruising down the freeway, attacking a few corners, or rumbling around off road.

The tires are sized at 305/35R23, and come mounted on wheels sized at 11J x 23. Those are rather large rollers for something that’s supposed to be somewhat efficient, so if max mpg is a concern, skinnier low-rolling resistance rubber should help substantially – at the cost of performance, of course. The wheel design uses a five Y-spoke design.

Finally, massive ceramic brake discs are used to haul it all down, measuring in at a staggering 20 inches in diameter.

Conclusion

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There’s a lot to like about the Audi Q8 Sport Concept. It’s a striking piece of design, with attractive lines for the exterior and interior. The cabin in particular looks ready to hit production, and I hope Audi considers it ready to go as-is. Audi’s current production cabin design isn’t bad, but I think it could use the geometric glitz on display here.

The best thing about this concept is its powertrain.

However, the best thing about this concept is its powertrain. While pairing a 3.0-liter TFSI with hybrid power and an electric compressor is a rather complex means of making horsepower, the results speak for themselves. And yes, this is still a concept, but the specificity of the horsepower and torque figures, mpg figures, and acceleration figures tell me Audi isn’t blowing smoke on this one. These are likely the numbers consumers will enjoy when this thing hits production, or at least they’re in the general ballpark.

We’ll see how close the production iteration is to the concept when it debuts. Either way, we’re excited to see this powertrain in action, whether it’s on an SUV, or somewhere else in the Audi lineup.

  • Leave it
    • * Still just a concept, when will we see it in production?
    • * Highly complex powertrain
    • * Will likely come with a very high price tag

Press Release

Groundbreaking drive system technology and an accentuated sporty look: at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, Audi will be presenting another concept car which demonstrates the potential of the future Q8 model range. The Audi Q8 sport concept study demonstrates the vision Audi’s developers and designers have for the dynamic yet efficient SUV of tomorrow.

Characteristic aerodynamic features in the front and rear are a prominent part of the Audi Q8 sport concept design. The highly efficient drive system concept of the study is particularly groundbreaking. The 3.0 TFSI six-cylinder engine featuring a mild hybrid system and an electric powered compressor is a world first. The result: the Q8 sport concept presents itself.

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as a multi-disciplined athlete with a number of talents. Thanks to its 350 kW (476 hp) output and its 700 Newton meters (516.3 lb-ft) of torque, it sprints from 0 - 100 km/h (0 ‑ 62.1 mph) in just 4.7 seconds and keeps going until it reaches its top speed of 275 km/h (170.9 mph). Meanwhile, its range of more than 1,200 kilometers (745.6 mi) ensures it is also suitable for long journeys.

Thanks to the superb recuperation performance of 20 kW, this prominent SUV holds back when it comes to fuel consumption. Compared with a model equipped with a regular TFSI six-cylinder engine without mHEV system, the Q8 sport concept with its 20 kW greater performance consumes around one liter less fuel per 100 km – that corresponds to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 25 g/km (40.2 g/mi).

“The drive system of the Audi Q8 sport concept is a major step towards optimizing efficiency and sustainability in large-volume series production. The combination of mild hybrid technology and a TFSI engine sets a new benchmark for the synthesis of electromobility and combustion engines. In the future, this combination will be used in many Audi models,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management at AUDI AG.

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Highly efficient power package: the drive system
The architecture of the drive system in the new Audi Q8 sport concept is revolutionary: for the first time ever, Audi is combining a 331 kW (450 hp) 3.0 TFSI six-cylinder engine with an electric powered compressor and an effective mild hybrid system for recuperation. The starter generator positioned between the crankshaft and the transmission handles recuperation and, if required, can work in the opposite direction as an additional electric motor. The 48-volt electrical system assures the supply of electrical power.

For the customer, this approach has a number of advantages: the energy recovered as part of recuperation can, if required, be used to increase performance. During boost operation – where the combustion engine and electric motor are used simultaneously – the electric motor’s additional 20 kW of output and its torque of 170 Nm (125.4 lb-ft) open up a total of 350 kW of power to the engine and bring its total torque up to 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft). The result is sporty acceleration from any speed and rev range.

Positioned at the rear under the luggage compartment, the lithium‑ion battery with an energy storage capacity of 0.9 kWh makes it possible to keep moving slowly in stop-start traffic with the combustion engine switched off, as well as allowing for maneuvering and parking under electric power alone. During braking, efficient recuperation using the 20-kW-strong starter generator quickly recharges the battery to ensure that the vehicle can regularly be driven under electric power.

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In addition to the two exhaust gas turbochargers, the electric powered compressor provides the Q8 sport concept with an additional kick by supplying the three-liter six-cylinder engine with fresh air. The electric powered compressor supports the turbochargers at times when the exhaust gas is insufficient for rapid development of power. It therefore opens up delay-free acceleration to the V6 gasoline engine – something previously only known to diesel engines and electric motors. It’s a recipe for success which already works impressively in the series production Audi SQ7.

The electric powered compressor is positioned in a bypass downstream of the intercooler, i.e. close to the engine. Instead of the turbine wheel, it integrates a compact electric motor. It accelerates the engine’s compressor wheel up to 70,000 rpm in less than 250 milliseconds. With the support of the electric powered compressor, the power of the 3.0 TFSI is always spontaneously available as soon as the accelerator is depressed, even at low engine speeds. When driving off, the SUV immediately takes a lead of several meters ahead of the competition. During comfort-oriented driving, the electric powered compressor technology prevents unnecessary downshifts and thus keeps the engine speed at a low level. Meanwhile, sporty drivers will appreciate the supreme and spontaneous delivery of power when exiting curves.

The Q8 sport concept drive system with its V6 TFSI and additional electric motor supplies the performance of a true eight-cylinder engine, yet with the fuel consumption of a frugal four-cylinder. That’s because, compared with a similar engine without mild hybrid system, the consumption reduces by more than a liter per 100 kilometers, despite serving up 20 kW of additional power. The total range of the Q8 sport concept equipped with an 85-liter (22.5 US gal) fuel tank is more than 1,200 kilometers (745.6 mi).

When driving, the drive system management controls the operating states of the Audi both intelligently and flexibly: the luxury SUV can boost, coast and recuperate as appropriate for the situation. The predictive efficiency assistant is a standard feature which supports the driver by supplying greatly detailed information on the vehicle surroundings to the control unit. Route data from the navigation system and Car-to-X services from Audi connect are also taken into account.

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High-tech from production models: drivetrain and suspension
In the Audi Q8 sport concept, the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system transfers the power of the drive system to the road with supreme control. Even for its wide-track chassis, the technology study makes use of the latest high-end solutions from the luxury-class product portfolio. The adaptive air suspension sport – an air suspension system with controlled damping – allows for a broad spectrum of ride characteristics, ranging from cushioned cruising to firm and tight handling. Furthermore, it sets the ground clearance in five levels with 90‑millimeter (3.5 in) height differences, selecting the ideal level in each case. The front and rear axles are engineered as lightweight five-link constructions.

Audi mounts 305/35 tires on the large 11J x 23 wheels. The five intertwining Y‑spokes project a filigree and at the same time powerful image. Ceramic brake discs measuring 20 inches in diameter effortlessly decelerate the Audi Q8 sport concept.

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Dynamic lines and high-tech design details
At first glance, it is clearly a highly dynamic and luxurious Audi – that’s how the Audi Q8 concept study was received at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. The debutant in Geneva is an even more sporty variation of this composition and is also an elegant alternative to the robust presence of a classic Sport Utility Vehicle. The Q8 and Q8 sport concept are synonymous with utmost prestige, dedicated sportiness and visually-present technology in all areas.

At 5.02 meters (16.5 ft) long, the Audi Q8 sport concept makes an impressive mark on the luxury class. Thanks to a wheelbase of three meters (9.8 ft), the show car offers plenty of space for passengers and luggage. Despite the sloping, coupe-like roofline, even the rear-seat passengers enjoy ample head and shoulder room. The new operating concept uses large touchscreens in the cockpit, rounded out by an expanded version of the Audi virtual cockpit and a contact-analogue head-up display. The latter uses intelligent augmented reality technology that merges the real and the virtual worlds.

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Viewed from the front, the 2.05 meter (6.7 ft) wide Audi Q8 sport concept looks imposing. A distinguishing feature here is the octagonal Singleframe. It is a sculpted piece and is significantly wider than in today’s Audi production models. Its surface has a honeycomb lattice structure overlayed with aluminum segments, whilst the surround is painted in a contrasting color. As is typical of Audi Sport models, the outer air inlets are much larger compared with the basic model – a sign of the greater air requirements of the high-performance power unit. A distinctive body-colored blade forms the bottom edge of the bumper.

The flat, wedge-shaped headlights of the Audi Q8 sport concept are integrated into the front end and, from a design perspective, are connected with the adjoining air inlets. The individual light elements have a glass cover, but the entire headlight units are not enclosed. This creates the impression that they are free in space. Their aluminum housing carries over the sculpture of the Singleframe. An x-shaped, blue laser light signature accentuates the digital Matrix laser technology used for the low and high beams. Broken down into more than one million pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high resolution and with precise control. Located below the edge of the engine hood is a narrow LED light guide that emits the light for the dynamic turn signals and the daytime running lights. It wraps around the outside of the headlights, where its ribs create an innovative e-tron signature. All lighting functions are dynamic.

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Powerful: the side view
The silhouette of the Audi technology study also evokes tautness. The doors have no window frames and thus contribute to the flat roofline. The Audi Q8 sport concept is 1.70 meters (5.6 ft) tall. All lines on the body climb upward dynamically toward the rear – the bottom edge of the side windows, the shoulders, the dynamic line and the sill line. 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 as well as the carbon-fiber exterior mirrors with their multifaceted edges. The doors are opened using touch elements: as soon as the sensors in the Audi rings on the B or C pillar are touched, the door simply pops open to a defined position.

The extremely flat and very wide C-pillar is reminiscent of the original Audi quattro from the 1980s, as are the strongly flared shoulders over the wheels. This places the concept car in a logical line with the show cars of the Audi Prologue series. The balanced proportions of the Audi Q8 sport concept emphasize the front and rear wheels equally – that, too, is typical quattro. Compared with the Q8 show car from Detroit, the wheel housings have been widened by a further 12 millimeters (0.5 in). The strongly accentuated wheel arches feature a double design. The sill region of the doors shines in brushed aluminum, ensuring an intriguing contrast to the show car’s krypton orange paint finish.

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Flat and compact: the rear
A long roof edge spoiler shades the extremely flat rear window of the Audi concept car. A doubly-shaped spoiler lip below it forms a distinctive contour on the power luggage compartment hatch. The light strip extending over the entire width of the rear end is part of the distinctive light signature. It serves as both the tail and brake lights as well as the dynamic turn signals.

The outer light elements are edged by aluminum blades whose inner strut is drawn broadly into the rear of the vehicle. The individual elements of the tail lights are also designed to be open, and all lighting functions are dynamic.

The license plate on the Audi Q8 sport concept is located under a black trim strip between the lights. The diffuser is made of aluminum, while its crosspiece is in high-gloss carbon fiber. Set in the diffuser, the oval exhaust tailpipes are equally striking in their design thanks to their brushed aluminum surface.

Luxury lounge for four: the interior
The interior of the Audi Q8 sport concept offers opulent spaciousness for four persons and their large suitcases. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 630 liters (22.2 cu ft). Widely stretched lines lend the cockpit a sporty yet elegant ambiance. Virtually floating above the center tunnel is a console for the shift‑by‑wire lever with which the driver controls the eight-speed tiptronic transmission purely electronically.

The wrap‑around begins in the front doors. This large, horizontal arc runs along the lower edge of the windshield and frames both the driver’s and front passenger’s seats without hemming in the occupants. The sport seats as well as the two individual seats in the rear are made up of segments that appear to be separate geometric bodies, from the pronounced side bolsters to the head restraints. A horizontal aluminum trim piece divides the backrests at the height of the window belt line.

The instrument panel with its distinctly horizontal character descends in steps toward the interior. The central control and display surfaces are integrated into the “black panel” – a glossy black strip framed by an aluminum surround. When switched off, the screen is invisibly embedded in the surface and the lines flow harmoniously. When the display is in operation, it assimilates perfectly into the design line. In the front passenger area, the black panel features a graphical quattro badge. The arrow-shaped inlays in the doors pick up the expressive design. Filigree aluminum bars integrated into them serve as door openers. When dark, LED light guides illuminate the interior with white light.

The colors and materials in the Audi Q8 sport concept provide for a cool and sporty atmosphere. One highlight is the three-dimensional, engineered grain on the instrument panel, doors and floor. High-gloss carbon-fiber applications with a new, abstract woven structure, as well as aluminum strips and frames set accents. Their brushed finish is comparatively dark. Brightness increases gradually from the headlining to the center console in graduated gray tones from steel gray to pastel silver.

The technical materials in the Audi Q8 sport concept contrast with the soft surfaces. The seats are covered in a combination of Fine Nappa leather and Nubuk leather, both in pastel silver. The upholstery is pulled around the trim piece that divides the backrests – here, the inside becomes the outside. The head restraints are covered with a structured textile of a color similar to that of the leather elements.

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New ways: controls and displays
The elegant interior architecture of the Audi Q8 sport concept merges with a groundbreaking control and display concept. Information and commands are passed primarily through touch displays augmented by the Audi virtual cockpit future and a contact-analogue head-up display. All displays feature a new “digital design” that concentrates systematically on only the most important things.

The contact-analogue head-up display projects important displays onto the windshield in the driver’s direct field of view, seemingly placing them in the real environment. A navigation arrow, for example, appears in the same position as an actual arrow on the road – an intelligent application of augmented reality. The notifications from the driver assistance systems also merge the virtual and physical worlds.

The Audi virtual cockpit future is even more dynamic thanks to new functions and, with a resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels, it displays graphics with more detail than ever before. In “auto” display mode, the 12.3-inch TFT display offers generous space for maps, lists and additional information. The top-down map view visualizes the selected route. When zooming in, the current position and surroundings are displayed in 3D. Through the buttons on the steering wheel, the driver can switch to “performance” mode. The needles of the speedometer and powermeter now appear in a three-dimensional perspective display.

All other screens in the Audi Q8 sport concept are touch displays. The great strength of this principle is the direct, fast and intuitive operation. Drivers select each function exactly where they see it. By implementing touchscreens, Audi was also able to further reduce the number of buttons, switches and levers. The interior now appears even neater and more streamlined.

The MMI display in center of the dashboard is used to control the infotainment system and vehicle settings. A display for the climate control system is integrated into the diagonally sloping section of the center console. While using this display, the driver’s wrist can be rested comfortably on the low selector lever of the eight-speed tiptronic. If the sensors in the seat detect a front-seat passenger, the touchscreen shows their climate control settings. If the driver is alone, this function is deactivated. Another smaller touchscreen to the left of the steering wheel is reserved for the lighting functions.

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