Audi’s answer to the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

After five years of rumors that began when Audi trademarked the Q8 name in 2012, the German company finally unveiled its proposition against the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Actually, the crossover introduced at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show is just a concept for now, but a production model is scheduled to follow soon.

When BMW introduced the X6 in 2009, a new segment was born. But although the crossover BMW describes as a Sports Activity Coupe proved somewhat popular with SUV enthusiasts, the trend didn’t catch on with other automakers until 2013. That’s when Mercedes-Benz revealed plans to develop a coupe-like crossover based on the M-Class. Shortly after, rumors of a Cayenne Coupe emerged, signaling that Germany’s finest automakers finally pay more attention to this niche. Although the details are still under wraps as of May 2017, a test car has already been spotted on public roads, a sign that the production Q8 isn’t far. Join me in my speculative review to find out what we already know about the sporty crossover.

Updated 10/04/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi Q8 out for a new testing session, and this time we have more clear images of the interior.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Q8.

  • 2018 Audi Q8
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    78000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

October 4, 2017 - Audi Q8 reveals its interior

2018 Audi Q8
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2018 Audi Q8
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May 29, 2017 - Audi Q8 caught testing at Nurbugring once again

2018 Audi Q8 Spyshots Exterior
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2018 Audi Q8 Spyshots Exterior
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April 7, 2017 - Audi Q8 caught testing at Nurburgring

2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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July 13, 2016 - Audi Q7 based mule caught testing

2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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Essentially developed as a more emotional and sporty version of the Q7, the Q8 will borrow many of its styling cues from the Q8 concept. Granted, it won’t be as wild as the latter, but the camouflaged test cars appear to sport similar features. For instance, the "singleframe" grille is only slight smaller than the concept, which gives the crossover a sporty stance. Likewise, the headlamps are almost identical as far as shape and size go, although they use a different LED layout. Bigger differences can be spotted below, where the side air vents are smaller and lack the aluminum surround the make the Q8 concept stand out. Also, the lower intake is narrower, while the splitter seen on the concept is missing. Still, the Q8 definitely looks sportier than the Q7 up front.

It’s difficult to tell what Audi changed on the sides due to the swirly camo pattern, but it’s pretty obvious that the side mirrors are larger, while the wheel arches are not as pronounced as the concept’s. Likewise, Audi scrapped the concept’s beefed-up rear fenders. Not surprising really, but not such a big deal given the sporty design.

2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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Essentially developed as a more emotional and sporty version of the Q7, the Q8 will borrow many of its styling cues from the Q8 concept.

More changes are in store around back, and the biggest of them is in the taillight department. While the concept SUV has Porsche-style lights that run across the entire width of the rear fascia, the test car appears to sport Audi-specific units on each side. Also, the bumper is less aggressive and lacks the sporty diffuser seen on the concept. Other features that set the production model apart include a simpler roof spoiler, narrower D-pillars, and different wheels.

The sporty SUV rides on Volkswagen’s second-generation MLB platform, also shared by the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, Bentley Bentayga, and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus.

Interior

2018 Audi Q8 Interior Spyshots
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While the Q7 and Q8 will be a bit different as far as exterior design goes, the two will share the same technology on the inside. I wouldn’t bet on the Q8 borrowing too many features from the concept car, but a clean dashboard design and sporty seats are definitely on the table.

2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2017 - 2018 Audi Q7
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Note: Q8 concept pictured on the left, Q7 concept pictured on the right.

Naturally, the Q8’s cabin will be packed with the finest materials we can expect from an automaker such as Audi.

The spy shots confirm that it will get the same continuous air vent strip seen in current Audis, and the clean center stack and digital instrument cluster seen in the Q7. There’s an infotainment screen atop the dashboard, and another display in the center stack, just above the gear lever area. The latter seems to provide access to the air conditioning system, among other functions, and its lower aluminum section includes the engine start button.

Naturally, the Q8’s cabin will be packed with the finest materials we can expect from an automaker such as Audi. The seats will be wrapped in leather and Alcantara in several color options and complemented by a host of aluminum and wood trims, including Beaufort walnut. The crossover will also benefit from a new MMI system featuring intelligent suggestions for different tasks, including searching for specific song titles or navigation destinations. As far as entertainment goes, the Q8 will probably come with one or optionally two 10.1-inch tablets as rear seat monitors.

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 Drivetrain
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Note: Audi Q7 engine pictured here.

Much like the Q7, the Q8 will receive a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines.

In the Q7, the 2.0-liter four-banger cranks out 252 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. Next in line is a 3.0-liter V-6 making 333 ponies and 325 pound-feet of torque, which is the most powerful gasoline unit now that Audi has dropped the 4.2-liter V-8 for the SUV.

Moving over to diesels, the familiar 3.0-liter TDI churns 272 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, while a second version of the turbo-diesel V-6 generates 218 horses and 369 pound-feet of twist.

Much like the Q7, the Q8 will receive a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines.

A high-performance RS Q8 is also in the books according to reports, but it remains to be seen what specific engine it will use.

A Q8 e-tron version is also likely. This model will pair a 3.0-liter TDI and an electric motor built into the eight-speed automatic transmission. The combo develops 373 horses and 516 pound-feet of torque in the Q7 and provides a 34.8-miles of range on electric power only.

Expect these figures to change for the Q8, as most of the drivetrains above will receive an update before the crossover arrives in dealerships. Or so it should.

Prices

2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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Audi has yet to announce a specific timetable for the Q8’s arrival, but word has it the SUV will arrive in time for the 2018 model year. According to Autocar, the Q8 will retail from £50,000 in the UK, with the range-topping RS Q8 version priced from around £90,000. These figures convert to $66.200 and $119,000, respectively, as of July 2016.

Competition

BMW X6

2015 BMW X6 High Resolution Exterior
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2015 BMW X6 High Resolution Exterior
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The first true coupe-like SUV available on the market received an extensive update for the 2015 model year. Highlights include a narrower front grille, a more aggressive front bumper, and revised taillights and exhaust pipes around back. The crossover is also 20 pounds lighter than its predecessor, a noteworthy improvement given its slightly longer and wider body shell. Under the hood, the second-gen X6 carried on with the same engine choices, including the 3.0-liter inline-six and the 4.4-liter V-8. While the former carried over unchanged, making the same 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, the latter got its output increased from 400 ponies to 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from $60,600 for the 2016 model year.

Read our full review on the BMW X6.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Launched for the 2016 model year, the GLE Coupe is Mercedes’ answer to the BMW X6. Sporting a similar stance, but with Mercedes-specific cues, the GLE Coupe is available with an array of gasoline and diesel engines. In the U.S., it is sold in its sportiest iteration, namely the GLE 450 AMG 4Matic, which uses a bi-turbo, 3.0-liter, V-6 engine rated at 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. In other markets, Mercedes offers two more engines. A diesel powerplant that cranks out 258 ponies and 457 pound-feet in the base GLE 350d 4Matic model, while the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 mounted in the AMG sport version pumps 333 horses and 354 pound-feet in the GLE 400 4Matic. U.S. pricing starts from $65,100.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.

Conclusion

2018 Audi Q8 Exterior Spyshots
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It’s way too early to draw a conclusion, but it’s exciting to see Audi expanding into a new market. The BMW X6 is no longer solo in its segment, and it appears all the major German companies are working on a competitor. With the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe already in showrooms and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe likely already underway, we’re about to witness a new battle of the titans.

  • Leave it
    • * No official details yet
    • * Release date unknown
    • * Yet another useless, X6-like crossover

References

Audi Q7

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q7.

Audi Q8

2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept.

2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept.

Update History

Updated 05/29/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi Q8 out for a new testing session at the famous Nurbugring race track.

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