It’s not what you’d expect from a range-topping SUV

The Audi Q8 SUV is making its long-awaited debut today, and the first images of the SUV reveal a somewhat messy-looking front end that appears to have robbed the vehicle from becoming a drop-dead gorgeous model. The overall design of the production Q8 is relatively similar to the concept versions — the Q8 and Q8 Sport Concepts - that came before it, but there is something to be said for what looks to be an overdone design by Audis’ traditionally astute designers.

Does the Audi Q8's Massive Grille Ruin the Whole Design? Exterior
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The all-new Audi Q8 still looks good, proving that a car’s overall design can make up for some shortcomings in some specific sections

The all-new Audi Q8 still looks good, proving that a car’s overall design can make up for some shortcomings in some specific sections. The side profile of the Q8, for example, is a design highlight. It can be argued that it’s the sportiest angle of the SUV, a case brought about by the gently sloping roof and the heavily raked C-pillar. It has one-too-many short body lines, but the length and placement of these lines were done in a way that they end up complementing each other to create a sporty visual look.

The rear profile also gets high marks, largely because of how clean it looks despite being a tad too busy visually. Audi succeeded in the placement of some of the components seen in this section, specifically the tailgate-mounted spoiler, the sporty rear bumper, and the eye-catching diffuser. All three are prominent components that could have created a messy design configuration, but Audi was able to create enough clean space for these items that they don’t end up swallowing the others aesthetically. The thin strip LED taillights are also a nice touch, even though it’s something that everybody seems to be using these days.

Does the Audi Q8's Massive Grille Ruin the Whole Design? Exterior
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The single-frame grille is a unique Audi design trait

If the Q8 has a design flaw, it can be found in the front section. You’ll notice it immediately because of how prominent it is. All the other design bits in this section look solid. The single-frame grille is a unique Audi design trait. The slender LED headlights help create an aggressive look to the SUV. Even the sculpted hood, silver skid plate, and the massive air intakes help give the Q8 the sporty growl. The issue is the contrasting grey surround on the grille. It’s too big and prominent that it almost steals the attention away from the other components that make up the front section of the SUV. That kind of attention-grabbing design detail is normally reserved for a smash mouth pickup like the previous Ford F-150s because it fits into the identity of a rugged pickup. Unfortunately, it doesn’t connect as well on a range-topping SUV that could be packaged as a high-riding luxury vehicle in its own right.

Does the Audi Q8's Massive Grille Ruin the Whole Design? Exterior
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But for those who put great importance on the design of a car, that large grille surround could turn into a visual eyesore

Fortunately, it’s not that big of a problem that it destroys the whole design of the Audi Q8. But for those who put great importance on the design of a car, that large grille surround could turn into a visual eyesore. Simply put, it doesn’t belong in the Q8, or at the very least, it should have been a lot smaller and less imposing than it is.

Further Reading

2018 Audi Q8

2018 Audi Q8
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Read our speculative review on the upcoming 2018 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.

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