After staying away from the SUV market segment for many years, luxury car automakers have realized what they have been missing. One such automaker is Audi. The automaker is now on a charm offensive and has already released the Q7, a coupe-like luxury crossover SUV. The automaker is also set to debut a bigger SUV which will slot above the Q7 to sit at the very top of the lineup. The new model will use the “Q8” nametag. In terms of performance and technology, the model will be at par with the A8 sedan. The 2019 Audi Q8 SUV will be underpinned by the MLB platform that also underpins the Q7, the VW Touareg, third-gen Porsche Cayenne and the yet to be released Bentley Bentayga.
The model’s structure will be made with high-strength steel while the body panels will use carbon fiber and aluminum to help maintain the model’s weight as minimum as possible. The base model is expected to weigh around 2,000 kg. Audi is specifically targeting the Chinese, North America and Middle Eastern markets where demand for premium SUVs is strong.
2019 Audi Q8 Exterior
Audi has not released any images of the Q8 so its exterior profile is still a mystery to us. The automaker is currently testing the SUV hidden under the body of the Q7. However, we know the Q8 will be sportier than the Q7. Most likely, the model will borrow most exterior cues from the Q7. As such, a huge grille flanked by thin headlights is likely. A coupe like roof which is identical to that of the Q7’s is also likely.
The rear will also be inspired by that of the Q7 but will be slightly tweaked to look more stylish. Other likely features include shallower side glass compared to the Q7, angled rear windows and a sloping roofline. According to reports, the SUV will measure around 197 inches long. More details will be available as the model nears its official on sale date.
2019 Audi Q8 Interior
The Q8 will be more exclusively designed than the Q7 to justify its position at the helm of the SUV lineup. The Q8 will adopt most of its styling cues from the Q7 but with the sophistication of the A8 sedan. Expect the cabin to feature premium materials in the industry as well as the most up-to-date safety, connectivity and entertainment technologies.
Leather and Alcantara will be the standard upholstery materials on the seats. Surfaces not covered with leather or Alcantara will feature aluminum and wood trims. I hope the automaker adopts the dashboard of the Q7 which features a continuous vent strip, a digital instrument cluster and a clean looking center stack.
The model will also feature the new MMI system which integrates intelligent technologies. The dashboard will also feature a large screen to host the vehicle’s infotainment system. The rear passengers will also benefit from two large tablets mounted on the rear seat headrests. A premium audio system will also be offered for the audiophiles.
The model will accommodate either 5 or seven passengers spread over two or three rows respectively.
Engine and performance
As of this writing, the automaker had not released official information about the engines the Q8 will use. However, rumor has it that the SUV will feature similar lineup of engines as the Q7. These include gasoline and diesel engines. Diesel engines will not be offered in North America. A 2.0 L, 4-cylinder mill will also be used in some markets. The base 2.0 L, 4-cylinder engine is expected to produce 252 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. The first V-6 engine is a 3.0 L mill rated at 333 horses and 325 lb-ft of torque.
The diesel engines will include a 3.0 L, TDI rated at 272 horses and 442 lb-ft of torque. There will also be a turbo diesel V-6 capable of 218 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque. According to rumors, Audi is also likely to feature a Q8 e-tron which will be powered by a pairing of the 3.0 L TDI and an electric motor. The combination is expected to produce 373 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.
The drive-train battery pack will provide 34.8 miles on electric power only. All the engines will be paired with a ZF-sourced, 8-speed automatic transmission system that will channel power to all wheels. Audi may also offer the RS Q8. This is a performance-oriented model which will be powered by a twin-turbocharged V-8 petrol mill capable of producing over 500 horses.
Audi will likely update the drive-trains to ensure the Q8 lineup of engines offers more power output than the Q7 to justify its position at the top of the SUV lineup.
Price and release date
The German automaker is yet to release official on sale dates of the SUV or its official prices. However, rumor has it that the model will be showcased at an international motor show next year before going on sale in 2018 as a 2019 model.
As for the prices, a starting price of £50,000 ($66,200) is likely while the top-of-the-range RS Q8 is expected to fetch £90,000($119,000) before options.
As you would expect, the top rivals of the new 2019 Audi Q8 are models from BMW and Mercedes. They are the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. Its closest competitor however will be the Bentley Bentayga and the next-gen Porsche Cayenne.