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Detroit LIVE: Audi Q8 concept

by Ronan Glon

The Q8 concept previews a production model scheduled to debut next year.

Audi has traveled to the Detroit Auto Show to introduce a new concept named Q8. The sharply-styled design study previews a production model that's scheduled to debut next year.

The Q8 takes the form of a large, stylish SUV with a coupe-like roof line. Its front end wears a sharper evolution of Audi's design language characterized by a grille that's much wider than the one typically found on the company's current models. The grille adopts chromed vertical slats -- a surprisingly Maserati Levante-esque styling cue -- for the first time.

The rear end receives thin tail lamps and pronounced, vented haunches that hark back to the original Quattro coupe which won countless rally events in the 1980s. 23-inch alloy wheels add a finishing touch to the upscale look.

The cabin offers space for four passengers on individual seats and up to 22 cubic feet of trunk space. Virtually every knob, button, and switch on the dashboard has been replaced by touch-sensitive surfaces. Important information about the SUV and the outside world is displayed either on a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster or on a heads-up display.

Power is provided by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain made up of a 3.0-liter TFSI V6 engine and a compact electric motor integrated into an eight-speed automatic transmission. The two power sources transfer 442 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels, allowing the Q8 to hit 62 mph from a stop in 5.4 seconds. Alternatively, the SUV is capable of driving on electricity alone for 37 miles.

The Audi Q8 won't remain a concept for long, and our spies have already caught a toned-down version of it undergoing cold weather tests in Scandinavia.

Live images by Brian Williams.