The 2019 Audi Q8 SUV has been unveiled with Audi calling it the “new face of the Q family”, clearly pointing to a new corporate look for its crossover range.
After a run of teaser sketches and videos, Audi revealed the Q8 at its brand summit in China, using the city of Shenzen to launch the new crossover to the media.
The Q8 runs on the same MLB Evo platform as the Audi Q7 and gets a similar range of engines, but the Q8 has a greater focus on both luxury and technology.
Unlike the seven seat Q7, the new Q8 will only have five seats, thanks to its shorter overall length and sloped rear end. At 4990mm long, 2000mm wide and 1710mm tall, it’s wider and lower as well.
But its near three-metre long wheelbase means there should be plenty of rear legroom, with an optional sliding second row liberating even more room.
This should appeal to Chinese consumers which have a preference for large expanses for rear seat passengers.
The Q8’s interior
Inside, the luggage space will give you up to 1,755 liters (62.0 cubic feet) when the back seats are folded down, so it should be practical enough.
The interior has been pared back to be controlled via several screens instead of buttons, with a dual-screen layout similar in look and feel to the A6 and A8 range.
This means a a 10.1-inch upper screen which is used primarily for infotainment and sat-nav, while the 8.6-inch lower screen covers the climate control, comfort systems and text input.
Up front there’s also Audi’s Virtual Cockpit 12.3-inch instrumentation which is customisable.
Audi says you can also option customised “contour seats” with a massage function, as well as seat heating and cooling.
Four-zone climate control and an air quality package are also available.
The Q8’s drivetrain
Underneath is a quattro all wheel drive system, which normally splits the drive 40:60 front to rear, but can send more than 80 per cent to the rear if required.
Optional air suspension allows the Q8 to lift in off road mode so that there’s 254 millimetres (10-inches) of ground clearance. That suspension comes with adaptive damping in two versions – comfort or sport.
At speed, it will drop the car by up to 90mm to keep airflow underneath to a minimum.
While progressive steering is standard, you can option all wheel steering which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speed, but in the same direction at high speed.
This helps you to park easier, but effectively lengthens the wheelbase at higher speed, aiding stability.
There’s also a mild hybrid 48 volt system which looks after the rear wheel steering module, as well as recuperating kinetic energy during braking.
But the most interesting aspect is that it allows you to coast without the engine at speeds from 55kmh (34mph) to 160kmh (100mph).
In Europe, the new Q8 SUV will come with a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel (which will be badged as the Q8 50 TDI), making 210kW of power and 600Nm of torque.
Further down the line will be a lower-spec version of the 3.0-litre diesel (to be badged Q8 45 TDI), with that engine making 170kW and 500Nm.
North America will get the Q8 55 TFSI which comes with a 330kW 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 – the same engine as in the SQ5.
Will there be an RS Q8 at some stage? We can only hope, but there hasn’t been any confirmation at this stage.
Several assistance features will be coming to the Q8 at a later date. These include remote control of the car when parking, and a kerb warning system to prevent you marking those gorgeous wheels.
Audi says it expects to kick off Q8 sales in Europe by the third quarter of 2018 and in North America later this year as well.