Audi set to enter the coupé-SUV arena
Audi is all set to join its German opponents Mercedes and BMW adding coupé-styled SUVs to its collection. The new models will be the Q4 and Q8. Previewed by its concept namesake previous this year, the Q8 will be Audi’s new flagship SUV that will enter production sometime next year. Based on the same underpinnings as the Q7, the Q8 will be manufactured at Audi’s plant in Bratislava, Slovakia – the same facility that has been producing the Q7 since 2005. When it goes on sale globally, the Q8 will rival the likes of the BMW X6. For 2019, Audi has announced that it will begin production of the all-new Q4 coupé-SUV. In March, the carmaker had set that the model was set to go into production. The all-new Q4 will sit between the Q3 and Q5 with styling cues expected to be borrowed from the 2014 Audi TT Off-road concept.
The new Q4 will be shaped at Audi’s facility in Győr, Hungary with the plant set to undertake manufacture of the Q3 from next year as well. The Q3 is currently manufactured in Martorell, Spain at fellow VW Group sister brand Seat’s production facility. Speaking on the announcement, Audi’s Board of Management member for Production and Logistics, Dr Hubert Waltl said, “We will integrate two completely new Q models into the existing production network and will thus increase our competitiveness in an extremely important segment.” The Q-8 sports a striking exterior design that combines the large footprint of an SUV with the sleek lines of a coupé. It is powered by an e-tron-badged plug-in hybrid powertrain made up of a 3.0 TFSI petrol engine – which produces 334hp and 500Nm – and an electric motor. A 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery is located at the rear. It gives a claimed all-electric range of around 60km and, with a full tank of fuel, the Q8 has a claimed maximum range of up to 1,000km.
The electric motor enhances 136hp and 317Nm, carrying the joint system outputs to 449hp and 700Nm, which is enough for the Q8 to hit 100kph from rest in just 5.4sec and go on to a limited top speed of 250 KPH. Q8 uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with permanent quattro four-wheel drive. It features a torque control system to expand agility by braking an inside wheel when cornering at speed. The car sits on five-link adaptive air suspension, front and rear. Adjustable damping control allows the driver to switch from Comfort mode to a firmer Sport mode, with the different settings raising or lowering the car by as much as 90mm. At 5,020mm long and 2,040mm wide, the Q8 footprint is larger than that of a Range Rover but it stands 210mm shorter at 1,700mm. The car’s wheelbase is 3,000mm, which is 78mm longer than that of a Range Rover, and it rides on 23-inch two-tone alloy wheels. Much like the smaller Q2, Audi’s designers have used the arches to give the lower section of the car a more muscular stance.
An octagonal grille, bigger than any fitted to a current production Audi, dominates the concept’s front end. It features a honeycomb pattern inlay and extends down towards the front bumper, where it is undercut by an aluminium blade. The Q8’s headlamps follow the lines of the bonnet and grille feature digital Matrix laser technology that can project one million pixels onto the road ahead. It also has LED daytime running lights, which double as dynamic indicators, mounted within the headlight cluster. At the back, the tail lights spread across the full width of the car and use LED technology to allow the single strip of lights to act as brake lights and dynamic indicators. The frameless doors are opened by touch sensors that detect the presence of a hand or fingers and then open the doors automatically to a defined angle. Inside, the Q8 concept has 4 leather-wrapped seats and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit technology. The digital displays are headed by a 12.3-inch TFT screen that features a new design for its menus and works with augmented reality to project virtual graphics over the windscreen. Moreover, the Q8 has a 630-litre boot 80 litres better than that of the Range Rover.