Audi’s new Q8 is almost ready for its auto show debut.
Today we have the first spy shots of the sporty SQ8 variant which should debut roughly alongside the standard Q8 sometime next year. Further down the track there will be a full-fledged RS Q8 joining the fold. Audi has trademarked the names of both performance SUVs in the past year.
The Q8 is a coupe-like SUV similar in size to the Q7 and due in 2018. It will be a rival to the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, so presumably any SQ8 would rival sportier alternatives of those vehicles, i.e. the X6 M50d and Mercedes-AMG GLE43 Coupe, respectively. The RS Q8, meanwhile, would go after the X6 M and GLE63 Coupe.
2020 Audi SQ8 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienEnlarge Photo
We know the latest prototype is for an SQ8 because of the dual-exhaust tips integrated into either side of the rear fascia. The prototype also rides much lower than earlier testers for the standard Q8.
Differentiating the eventual RS Q8 should be a more aggressive front fascia, flared fenders, a pair of oversized oval exhaust tips (one on either side of the rear bumper), and uprated wheels, tires and brakes. The Q8 Sport concept from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show hints at what an Audi Sport-developed Q8 might look like.
As for the powertrain in the SQ8, the Q8 Sport concept might once again provide inspiration. It paired a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with an electric motor for a combined 469 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The setup enabled 0-60 mph acceleration in a brief 4.7 seconds.
Audi Q8 Sport concept, 2017 Geneva auto showEnlarge Photo
There’s a good chance Audi will also develop an SQ8 TDI for the European market. This one would pack the 429-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 diesel found in the SQ7 TDI.
We’d expect an RS Q8 model to be offering more than 600 hp, likely via a V-8 or possibly a V-8 working in conjunction with an electric motor. Such a system in Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is already delivering 680 hp.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.