Seriously, why even buy a Bentley when performance and luxury like this exist?
It’s been interesting watching the Audi Q8 Concept evolve as the time passes. Originally revealed a few months ago at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the Q8 has been a technological powerhouse of a vehicle, featuring a hybrid drivetrain to help it remain powerful but efficient and donning a massive grille to look the part. This time around, Audi has updated its concept car for Geneva, making amendments to the drivetrain and vehicle aesthetics, which we hope will make it to the final production model.
A drivers and three passengers will be treated to swaths of space, a 22 cubic foot luggage compartment, and a separatists haven thanks to individual rear seat ecosystems separated by design that makes each seat appear as if it were its own geometric body. Display surfaces and ventral controls are placed on the “black panel,” a glossy strip that can switched off to make it look like another styling element. On the visual end of things, the most apparent difference can be seen on the grille, which sheds its cross pattern and hatches a flowing honeycomb look. While the headlights remain the same, the front air intakes appear to grow larger. However it’s what lies behind these front and changes that’s most important.
That would be a 3.0-liter TFSI twin-turbocharged engine paired with an electric compressor and supplemented by a hybrid drivetrain, effectively beating Ford to the whole turbocharged/hybrid shebang with an even more advanced turbocharger. This unit sends power to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to the electric compressor, the turbochargers can be spooled to 70,000 RPM in a quarter or a second, fast enough to effectively do away with any hint of turbo lag. The mild hybrid system earns the “mild” part of its name due to the fact that it only adds twist by means of a 20 kW starter motor that doubles as a generator and electric motor by reversing its spin to feed the drivetrain.
This allows the Q8 to churn out 476 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel it from 0-62 mph in just 4.7 seconds before it tops out at 170.9 mph. Thanks to the turbochargers, hybrid system, and a 0.9 kWh lithium ion battery at the rear that enables slow traffic start and stop operation with the engine off – all of which feed off of a 48 v electrical system – the Q8 is capable of these V8 engine feats while reaching mileage figures as high as 33.13 mpg. Off-road technology is also strong with this one thanks to a ground clearance adjustment system that can alter clearance by a total of 3.5 inches through five separate settings, allowing the adaptive air suspension to find a mode where it can best do its job.
Typically we’re conflicted by concepts like these given that they make vast claims without a plan to back them up, but given that Audi seems to be intent on building it, and given it’s recent leaps and bounds in the realm of technology, it seems plausible to expect the Q8 to come to market with the majority of its technology intact. We’ll judge it more harshly when that happens.