Audi has finally unveiled the production spec Q8 that’s been the worst kept secret in cardom for ages now.

The new flagship SUV is actually smaller than the Q7 it tops. To be exact, while it is shorter by 65mm with an overall length of 4,986mm, the Q8 is also wider by 27mm and lower too, which gives it the pleasing proportions you see here, instead of the hulking Q7.

Particularly if you end up paying for the optional 22in wheels with a strip of rubber to go, the Q8 is quite a lot of car to take in, with plenty of the styling cues first introduced by Audi with the new A8. Featuring a gigantic grille up front as is customary these days the car features ‘surface flaming’ and a bunch of streaks adding some character to the large body panels. This is the latest evolution of Audi’s new design language so most of the upcoming stuff will borrow styling ideas from the Q8.

Revealed to the world at a premiere event in China (Where else? It’s the company’s biggest market, where Audi outsells both its main German rivals, Mercedes-Benz and BMW), the Q8 will eventually go on sale featuring a diesel engine to begin with, before select markets like the Middle East get a petrol variant next year. It will also be offered with the company’s new 48-volt mild-hybrid technology.

We’re looking at an Audi Q8 55 TFSI featuring a 340-horsepower petrol V6, which will kick off the model in our region to compete with stuff like the X6, and Range Rovers.

Since it’s an SUV flagship, the Q8 is loaded with kit such as adaptive air suspension as standard equipment, and naturally Audi’s permanent all-wheel drive system, plus stuff like voice control, a huge array of driver assistance and safety features (five radars, five cameras…), rear-wheel steering system, and touchscreens everywhere in the minimalistic interior. Some of the new tech includes Curb Warning (perhaps to protect those big, expensive wheels?) and Remote Garage Pilot.

It’ll be interesting, or merely inevitable, when the competition responds with, say, a Porsche Cayenne ‘coupe’ or that rumoured upcoming BMW X8…


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