Awhile back, Audi debuted its Q8 Concept, which was a hybrid SUV with coupe-like looks that would serve as the brand’s flagship SUV. The Audi Q8 would also be the brand’s sportiest SUV, so now the Ingolstadt-based brand has debuted this at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show — the Audi Q8 Sport Concept.
With a design that stems from the e-tron Quattro Concept, the Audi Q8 is clearly of the Marc Lichte design language, with the massively wide Singleframe grille and angular headlights. It’s also extremely aggressive looking, with its low-sloping, flat roofline and raked rear hatch. It also boasts a wide C-pillar, reminiscent of the original Audi Quattro, along with high-arching wheel arches.
But the big news is its powertrain. The 3.0 TFSI six-cylinder engine featuring a mild hybrid system and an electric powered compressor is a world first. This hybrid powertrain will develop a combined 476 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, which can propel the Audi Q8 from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. While that isn’t as fast as something like the Tesla Model X, or even Audi SQ7 TDI, it’s very fast for a hybrid SUV. What’s even more impressive is the Q8’s claimed range of 1,200 kilometers (745.6 mi).
But this powertrain is about far more than numbers and specs. It uses an energy recuperation system that creates the sort of mild hybrid powertrain. There’s a 20 kW electric motor nestled in between the transmission and crankshaft, which doubles as the starter motor, which can act as a performance booster. It’s only when the twin-turbocharged V6 engine and the electric motor work in tandem that the Q8 makes its full 476 hp.
During breaking and coasting, that 20 kW electric motor acts as a recuperation system and sends power back into the 0.9 kWh lithium-ion battery. That battery is used to help power the Q8 in traffic and during parking, without the use of the gasoline engine.
Said engine is also impressive in that it also has an EPC (electrically-powered compressor), which is essentially an electric turbocharger. That can add boost at zero rpm, which the need of exhaust gasses to spool it, like a traditional turbocharger does. This allows for instant boost and an incredible amount of immediate torque.
“The drive system of the Audi Q8 sport concept is a major step towards optimizing efficiency and sustainability in large-volume series production. The combination of mild hybrid technology and a TFSI engine sets a new benchmark for the synthesis of electro-mobility and combustion engines. In the future, this combination will be used in many Audi models,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management at AUDI AG.
The Audi Q8 Sport Concept also sits on air suspension, which will give it a supple and comfortable ride, while also maintaining the level of performance Audi is known for. The air suspension is also adaptive, so it can be controlled via the Audi Drive Select system inside the cabin. The front and rear suspension geometry are both comprised of lightweight aluminum five-link setups.
On the inside, the Q8 Sport Concept is pretty much the same as the Q8 Concept from the NYIAS a couple of months ago. So it’s packed with a ton of technology, including a bunch of touchscreens. It looks great and should be quite intuitive. Though, we worry about all of the fingerprints that will eventually adorn all of the touchscreens and glossy black plastic.
Overall, the Audi Q8 Sport Concept is just a sportier version of the first Q8 Concept from NYIAS. However, we now get a few more details about its powertrain and technology. When this finally becomes a production car, it will be one of the most intruiging SUV options on the market, with great power, performance, style and efficiency.