The overtly sporting 350kW variant of the luxury SUV runs a newly developed petrol-electric hybrid driveline that is claimed to endow it with 0-100km/h acceleration in 4.7 seconds, along with an overall range of up to 1200km in combination with an 85-litre fuel tank and 0.9kWh lithium ion battery pack.
The Q8 is scheduled for a production debut in 2018, and while officials at Audi's Ingolstadt headquarters in Germany initially hinted the new SUV would wear 'RS Q8' badges, it now appears it will be marketed under the 'SQ8' name.
The Q8 Sport Concept is outwardly distinguished from the earlier Q8 Concept by a series of stylistic upgrades aimed at endowing it with a more sporting appearance than its milder powered sibling. Most prominent is its restyled single frame grille, which features a black frame and honeycomb lattice insert.
The new grille is set within a more heavily structured front bumper housing enlarged air ducts and a new splitter element in the form of a black blade along its lower edge. The headlamps have also been modified with darkened inserts but retain the same distinctive x-shaped LED graphics as the earlier concept to give the new Audi a rather sinister look from front on.
Further back, there are black exterior mirror housings and black sills underneath the doors. Compared to the Q8 Concept revealed at the Detroit motor show in January, the wheel houses have also been widened by a further 12mm.
2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept.
The rear end of the new SUV is dominated by a full width tail lamp graphic set within a black panel. On the Q8 Sport Concept, the lower section of the bumper adopts a black diffuser rather than the silver element used by the original Q8 Concept. It also eschews the earlier trapezoidal shaped tailpipes for oval shaped exhausts typical of Audi's more performance orientated models.
Rounding out the visual upgrades are new 23-inch alloy wheels with intertwining spokes. Some 11-inches in width, they come shod with 305/35 profile tyres and hide sizeable 508mm carbon ceramic brake discs. The first official photographs of the new Audi also hint at a lowered ride height for the Q8 Sport Concept in keeping with its sporting pretensions.
At 5020mm in length, the Q8 Sport Concept is 30mm shorter than the Q7, with which it shares its platform, quattro four-wheel drive running gear and air sprung suspension.
The new petrol-electric hybrid driveline previewed by the Q8 Sport Concept is planned to feature in a number of new Audi models, including future incarnations of the A6, A7 and Q8 as well as the Q7 and a production version of the Q8 due out later this year.
It is based around a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 direct injection petrol engine, which borrows engineering solutions used by the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 common rail diesel used by the SQ7, including a 48-volt electrical system and an electrically powered compressor that operates at up to 70,000rpm to boost air supply and help improve low-end flexibility. Alone, it delivers 331kW and 530Nm of torque.
The combustion engine is allied to a disc shaped electric motor mounted within the front section of the Q8 Sport Concept's eight-speed torque converter equipped automatic gearbox delivering an additional 20kW and 170Nm of toque. Together, they provide a combined system output of 350kW and 700Nm.
Energy used to power the electric motor is stowed in a 0.9kWh lithium ion battery pack mounted within the floor of the Q8's luggage compartment. Audi says the operating strategy of its new petrol-electric hybrid system allows the big SUV to move slowly in stop/start traffic with the combustion engine idled, as well as enabling maneuvering and parking exclusively under electric power. During braking, a newly developed energy regeneration system employs the electric motor as a generator to recharge the battery.
"The drive system of the Q8 Sport Concept is a major step towards optimizing efficiency. The combination of mild hybrid technology and combustion engines sets a new benchmark. In the future, it will be used in many Audi models," Audi chairman, Rupert Stadler said.
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