Sascha Heyde, exterior designer for the Q8, told Autocar that the team working on the car were commissioned with a brief to ensure the firm’s new flagship SUV is immediately recognisable on the road and acts as a ‘halo’ for the brand’s other models.
As well as the strikingly coupé-like roofline and frameless doors, notable styling flourishes include the new-style upright grille design, which features six vertical chrome fins; bulging wheel arches inspired by the design of the famous Quattro (and which are now a design feature on all new Audis including the Audi A6, A7 and A8) and the option of 22in wheels, the largest ever to be offered by the factory.
Technical design flourishes include a full-width light across the rear. It incorporates a new LED arrangement that projects a striking 3D shape and emphasises the car’s width.
Although the Q8 is shorter than the Q7 on which it is based, this is entirely down to the smaller overhangs at the front and rear of the car. As such, interior space is nearly identical, although the Q8 has a strict five-seat layout, whereas the Q7 can be had with seven. The Q8 is 130mm longer than the Range Rover Sport, as well as being 100mm lower and 10mm wider. Its wheelbase is also 70mm longer, underlining the additional interior space that it offers. Boot space is 650 litres with the seats up and 1755 litres with them down, compared with the Q7’s 770/1955 litres.
While the roofline is 40mm lower than that of the Q7 at its highest point above the front doors, the slope is achieved in part by design sleight, particularly with the use of the dropping roof spoiler. As a result, and based on our opportunity to sit in the car, space in the rear is sufficient even for tall adults.
The Q8 is also 27mm wider than the Q7, a result of engineers seeking ways to make the car more stable and agile. Aluminium has also been extensively used on the retuned five-link front and rear suspension, in order to save weight, although the car’s total weight is yet to verified. The mechanical centre differential is set to transfer power 40% front, 60% rear as standard, while buyers can also opt for the four-wheel-steering system pioneered on the SQ7 to improve low-speed manoeuvrability and high- speed stability.