At Audi's annual conference in Ingolstadt, Germany, Peter Mertens, the board member in charge of technical development, announced that the Q8 will debut in Shanghai in June. The venue will be a private event celebrating 30 years of Audi building cars in China. The German carmaker manufactures six vehicles there at the moment, and Mertens wrapped the Q8 in Sino-Deutsch plans for the future: "This year and next, we will launch 11 new derivatives or completely new Q models, such as the new face of the Q family, the Audi Q8. ..."
Based on a bunch of spy shots, the production Q8 looks to carry over the promise of the original Q8 E-Tron concept and the Q8 Sport concept. Built on the same MLB-Evo platform as the Q7 and, eventually, on the same line in Audi's Bratislava, Slovakia, plant, the Q8 will be a couple of inches shorter but three inches wider than the Q7. Taking over as the new, sleeker flagship, the Q8 will eschew the Q7's third row of seats and will apparently come with dedicated seating for four, although a five-seater will be an option. The sloping roofline and flashy intentions take a bite out of cargo room, unsurprisingly. Whereas the Q7 can swallow 37.5 cubic feet of goods with the third row folded, the Q8 fits 22.2 cubic feet.
Outside, the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE competitor Coupe rival features LED headlights and OLED taillights. The eight-sided grille will be the new differentiator for crossovers and SUVs, Audi cars sticking with a six-sided opening. The interior is an SUV version of that in the 2019 Audi A8, so think screens, sheen, matte wood, and obsessive detailing. We hope the steering wheel from the Q8 Sport concept makes the production cut.
Rumored engine options include just about everything so far, meaning that we're thin on facts about what will actually power the four-door. We know there'll be an RS Q8 model with a Porsche-sourced 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 paired with a ZF eight-speed auto. We expect an SQ8 model to borrow the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo TDI from the SQ7. It's reasonable to expect the Q7 engines to port over, meaning a 252-hp 2.0-liter TSFI and a 333-hp 3.0-liter TSFI. Keeping in mind the brand's focus on electrification, a plug-in hybrid probably based on the 329-hp, 3.0-liter turbo V6 should make the grade eventually, and perhaps an all-electric E-Tron version. We'll get all the goods in 90 days from China.