Behold the Detroit Auto Show-Bound Audi Q8 Concept

Don’t expect the production version to look all that different.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Behold the Detroit Auto Show-Bound Audi Q8 Concept

We’ve known for quite a while that Audi was planning a range-topping model for its crossover lineup; now, we have an idea what that super-SUV will look like. Earlier today, the carmaker released an official sketch of the Audi Q8 Concept...and if we’re being honest, it looks pretty damned badass.

It also almost certainly looks a helluva lot like the production Q8 Audi intents to roll out in the near future. Audi’s press release describes it as a “near-production study,” but considering how conservative these images are compared to the usual sorts of pretty pictures that flow from automotive designers’ pens, we’re guessing it’s about as photorealistic as a police sketch artist’s work.

We hope the production Q8 looks like this, at least. The front end is a brash, aggressively three-dimensional thing, dominated by a massive six-bar grille, gaping air intakes, and squinty headlights that we assume are powered by friggin’ laser beams. The whole look bears a slight resemblance to a German version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, but that’s a plus in our book.

From the side, the Q8 Concept bears the company’s SUV interpretation of the four-door coupe look that’s so in vogue these days, in no small part to Audi’s own A5 Sportback and A7. The carmaker claims there’s plenty of ur-Quattro design visible in the crossover; we’ll give Audi the influence when it comes to the D-pillars, but claiming the wide fenders are inspired by that iconic AWD machine does a disservice to every R8, RS 6, and RS 4 to roll out of Ingolstadt in the last few decades.

Audi’s official press release was mum on the subject of powertrains, but a close study of the front fascia reveals the words “e-tron” stenciled on the car’s chin, suggesting the concept will be either an EV or a hybrid. Autocar claims the production car will offer the latter powertrain, as well as V6 and V8 engines in both gas and diesel forms, much like the Q7. (Don’t expect to see oil-burning engines in the U.S. anytime soon, though.)

The Q8 Concept will show its actual face (along with the rest of itself) at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. Expect it to show up quite prominently in our Instagram feed.