Audi today showed two teaser sketches of the Q8 Concept vehicle it will unveil on January 9 at the Detroit auto show. The Q8 will be a new full-size SUV marketed above the Q7 in Audi’s lineup. Audi says this concept is near production ready.
The sketches show a stylish crossover SUV with a coupe-like profile. Audi says it has four equally comfortable seats despite the roofline.
The move upmarket is certainly significant, but so is the Q8 Concept’s styling. Recent Audi models have been accused of being overly conservative, with looks that are barely evolved from the last generation. The A4, especially, is hard to tell from the last version.
The Q8 could mark a sea change for Audi styling. The signature single frame grille is considerably wider than on other Q models, but it also has more shape to it and more vertical elements as opposed to horizontal slats.
Audi says many of the design elements are reminiscent of the Ur-quattro of the 1980s, including the wide but flat C-pillars and the flared shoulders above the wheels. Those shoulders give equal emphasis to the front and rear wheels to underline the presence of the quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Audi gave no further details on the Q8, but the company is sure to share more during its press conference in Detroit. We’ll be there to report on those details.