Audi Q8

Designers Sascha Heyde and Mauricio Monteiro Dos Santos on the Audi Q8

The Audi Q8 is the new brand flagship, an imposing coupe SUV crossover that measures in at 4990mm in overall length, 2000mm wide and 1710mm wide. It is strikingly similar to the Audi Q8 concept revealed at the 2015 Detroit auto show, and will be a strong entry into the North American market for which it was conceived.

Shorter wider and lower than the Q7 on which it is based, the Audi Q8 sports a sportier design, with short front and rear overhangs and a new 3D octagonal grille — the new face of the Q family. As a coupe, the Q8’s sloping roofline leads into sloping D-pillars and towards the faster backlight.

Audi’s design team worked to visually emphasize Audi’s ‘quattro’ heritage through blister along the bodyside — particularly over the front and rear wheelarches. This theme — first seen on the Audi Prologue concept in 2014 — is a recurring aspect Audi design director Marc Lichte is pushing forward with the vehicles ushered in under his reign.

Housed within these emblematic wheelarches are wheels up to 22-inches in diameter — the largest in the segment — while the contrast-colored spoiler, wheelarch trims, door trim strips and diffuser emphasize the dual on-road/off-road character of the Audi Q8’s aesthetic.

The Audi Q8’s wheelbase stretches to 3000mm, offering a more spacious interior than its direct competitors in most relevant dimensions, including interior length and headroom. But the real highlight is the digital integration and Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’.

All of the car’s functions are integrated into the interior architecture, with the black panel MMI touch response display at the top. The MMI touch response feature in the new Audi Q8 allows users to access all of the car’s functions via an upper 10.1-inch display (used for controlling the infotainment and the navigation system) and an 8.6-inch display below that for the HVAC controls, convenience functions and Audi’s unique text input pad at the front of the center console.

The gauges ahead of the driver are shown in the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit. Its high-resolution 12.3-inch display can be switched between two views via the multifunction steering wheel, while the optional ‘plus’ version includes a third sportier view. The head-up display also projects important information onto the windshield, including detailed lane guidance for navigation.

In addition, natural language voice control also enables drivers to have a dialogue with the car. The voice control can understand the sentence “I am hungry” and in response suggests restaurants close by.

All of the interior design elements refer logically to one another, from the flat air vent strip to the wide console on the center tunnel. In the dark, an optional contour light traces the lines of the interior and provides backlight for the three-dimensionally lasered ‘quattro’ badge above the glove compartment.

Options include customized contour seats with massage function and ventilation, four-zone automatic air conditioning and the air quality package further enhance the elegant ambiance.

In the video above, designers Sascha Heyde and Mauricio Monteiro Dos Santos share their journey in creating the flagship Audi Q8.


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