Gaping maws, laces and halos: What people are saying about the Audi Q8

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Audi is the latest luxury automaker with plans for a coupe-like SUV. The Q8 concept, unveiled at the Detroit auto show this month, is a near production-ready version of a new full-size luxury SUV the brand will launch in 2018. The concept features an eight-speed automatic transmission, a 3.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection V-6 engine and a 100-kW electric motor, good for the equivalent of 443 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque. Here’s what people are saying about the Q8.

“VW’s luxury brand unveiled the Q8 crossover as a sleek, two-row coupe version of its SUV flagship, the Q7. That’s a niche market, but the stylish Q8 previews the bold, six-lace rework of Audi’s famous large grille. Inside is the next-generation, best-in-luxury Virtual Cockpit instrument display — but more significant is the expanded heads-up display that accurately overlays information on the road ahead (an arrow indicating exact road turn-in, for example). Look for it in 2018.”

-- Henry Payne, The Detroit News

“And as we said last month: this thing looks damn hard to see out of. It has a wider front-end than other Audi Q’s, and the company wanted the design to bare some similarities to the Quattro, which is cool. The vehicle's siding bares the Quattro lettering, and if you can dig the color of what Audi presented at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday -- it’s called “Bombay blue,” kind of like the gin, which Audi would probably advise you not to enjoy before driving -- it seems like Audi’s intent on making do with its goal to reach a new customer base.”

-- Ryan Felton, Jalopnik

“The front grille has very prominent vertical slats — the first time I've seen that on an Audi design. If Audi's goal was to add a bit of menace to the Q8 concept's nose, it's succeeded — the grille brings to mind a certain muzzle-mouthed villain from the "Dark Knight" series. And just like Bane, the look is also hard to understand.”

-- Brian Wong, Cars.com

“Eager to cash in on the luxury SUV/coupe segment currently dominated by rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi has revealed the Q8 concept. Portending a future production Q8 that will come to market in 2018, the Bombay Blue crossover show car portrays the greatest evolution of Audi’s current design language in years, with a gaping maw that makes it look like no other vehicle currently produced by the German brand, as well as frameless windows to give it more of a proper four-door-coupe feel.”

-- Greg Fink, Car and Driver

“The SUV is the new gold standard in the high-end automotive sector. Forget the traditional three-box limo, if you really want to arrive you do it in a Range Rover or, if you’re really on trend, the Bentley Bentayga. That way you also get to look down on the proles as you descend onto the red carpet. But what if the – admittedly now decidedly vague – whiff of utility that still clings to these motorized monoliths puts you off? Well, that’s where Audi’s new Q8 comes in. Trailed by a concept iteration revealed ... at the Detroit auto show, the Q8 is the company’s new flagship, parallel to but possibly overshadowing the giant (and slow-selling) A8 saloon. Audi boss Rupert Stadler reckons that car will continue to shuttle global captains of industry and EU finance ministers about, but at the weekend they’ll hop behind the wheel of the Q8 to drive themselves.”

-- Jason Barlow, GQ

“Like the rest of the Audi lineup, the Q8 concept has a luxurious cabin area. While it can only seat four, those four passengers should be comfortable. Leather covers the seats, and just about everything else that isn’t a screen or decorative metal. A strange control pad at the end of the center console’s armrest controls the cabin’s climate. Of course, in front of the driver, you’ll find Audi’s virtual cockpit.

While it might not be the most sensible SUV concept, we imagine Audi will find a way to make a production Q8 seat more people. Then again, with its slightly smaller Q7 seating seven, a four-seat coupe SUV might work well as a brand halo instead of a sales workhorse.”

-- Wesley Wren, Autoweek

You can reach Jack Walsworth at jwalsworth@crain.com -- Follow Jack on Twitter: @jackwalsworth

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