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Cars and Concepts

Audi Q8: 4 key design cues

A new starter/generator and 48-volt electrical system on the Q8 will provide power for what Audi claims are "long coasting phases with the engine deactivated." Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Jake Lingeman is Road Test Editor at Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News, reviewing cars, reporting on car news, car tech and the world at large.

The 2019 Audi Q8 crossover made its official debut this month after we saw it in Geneva a year ago.

We didn't get too much detail on the mechanical specs, but we do know it will be a mild hybrid, likely with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine.

A new starter/generator and 48-volt electrical system will provide power for what Audi claims are "long coasting phases with the engine deactivated."

The big news is the Q8's styling, with Audi calling it the "new face of the Q family." That includes the grille, rear light bar, big wheel arches and more. Let's take a look, piece by piece.


1. The new grille

Audi added two sides to its formerly hexagonal grille for the Q8. Everyone knows octagons are way cooler anyway. Designer Sascha Heyde says, "It's the first eye-catching element" that people see, and that's true. It's shorter than the current version on the rest of the Qs, the bars are farther apart and the verticals are more prominent. The new grille looks chunkier, more cartoony, maybe, but not bad.


The bezel is thicker, making it look like the grille is protruding from the nose of the car. That emphasizes the crossover-as-coupe philosophy.

2. The rear end

In back, the taillights connect via that black piece, which designers say emphasizes the width of the vehicle. The light fixtures are way more stylized than the ones on the Q7 as well. Surely that will trickle down to the rest of the lineup. It's all very symmetrical and clean-looking with the twin reflectors and dual exhaust below.

The Audi Q8, top, and Bentley Bentayga

3. The roof

"The roofline is supposed to be a coupe, but it's different from a normal coupe roofline." -- Sascha Heyde, Audi design

Heyde says it also offers more headroom than a "normal" crossover coupe, and that's true. Where the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe's rooflines slope to the rear fascia, the Q8's extends while only dipping slightly, more like those of the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. In fact, as far as coupelike crossover/SUVs go, this is one of the better-looking ones.


4. The cabin

Inside, it's all new and all screens in the Q8. Infiniti has something similar, a screen for nav on top and another screen for climate and radio below. It's not a bad system -- keeping the navigation within view at all times is a good feature. Also, it's easy to poke at the buttons when your hand is resting on the gearshift (when it should be on the wheel). Additionally, the Q8 gets Audi's newish Virtual Cockpit system that is customizable and puts everything, including the navigation, in the gauge cluster. If you're under 40 and not averse to screens, you'll like this interior.


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