Audi's new Q8 flagship SUV has already been shown in sketch form, in near total darkness, and on the street and Nurburgring wearing black and white camouflage. But now Audi has finally unveiled it in full with images taken at an official reveal that took place in Shenzen, China. Global demand for SUVs of all types is huge at the moment, and is still growing at an incredible rate. It's no surprise then that manufacturers are continually looking to expand their SUV ranges, and coupé-like SUVs are one of the newest and fastest-growing areas of the SUV landscape at the moment.
It wouldn't have been a surprise if this top SUV in the Audi lineup had turned out to be a bigger, more spacious and more luxurious version of the Q7 to rival the likes of the Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade, but the Q8 that was seen is a much more rakish and sleeker model than that. This is a considerably sharper and sportier design than the Q7 and that puts it up against rivals
such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé instead.
Along with its distinctive and strikingly coupé-like roofline and frameless doors, other styling cues that deserve a mention are the Q8's new-style upright grille design with its six vertical chrome fins, bulging wheel arches reminiscent of the famous Quattro that also appear on the new Audi A6, A7 and A8, and the optional 22-inch wheels that are the largest ever to be offered from the factory by Audi.
It might come as something of a surprise that the new Q8 is actually shorter than the model below it in the Audi range, the Q7. However, this isn't a space-robbing feature that will deny passenger's legroom as the shorter length of the Q8 is entirely down to the smaller overhangs that help give it a sportier stance than the Q7.
This is strictly a five-seat model though, so there's no option for a third-row as there is in the Q7. Despite the sloping roofline that's 40 mm lower than the Q7 at its highest point, the slope has largely been achieved using some clever design sleights such as a dropping roof spoiler. That means taller passengers shouldn't be as cramped in the back of the Q8 as they can be in some rival models.
European sales of the all-new Audi Q8 will get underway in the third quarter of this year, with release dates and engine options for other markets to be announced later.