We know that Audi is very close to unveiling its new flagship SUV, the Q8. By that, we mean possibly just a month away at the Geneva Motor Show in March. As such, we’ve seen plenty of spy photos showing the big people-mover in varying degrees of camouflage, but we haven't seen one like this.
Our spy photographers are calling it the Audi SQ8. Whether this ends up being the final high-performance Q8 edition or if that will be filled by an RS model is unclear. Whatever badge ends up on the side, we suspect this will be no slouch when battling with Mercedes-Benz and BMW for German SUV supremacy on the Autobahn.
How do we know this? The air intakes at the bottom of the front fascia look a bit different to us, and though it’s hard to tell, this Q8 seems to ride just a bit lower from previous models caught on camera. The telltale features, however, are the quad exhaust pipes sticking out the back where faux rectangular cutouts have been previously seen. Given the snow buildup on two of the four pipes it seems there’s some trickery here as well, but it doesn’t hide the true nature of this prototype.
As to what might power the SQ8, our sources speak of a hybrid powertrain producing a combined 470 horsepower (350 kW), with much of that coming from a boosted 3.0-liter V6. There might also be a diesel variant with 435 horsepower, though it’s doubtful that would see American shores. When it comes to the passenger compartment we’ve already had a peek at the Q8’s interior; the SQ8 would no doubt add a bit more sport to the smooth look.
When might the SQ8 be revealed? That certainly depends on when the standard Q8 comes out, but if we do see the new SUV next month in Geneva, the SQ8 will likely show up in the summer or fall.