Like the original Detroit auto show concept unveiled in January, the new Q8 Sport concept, which debuted on Tuesday at the 2017 Geneva auto show, also pairs a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 with a hybrid powertrain, although there are a few important differences.
On the performance front, rather than producing 442 horsepower, this orange example churns out 469 horsepower. Torque remains fixed at 516 pound-feet, although the sprint to 60 takes just 4.7 seconds to the standard Q8 concept’s 5.4-second sprint, which we’ll call a suitable improvement.
Part of this improved performance is down to a nifty electric compressor, first used on the SQ7 TDI—yes, Audi mentioned the letters T, D, and I at a major auto show without apologizing. The electric compressor arrangement picks up the slack for the exhaust gas-fed turbochargers. Basically, when the exhaust isn’t up to the challenge of spooling the turbos, the compressor can step in and force-feed air.
But Audi giveth, and Audi taketh away. Where the Q8 concept used a plug-in-hybrid setup, Audi is calling the Q8 Sport concept a mild hybrid. It doesn’t have the 37 miles of electric range that the Detroit car had, instead offering up to 745 miles of overall range.
Aesthetic changes, meanwhile, go well beyond simply slapping the Detroit concept’s body with Krypton Orange paint. We’re loving the numerous black accents on the Q8 Sport concept’s face, although the revised grille is a standout look. In back, this might not be a full-blown RS, but it wears that range’s traditional oval exhausts as part of a reprofiled rear bumper. It’s worth noting, however, all the stuff that hasn’t changed.
Aside from the black accents, much of the front bumper and side sills are identical to the original Q8 concept. The wheels are the same, too. And while it’s hard to tell whether Audi dropped the ride height for the Sport concept, it looks mostly the same as the Detroit auto show vehicle. With those limits in mind, not to mention the modest increase in output, Audi’s decision to call its latest show vehicle the Q8 Sport concept rather than the RS Q8 concept, as had been expected, makes a lot of sense.
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