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Ready to rumble: The muscular new Audi Q8 SUV Coupe

By Paul Connolly

This is Audi’s answer to the SUV coupe segment – the edgy-looking Q8 4x4.

The Q8 is the luxury flagship of Audi’s SUV range, and will take on coupe SUV rivals like the BMW x6 and the Mercedes GLE.

It will also hope to take a pop at the likes of the Porsche Macan and the Maserati Levante, neither of which are coupe SUVs exactly, but which fish in similar waters.

It is likely to be priced from around the £65k mark when it goes on sale in the UK and Ireland in the summer.

The front design is muscular and striking, being composed of an imposing Singleframe in octagonal design. Audi says this is the new face of the Q family.

Six distinctive vertical chrome fins make the single frame radiator grille appear upright and solid.

A spoiler, which protrudes at the front, and a large, strongly contoured air intakes underline the aggressive look of the Q8.

With frameless doors, the coupe-type roof line stretches low across the vehicle body visually, ending in the a long roof spoiler. The roof line arches slightly towards the flat sloping, strong D-pillars.

At the rear, compact proportions, a low roof and a flat window are allied to sleek hind quarters.

A narrow, black high-gloss element with an integrated light strip extends between the rear lights.

The distinctive rear diffuser has four vertical fins and an integrated tailpipe trim on each side.

Audi reckons the whole front shebang is reminiscent of the original Audi quattro.

Well, it should have that car’s renowned driveability: with permanent quattro all-wheel drive and a ground clearance of up to 254 mm, the Q8 should be more than able to hold its own off-road.

At 4,986 mm long, 1,995 mm wide and 1,705 mm high, it will also be helped in challenging terrain by its size.

This is then, as you’d expect, a roomy car inside: the luggage compartment holds 605 litres as a standard, increasing to 1,755 litres with the rear backrests folded down.

Two golf bags can easily fit in diagonally, says Audi, and the tailgate can be opened and closed electrically as standard.

Just one engine is available at launch: a “strong yet efficient” 3.0 TDI with a mild hybrid system a 3.0 TDI.

The engine generates 286PS and delivers 600Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft. It accelerates the large SUV from 0 to 62mph in 6.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 144mph.

Integrated into the drivetrain is the hybrid system, with a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter (BAS) and a 48-volt primary electrical system.

As you’d expect, the car is jam-packed with a ton of tech and up to 39 driver assists, the most noteworthy of which come in the form of driver packs.

The Tour Assist pack is the most eye-catching feature – essentially another advance towards autonomous driving.

The highlight here is adaptive cruise assist, which provides longitudinal and lateral control in all speed ranges. It supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed, keeping distance and in traffic jam situations.

The system, aided by the car’s 23 sensors, which include a laser scanner, detects lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead.

In tight traffic, it will automatically adapts its speed to the traffic situation, taking into account the speed limit.

There will be two specs available in the UK at launch: entry-level ‘S line’ and the flagship ‘Vorsprung’ model, named after the company’s legendary “Vorsprung durch Technik” trademark, which generally translates as “Advancement through Technology”. (It sounds better in German!)

New petrol and diesel engine choices – a 55 TFSI and a 45 TDI - are coming our way next year. However, Audi fans with a penchant for speed might want to hold of awhile: there will almost certainly be a sporty SQ8 model and an even hotter RS Q8 in the pipeline at some stage.

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