Range-topping crossover official revealed at long last

The Audi Q8 has been unveiled after a long teaser campaign including two concept cars, sketches galore and a YouTube mini-series.

Design-wise, the production Q8 remains remarkably faithful to the earlier concept cars, including frameless windows, full-width LED tail-lights, and Audi's grille design for its crossover vehicles.

Although it looks quite compact in these initial photos, the Q8 is definitely not small. It measures 4986mm long, 1995mm wide, 1705mm tall, and has a 2994mm long wheelbase.

By comparison, the more practical Q7 is 5,052mm long, 1,968mm wide, 1741mm tall, and rides on a 2,994mm wheelbase. This means the new Q8 is slightly 66mm shorter from front to back, but is 27mm wider than its sibling.

While the Q7 has seating for up to seven, the sportier-looking Q8 is restricted to a maximum of five. Boot space is rated at 605 litres, and can be expanded to 1755L with the rear seats folded down.

When fitted with air suspension, the Q8 can have up to 254mm of ground clearance. The car can be automatically lowered by 90mm to aid on-road handling.

Both the Q7 and Q8 ride on the Volkswagen Group's MLB Evo platform for front- and all-wheel drive cars with longitudinal engines. This component set is also used by the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne, and Volkswagen Touareg.

In Europe, the Q8 will initially be available with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, badged as the Q8 50 TDI, with 210kW of power and 600Nm of torque.

Later there will be a less powerful version of that engine, badged Q8 45 TDI, with 170kW. Petrol fans can opt for the Q8 55 TFSI with a 250kW 3.0-litre turbocharged V6.

All models feature all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 48V mild-hybrid system capable of coasting engine-free between 55 and 160km/h.

Like the A8, A7 and A6 ranges, the Q8 is fitted with Audi's latest cabin design. With two touchscreens — a 10.1-inch upper unit primarily for the infotainment and navigation systems, and a 8.6-inch lower display for the climate control, comfort and text input systems — Audi has sought to keep physical buttons to an absolute minimum.

Standard features across the range include an electric tailgate, and a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit configurable instrumentation screen.

Top-end models feature 22-inch alloy wheels with 285/40 tyres, HD matrix LED headlights, adaptive air suspension, four-wheel steering, full leather interior, heated and cooled Super Sport front seats, automatic luggage cover, hill descent control, and a head-up display.

Other available items include a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, an adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, and a driver inactivity detection setup, which is able to park the car in its current lane and call emergency services.

Assistance features coming to the Q8 at a later date include remote control of the car in parking situations, and a kerb warning system.

Australia

The Q8 goes on sale in Europe during the northern summer, and Audi's local division has indicated it's expecting the new crossover in "early 2019".