Google lends a hand in the creation of the Audi Q8

And promise a 350kW SQ8

While Mercedes and BMW have been fighting over who has the best super-saloon, Audi has been working to perfect the technology on their SUV Coupe, the Audi Q8.

Audi has developed what they believe to be the next step in smartphone integration for your car – an infotainment setup powered completely by the Android operating system. With Apple CarPlay capitalizing on the huge automotive market, Google is wasting no time in staking their claim to a slice of the action.

Audi has partnered with Google at the technology powerhouse’s annual I/O event to present a Q8 Sport Concept with a cockpit completely powered by the software, with seamlessly integrated apps such as Google Maps, Spotify and Google Assistant. All of the information can be displayed right in front of the driver too, as the Virtual Cockpit Display is also integrated into the Android setup.

Partnering with Google seems like the logical thing to do, considering that more than 1.4 billion smartphone owners use a handset with Android, and Audi believes that using the software to build in-car infotainment systems has enormous potential.

The Audi Q8 will enter production early next year, but the Sport Concept differs from its Detroit-revealed sibling with a more potent hybrid powertrain and a racier, more aerodynamic body-kit. The RS-Fanboys can already see where this is heading.

Enter the SQ8! The company applied to trademark the SQ8 name not too long ago, and when asked about the possibility of an SQ8 in January, Audi’s board member for sales and marketing, Dietmar Voggenreiter said, “That’s something I would like to do.”

The pumped-up Sport Concept rides on massive 23-inch wheels, which are fed 350kW and 700Nm from the 3.0-litre TFSI six-cylinder motor. Pair this to a snappy gearbox and Audi’s latest version of Quattro, and the curvy SUV will be on its way from 0-100km/h in just 4.7 seconds, before topping out at 276km/h.

The aesthetic differences are subtle. The octagonal grille is now a black honeycomb affair with a contrasting surround, nestled between two larger air intakes. A new body coloured ‘front splitter’ pokes out from under the front bumper. At the back, an aluminium and carbon-fibre diffuser finds its place alongside two large oval-shaped exhaust tips.

The flagship SUV will sit above the Audi Q7 in the product line-up, and will rival the likes of the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe.

Concept Cars

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