Audi shows off innovative infotainment tech with Q8 concept

Audi unveiled its Q8 concept at the Detroit Motor Show and gave us an idea of what we can expect a production-ready Q8 to look like when it arrives next year.

It has now revealed that it features an infotainment system that uses an on-board Android system, and is a sure sign of the way Audi is looking to take its tech in the future.

Audi's Q8 concept gives us an idea of what we can expect from the real one.

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At over five metres in length, the Q8 is similar in size to the current Q7, but thanks to a sloping rear and a 40mm height reduction, it doesn’t share its looks. Up front, a gaping octagonal grille and sharply defined headlights give it Audi’s trademark look, but it’s the rear that makes it stand out.

There’s a row of LED tail lights that stretch across the entire car – a feature we’ve seen before on Audi’s concepts. The company claims however, that this will become a trademark of its electric-hybrid e-tron models which, in concept form at least, the Q8 is.

It's around the same size as the Q7, but gets a sloping rear end and a sharp new look at the front, too.

Inside, the usual Audi switchgear has been replaced with a new “control and display” system, that replaces most buttons with large touchscreen interfaces. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is still a concept car, but Audi has confirmed that its 12.3in Virtual Cockpit display has had a makeover and will be clearer and easier to use.

These fancy new screens are powered by their own Android operating system that has been developed in-house by Google and, unlike current Android Auto systems, the new software seamlessly integrates apps without the need to connect your phone – in essence, it is a standalone system.

A new Android running system will feature advanced touchscreens and seamless applications.

Audi is reckoning that this is the software for the future, and has serious potential when it comes to infotainment systems. Its vivid Virtual Cockpit dashboard is incorporated into it too, so drivers can switch between information instantaneously.

The Q8 is likely to be available with a range of conventional petrol and diesels, but the concept features a hybrid setup that is powered by a 3.0-litre petrol engine combined with a 17.9kWh electric hybrid system.

In the concept version at least, switches have been competely replaced with touchscreen tech.

That gives it a whopping 438bhp and 700Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph run of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, all the while emitting just 53g/km of CO2. What’s more, this e-tron variant will be actually available from launch and it gets Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system, too.

Here’s a closer look in Audi’s official press video.

Audi claims the Q8 can travel around 37 miles on battery power alone, while the lithium-ion batteries take just two and a half hours to fully charge. If you fancy one though, you’ll have to wait; the model won’t be in production until 2018.

The rear lights stretch out across the distance of the car, but is this a wise thing to do or not?

Until then, why not consider its Q7 sibling, or maybe its GLE Coupe rival on a personal lease? Alternatively, you can find what else is going on at the Detroit show this week by clicking here.

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