Audi started off 2017 with a bang. At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2017 they showcased three new cars. For the very first time, they unveiled the Q8 concept car to the public. In addition to the Q8, the Audi SQ5 TFSI made its world premiere along with the A5/S5 Cabriolet. These three cars showed the world Audi’s vision for the future.
The Audi Q8 Concept Car
Imagine a car that is not quite SUV nor is it a coupe, and yet it makes you think of both. The Q8 Concept car is a hybrid with the spaciousness of a full-size sports utility vehicle, yet it has the sleek lines of a full-size luxury car.
“The Q8 concept is an Audi in peak form. It demonstrates the strengths of our brand in both technology and design while providing a glimpse at a future full-size, production SUV. With its next-generation display and control solutions, we are enabling customers to experience connectivity in a whole new way.” – Dietmar Voggenreiter, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG.
Everything about this car feels futuristic. There are no less than three driving modes. “EV” mode is primarily electric, while a computer controls a “hybrid” mode that combines electric and fuel in the most efficient manner possible. A third mode is the “battery hold” mode. When this is selected, the car saves the available electric energy for a later time.
- Engine: 3.0 V6 TFSI Plug-In Hybrid
- 0 to 62 MPH: 5.4 seconds
- Top Speed: 155mph
Control of the vehicle is handled through touch displays in the Audi virtual cockpit. A heads-up 3-D display changes depending on the number of passengers and inputs from the driver.
The Audi SQ5 TFSI
The SQ5 TFSI made its debut at the Detroit auto show and showed the world a sportier version of the regular Q5. This version has a more aggressive look, in part due to the new bumpers and 20-inch wheels.
The American version has a V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Audi claims it can hit 62 mph in 5.4 seconds. The Audi SQ5 TFSI isn’t a slow vehicle but it is slower than the outgoing SQ5 Plus. Audi plans to sell the gas-powered SQ5 TFSI in both the US and Europe.
While the original SQ5 didn’t have much competition, the new SQ5 TFSI must square off against Mercedes-AMG’s GLC43 and BMW’s X4. Only time will tell which of the three captures the European SUV market in the US.
Audi’s A5/S5 Cabriolet
The new A5 Cabriolet convertible weighs about 88 pounds less than previous versions of the Cabriolet. The reduction in weight is mostly due to the new architecture. Even though the car is lighter, the interior of the car is larger. Drivers and passengers both find that it has more shoulder and legroom.
The Cabriolet does have rear passenger seating which can be lowered to increase trunk space. However, the 13 cubic feet of regular trunk space is adequate for most excursions.
The look of the interior is similar to the Audi A4. The gauge cluster is configurable through the optional Virtual Cockpit. An interesting feature is the microphones they have integrated into the seat belts for holding Bluetooth conversations while the top is down.
A Recap of What Audi Brought to NAIAS 2017
Audi wanted to give its fans a view of their future. The Audi Q8 Concept Car showcased the up and coming features that we should expect to see on future models. The Virtual Cockpit is something Audi seems particularly excited to offer to customers. The ability to configure your gauge display and the futuristic feel of touch pads as well as projected images makes one feel like they are years into the future.
The overall theme of the North American International Auto Show is “sporty and futuristic,” and Audi did not disappoint.