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Audi will preview the Q8 e-tron concept, its range-topping SUV, in Detroit

Audi’s next concept car is scheduled to greet the public for the first time in a few weeks at the┬áDetroit Auto Show. Named Q8 e-tron, the design study accurately previews an upcoming addition to the company’s lineup.

The Q8 e-tron is a four-door crossover-coupe in the vein of the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and the BMW X6, but it’s a little bit bigger than its two rivals so it inaugurates a new segment, according to the company. It elevates Audi’s design language to new heights by adopting styling cues such as a grille that’s wider than the one found on the company’s current models. The company points out the muscular-looking front end and the pronounced rear haunches pay┬áhomage to the original Quattro coupe that dominated the rally scene during the 1980s.

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The flat roof line emphasizes the Q8’s sporty proportions, but Audi design chief Marc Lichte explains the SUV nonetheless offers a spacious cabin with four individual seats. High-resolution displays are expected to replace virtually all of the buttons, switches, and knobs typically found on the center console.

While Audi is keeping technical specifications under wraps for the time being, the e-tron nameplate tells us the concept is at least partially electrified. It’s no secret that Audi is busily designing an all-electric crossover aimed right at the Tesla Model X so the Q8 could run exclusively on batteries. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if it arrives in Detroit with a fuel-sipping, gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Audi Q8 concept

Full details about the Audi Q8 e-tron concept will emerge in the coming weeks, and Digital Trends’ car team will be on-location to bring you live images of it as soon as it’s unveiled. Audi openly admits the Q8 e-tron is a thinly veiled, close-to-production concept, which means a toned-down version of it will join the company’s lineup in the next year or two. Its size — and the Q8 nameplate — both hint it will be positioned at the top of the company’s lineup when it goes on sale.