Have you ever touched the all-new Audi Q8?

Blindtasting with the Audi Q8

How can you picture a car when all you see are just singular lines in utter darkness? Blogger Sandra Schink has an answer for this, because that’s exactly how she experienced the new Audi Q8: in a darkroom. The Audi Blog shares what her conception looks like.

Sascha Heyde vor Audi Q8
He's the one bringing light into the darkness: Sascha Heyde, exterior designer at Audi, offers blogger Sandra Schink a first glimpse of the new Audi Q8.

A sunny spring day, somewhere in the industrial area in Ingolstadt. The unusual sun light after the long winter is glisteningly reflected by the plain light-grey walls on the premises. A friendly chauffeur just dropped me off here.

There’s no logo or no lettering on the halls indicating that I’m at an Audi site. And nothing points to why I’m here.

Instead of being invited to your standard model release with a press invite that gives you details on the topics and technology of the new model, I’ve only received flight dates this time. The project is still top-secret, the date not official.

Blindtasting reloaded: some time ago the A8, now with the Q8

In front of the hall, there is a man in black clothing next to a high table that bears round yellow stickers. He smiles at me: “I’m sorry, but that’s the way it’s got to be.” Then he puts a sticker on my smartphone’s camera. I feel like, he just chopped off one of my fingers while smiling.

But it’s not all that new to me: I’ve been here before. Back then, it was about the Audi A8. Even before the new technology and luxury flagship was officially presented, I had the opportunity to feel it before. Yes, you’re reading correctly. Feeling. Back then, my eyes were covered up and I was led to the car blindfolded. Under my fingertips lines formed, while forms and materials were just an image in my inner eye. I wasn’t allowed to see anything that day. It was definitely a sensual experience. But also, a confusing one. Since I lacked touching comparisons to other vehicles, I misjudged the different dimensions thoroughly. The car that I imagined was extensively edgy and angular. A muscular macho in a silk shirt that breathes power through every ounce of his being.

As I came face to face with the new Audi A8 some weeks later, I was relieved and overjoyed. I recognized lines and forms that had felt giant and even bulky under my hands, now joined an attractive and elegant overall picture harmonically. But today, my over brimming fantasy wasn’t going to trick me.

Fluorescent tapes show the lines of the Q8

The door flies open, I’m guided into the hall. And I don’t see anything at first. After a moment I realize that it’s not only my eyes that have to get used to the transition from glistening sun light to artificial light. I’m in the hall and there is no artificial light. The hall is pitch black.

Around me, I can hear people moving, they’re brushing my arms, taking me to a specific location in the hall. There is a briefing for an initial orientation and slowly some vague contours evolve out of the darkness. In front of me, I can see the dark silhouette of a man with a role of luminous tape in his hand. Once more, I think that I have to prepared for anything during Audi events.

The dark shadow introduces himself: Sascha Heyde, exterior designer in the team around Marc Lichte. While he talks to me through the darkness, I fascinatingly follow the glooming tape in his hand that flows around in the darkness, similar to a conductor with sweeping lines and circles.

The excitement in his voice in that he describes the occasion for my visit in the dark is unmistakably there. Sascha Heyde is responsible for the outline of the new Audi Q8. And that’s what he wants to explain to me in the dark today.

I’m not only excited, because of the unusual presentation. I think of the sister model, the Q7, that felt like a giant to me and ask myself how an even bigger Audi SUV could look like without appearing like a hulking elephant.

Sascha Heyde klebt leuchtendes Band auf Konturen des Audi Q8
Centimeter for centimeter, the design becomes visible to Sandra Schink: athletic, diverse, elegant.

Tape by tape the silhouette of the new SUV comes into form

By now, I vaguely recognize the shadow of the huge vehicle in the background with Sascha now turning towards it. The contours are diffused and blend in with the darkness. But that’s about to change. Sascha rolls off the tape swinging and draws clear illuminating outlines into the dark. At first, a big and floating octagon emerges – without a doubt the newly formed single frame in the octagon design. But that’s not all. Around the striking octagon, another one forms itself. The inner one looks sublime now.  Without a doubt, the front already shows who calls the shots. The new one won’t hide, but finally take a clear position.

A single frame in an octagon design as one of the new exterior elements in the Q model series: Sascha Heyde explains the designer's concept to Sandra Schink.

Coupé-like roof line and flatter than the Q7

Sascha now begins to fluidly trace the shoulders of the Q8. They’re broad shoulders and here it becomes clear that the new SUV positions itself broadly. Sure, how should you downsize a car that was expected to be big? Additionally, it’s nearly 30 millimeters wider than the Q7. Then Sascha starts with the roofline. He stays surprisingly low with this tape. The line ascends softly and then descends flatly. The effect is mind-blowing. The unquestionable massive vehicle comes across as an oversized coupé. And it still appears somewhat light. Under Sascha’s hands, the vehicle’s silhouette transforms into a clear-cut shape. When he steps away, it becomes difficult to correctly guess the dimensions of the Q8. When there’s any reference lacking, the big car instantly seems lean and sporty.

Precision work for Sascha Heyde: Deep concentration is necessary to make sure that the edges of the Q8 convey power, high quality and dynamics in all their glory.

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Green light for the Audi Q8: Blogger Sandra Schink is sure that the new SUV from Audi will still amaze her when it's put into the light.

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The slim element with an integrated light band between the rear lights underlines the maximal width of the Audi Q8.

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Clear in the dark: the Q8 is an interior giant

Finally, I’m allowed to step closer. Similar to my experience with the A8, I let my hands glide along the lines and again the edges and surface appear to be vast under my fingertips. I open the passenger’s door. The dimmed ambient light illuminates the interior subtly and it discloses not more than the tape tracks on the outside. But I can clearly see that the window of the open door is vacant: It’s not lined with a heavy frame.

I comfortably glide into the seat and put it back as wide as possible. That gives me a lot of space. I feel around the instruments. A lot of them I recognize, I know them from the A8. I move to sit in the back. And even though I put the front seat back as much as possible, I still have a lot of room. That’s when I realize: This SUV also works with a driver. Who thinks that the A8 is too serious as a chauffeur limousine, will surely be happy with this sporty and surely provocatively designed SUV. I still have to be patient for a few more weeks until I get to see the new Q8 in all its illuminated glory. And I have this premonition that the imagination of the muscular defined macho in his silk shirt with power flowing out of every edge, could be quite fitting. And that he’ll look damn fantastic.

Audi Q8 sport concept
Audi MediaCenter

Talented and multi-disciplined: the Audi Q8 sport concept

Groundbreaking drive system technology and an accentuated sporty look: at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, Audi will be presenting another concept car which demonstrates the potential of the future Q8 model range. The Audi Q8 sport concept study demonstrates the vision Audi’s developers and designers have for the dynamic yet efficient SUV of tomorrow.

Read more

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Denis

5. June 2018 um 12:26
Hi, where is the live broadcast of the all-new Q8, which was supposed to be at 14-00?

Stephanie Huber

5. June 2018 um 14:00
Hi Denis,

if you should have missed the livestream, please go to https://twitter.com/audi_press for live video snippets or to https://q8.audi/ for the highlight cut. It is supposed to be online at around 5 pm (CEST).

Best,

Stephanie from the Audi Social Media team

Juan Pablo Rios Ossa

8. May 2018 um 12:16
Increíble, me gustaría saber cuando llega a Chile, yo tengo un Q7 4.2 TDI que tiene un motor V8, pero el Q8 se ve mucho mas potente y confortable, felicitaciones.

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