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Audi previews hybrid Q8 concept, production version set for 2018

Audi Q8 concept. (Bloomberg)

Fresh off record sales in 2016, Audi is introducing the plug-in hybrid Q8 as a future production car, premiering the sport version of the new Q5, and presenting the remodeled A5/S5 Cabriolet for the first time at the Detroit auto show this week.

Audi describes the Q8 concept vehicle as combining SUV utility with coupe style. Tipping the company’s design direction, it conjures the original 1980s Ur-Quattro, featuring flat and wide C pillars, powerful shoulders over the wheels and a flat roofline. Inside, the virtual cockpit is complemented by large touchscreens and a innovative head-up display. Audi plans to bring the car to market in 2018.

Audi SQ5 (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

The SQ5 TFSI will be powered by a turbo-charged three-litre V-6 offering zero to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds. Features that set this model apart from the Q5 include sport seats in Alcantara/leather, LED headlights and 20-inch cast aluminum wheels. Optional sport differential and dynamic steering with variable ratios are integrated with the engine, eight-speed tiptronic and damper control – enabling drivers to use multiple modes. The SQ5 will first be sold in Germany, midway through the year.

On the remodeled A5/S5 Cabriolet, the soft top will open or close automatically while driving, up to speeds of 50 km/h.

Audi S5. (Paul Sancya/AP)

With the A4 and SUVs leading the charge, Audi sold 1,871,350 automobiles in 2016, a 3.8 per cent hike over 2015.

For the first time, Canada moved into the company’s top-10 market rankings as sales jumped 14.2 per cent year-over-year, to 30,544 vehicles.

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