The 2017 Detroit Auto Show will see the unveiling of the Audi Q8 e-tron concept, as seen in these teasers revealed in an interview with Ingolstadt design boss Marc Lichte in the German newspaper Welt. As its name suggests, the concept will presage the Q8, which will become a sportier flagship for the Q SUV range, going up against the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé and Range Rover Sport.

One image shows Lichte lifting up one corner of the cover draping the show car, revealing a bold front end with a massive octagonal grille with vertical chrome slats, which will become a trademark of Audi’s Q models. Flanking it are trapezoidal headlights much like the prologue concept, as well as an array of large air intakes.

Also revealed is the side profile, which gets bold haunches – an indicator of quattro all-wheel drive technology, so it goes – and a fast rear windscreen rake that gives it a sleeker look compared to the bulkier Q7. The strong C-pillar is said to conjure up images of Audi’s racing past.

In the interview, Lichte talks about a fully-digital interior, with screens in the instrument cluster (Audi virtual cockpit) and the centre console. Such an concept, he says, will be introduced in the A8 and Q8, with the only hard buttons being for the hazard lights and the park assist function.

The move is said to be in response to the advancement of autonomous driving technologies, with the driver increasingly relieved from the duties of driving. Soon, the article claims, Audi models will be able to drive semi-autonomously at speeds of up to 130 km/h.

Likely to be based on the Q7’s MLB Evo platform, the Q8 is expected to come with Audi’s latest engines, including an electric turbo mill similar to the 435 hp/900 Nm 4.0 litre twin-turbo diesel V8 in the new SQ7 TDI. A plug-in hybrid version – hence the e-tron moniker on this concept – could also feature.