Pun-tastic name aside, the new monster from Ingolstadt mainly serves to expose the car industry’s ignorance towards the social properties of the automobile.
It’s difficult to determine where to start with the Audi Q8. How about the name? Yes, there may be a ton of planet-saving batteries hidden underneath its gargantuan sheetmetal somewhere, but still: just the car’s appearance and its onomatopoeic, mineral oil-related name set a rather strange tone.
The Q8’s styling continues this antagonising theme. It may not be as cack-handed in terms of surfacing and proportions as the Mercedes GLE Coupé (the current gold standard for misbegotten crossover concoctions), but the sheer air of aggression it exudes is simply breathtaking.
It seems to elude car designers and executives that the automobile is at a crossroads – and that it is fighting for acceptance on an immense scale. With this fierce, antagonising creature, Audi is doing the automobile in general quite some disservice.
Cars have become too large for our streets. Cars have become so unfriendly that it is difficult to warm to them on a subconscious level. And Audi’s answer appears to be to make the angriest, most intimidating car for the road yet.
This approach will obviously work for ‘enthusiasts’, i.e. people who don’t mind to be seen behind the wheel of a GLE Coupé. But how today’s five-year-olds are supposed to become enamoured to cars if they look like towering monsters from the eighth dimension, and turn into the Audi customer of 2035 is hard to see. Cars are emotional products, after all.
The acceptance of the motor car may be at an all-time low. And the answer to this isn’t to flip the bird at the naysayers. Audi’s head of styling, Mark Lichte, may disagree about this though.
The author of this piece happens to be running an obscure motoring site of his own, which you may or may not choose to visit at www.auto-didakt.com