The Audi Q8 Sport concept shows off the integration of an electric supercharger in a petrol hybrid for the first time, giving the performance of a V8 powerplant with the economy of a four-cylinder engine, according to Audi. It also points to an SQ8 model topping the line-up when the Range Rover rival arrives in 2018.

Under the bonnet there’s a 444bhp 3.0- litre V6 TFSI engine, which is augmented by a 27bhp electric motor with 125lb ft of torque supplied by a 0.9 kWh lithiumion battery. This small battery is rapidly charged under braking, to ensure that the hybrid’s electric power is available as often as possible for stop-start driving in traffic and for low speed manoeuvring.

In addition to two conventional turbochargers, the 3.0-litre petrol engine has an electric supercharger that can spool up to 70,000rpm in less than 250 milliseconds, providing “delay-free acceleration”, with 0-62mph dispatched in around 4.7 seconds. Not only is it fast, Audi claims the hybrid technology and compressor reduces CO2 emissions by around 25g/km.

Thanks to a large 85-litre fuel tank, the Q8 Sport concept is said to be capable of more than 745 miles between fill-ups – enough range to drive from London to the French Alps. quattro four-wheel-drive will be standard, along with adaptive air suspension able to switch between a cushioned ride or firmer setup to boost its handling abilities. Ground clearance can also be adjusted over five settings, with a 90 millimetres increase in ride height from the lowest position to the off-road setting. At five metres long and two metres wide, the Q8 will take its place right at the top of the Audi SUV line-up, and similar to rivals like the BMW X6 and Mercedes- Benz GLE-Class Coupé, it has a shapelier roofline. Despite this, Audi says it has plenty of space inside for passengers and their luggage thanks to its generous three-metre wheelbase, with “ample head and shoulder room” for rear occupants. However, unlike the Q7 with up to seven seats, the Q8 is aimed at the luxurious end of the market and accommodates just four people – each in an individual seat. The boot measures 630 litres, around 140 litres less than the Q7.

The dashboard is dominated by large touchscreens, there’s a next-generation version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster and the windscreen boasts a contact-analogue head-up display. The latter uses augmented reality technology to overlay digital information over the driver’s view ahead, putting arrows over the road ahead for example. With no official details on pricing or a release date, we’d expect the Audi Q8 to arrive in the UK in 2018, with a price tag starting from between £70,000 and £80,000. The SQ7 currently costs £72,020.