There’s an art to badges. The real world embodiment to brand corporate identity, Audi is definitely showing off a subtle shift in the way it communicates its brand. And though the shift has already begun, we can see it quite clearly in the first images of the new and improved Q8 model.
First and foremost is the four-ring badge. Audi design boss Marc Lichte introduced the updated four rings badge months ago ahead of the repositioning of the e-tron SUV (type GE) to Q8 e-tron, which was the first model to wear the new design. These simpler and cleaner two-dimensional rings show a new feel for the brand.
Audi first showed these updated rings on the Q8 e-tron earlier this year, and as now shown them in black optic version with these new images of the Q8 and SQ8. Our guess is that most new models going forward will get the update, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them retrofitted onto other cars for an updated appearance. Audi enthusiasts often like to do such upgrades for a custom look.
Also updated in this brand identity freshening is the S badge. Here, Audi’s badging hasn’t had any substantive changes for decades, effectively since mid-way through the B5-era when it switched from the segmented rhombus style S-car badging of the 5-cylinder era to the more commonly seen silver framed Audi Sport rhombus with overlapping italic S on S-cars or R on RS-cars. Now, with the SQ8 and SQ8 e-tron, we can clearly see a stand-alone rhombus and stand alone S in the corporate identity Audi Type font.
Notably, there also appears to be a slight space between S and Q8. In the past and currently for now, SQ8 appears with no spaces in between, whereas RS Q8 tends to have the space between the S and the Q. If you’re a brand identity nerd, this is a curious development… particularly because company press materials on the SQ8 still list the name without a space.
Another curious change an be seen on the Q8. We’d noticed this before with the Q8 e-tron, noting a red rhombus of Audi Sport ahead of the alphanumeric “Q8” identifier.
Admittedly, we were concerned. Putting the red rhombus of Audi Sport on anything seemed like a bit of a watering-down of Audi’s racing heritage, so we dug into the German market configurator to take a closer look. It appears that the rhombus is only added on an “S-line” package option. Whereas once S-line models got fender badges with small rhombus and S-overlapping consistent with the old S-badging, new S-line models only get the red rhombus on the flank next to the regular badge.
No doubt this may cause some badge controversy, but we were happy to see the badge reserved for sporting models, which is consistent with S-line from the beginning.