Soon, Audi is set to be launching their new flagship SUV, the Q8. Last year, our spy photographers managed to spot the full-size crossover a couple of times as it was continually being developed. Now that the Q8 is almost ready for a world premiere, it seems that the German automaker is already busy working on a high-performance variant of their large SUV.

Spied: High-performance Audi Q8 in the works?

To be called Audi SQ8, the test mule seen here is sporting new parts that weren't seen in previous spy photos of the Q8. The performance-oriented SUV is also seen testing with what appears to be a Porsche Macan test mule as well.

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Spied: High-performance Audi Q8 in the works?

The most noticeable change would be the quad exhaust setup fitted onto this prototype compared to the standard Q8. This, together with a slightly larger air intake, lower ride height, and larger front brakes lead us to believe that this is a high performance variant of the Q8. Meanwhile, camouflage and snow help hide more details of the SQ8.

Spied: High-performance Audi Q8 in the works?

According to our spies, the SQ8 could be a hybrid-performance SUV pushing out as much as 450 PS and 700 Nm of torque. This is based from the concept that Audi revealed before which used a 3.0-liter TFSI V6 engine coupled with a 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Another possiblity that it will use a diesel powerplant with 435 PS.

At the moment, nothing is certain yet as to when the SQ8 – which may not even be its official name – will make its debut. However, do expect it to break cover soon after the standard Audi Q8 is revealed possibly at the Geneva International Motor Show next month.