While the headline will make you think I need to brush up on my geography, the title is factually accurate. The 2023 Geneva International Motor Show is not being held in the namesake city located in Switzerland but rather 2,900 miles away at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. It's the first GIMS following a three-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Mind you, there's still going to be a separate event in Geneva next year.
Several big players are attending the auto show in Qatar's capital, including Audi. The Four Rings are actually hosting the 2024 Q8's public debut at the event, which ends on Saturday, 14 October. The German luxury brand decided to bring the high-performance version by displaying the red-hot SQ8 with its large V8. It's a twin-turbo 4.0-litre engine producing a meaty 500 bhp and 568 pound-feet (770 Newton-metres) of torque.
2024 Audi SQ8 at the 2023 Geneva Motor Show
The mid-cycle update comes about five years after the Q8's launch and brings discreet styling changes along with more advanced lighting tech. At the front, there are optional HD Matrix LED headlights with a laser high beam while the taillights now employ OLEDs. There are now octagonal elements in the revised grille. The show car from the 2023 GIMS has side mirror caps in carbon fiber and rides on humongous 23-inch wheels. Audi is also going to sell the high-performance SUV with smaller 22- and 21-inch sets.
Despite its sheer size and weight, the SQ8 is impressively quick, needing just 4.1 seconds to hit 62 mph (100 km/h). Flat out, it can reach an electronically governed 155 mph (250 km/h). Should you want even more oomph, the RS Q8 facelift has yet to be revealed but its debut is likely to take place in the coming weeks or months.
Going forward, Audi will sell the gasoline and diesel Q8 alongside a fully electric Q8 E-Tron / Q8 E-Tron Sportback, which are facelifted versions of the "old" E-Tron / E-Tron Sportback.