The Audi SQ8 – the performance version of the brand’s Q8 SUV – starts from $165,500 plus on-road costs, placing it at a $3500 price premium over the newly-released seven-seater 2020 Audi SQ7 with which it shares most of its equipment.
It is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel V8 that (320kW/900Nm), matched to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels.
As with the Audi SQ7, the 2020 Audi SQ8’s engine also comes with an electric powered compressor that can generate an additional 7kW of power in only 250 milliseconds. The system is designed to fill in any delays in the vehicle’s power delivery while the diesel engine’s turbochargers are building pressure.
The 2020 Audi SQ8 covers the 0-100km/h dash in a claimed 4.8 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited 250km/h top speed.
A 48-volt mild-hybrid system reduces fuel consumption by up to a claimed 0.5 litres per 100km of driving and can provide emissions-free coasting between speeds of 55-160km/h. Fuel consumption is listed at 7.8 litres per 100km for the SQ8.
The Audi SQ8 receives a host of external styling pieces to differentiate it from the regular Q8, including an S sports bodykit and a high gloss black accent package for the window sills, side mirrors and grille.
The model receives matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light technology that the brand claims can double the range of the high beams.
The Audi SQ8's tail-lights come together in a strip across the rear hatch. Audi says the styling cue was first seen on its A8 model.
The Audi SQ8 comes standard with 22-inch alloy wheels and a quad-tip exhaust system tucked inside a rear diffuser.
At 5006mm in length the Audi SQ8 is 61mm shorter than the SQ7.
However, both models have an identical wheelbase (distance between the front and rear axles), which measures 2996mm.
Inside, the model comes with the same dash design as the refreshed Audi Q8. The layout has two touchscreens, with a 10.1-inch screen up top for navigation and Audi Connect Plus features with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an 8.6-inch touchscreen below for cabin and suspension controls.
Audi’s 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also equipped – able to display essential vehicle information or overlay a Google map display in front of the driver.
Standard S sport bucket seats come upholstered in a diamond-pattern stitched Valcona leather with heating and ventilation as standard. An optional sensory package wraps the dashboard and doors in leather.
Underneath, the model gets 400mm front disc brakes with a carbon ceramic option that Audi claims halves the weight of the assembly, 350mm rear brakes and active roll stabilisation that increases stiffness of the anti-sway bars mid-corner to suit conditions.
An all-wheel steering system allows up to five degrees of steering angle in the rear wheels at low speed. Audi claims this reduces the turning circle for the SQ8 by 1.1m to 12.2m – smaller than the brand’s compact Q3 SUV.
At high speeds the system turns the rear wheels up to two degrees in the same direction as the front wheels to increase stability.
A dynamic package can be optioned which adds a sports differential that can redistribute torque between wheels depending on their varying levels of grip.
Audi ‘pre-sense’ basic offers a host of features including turn assist, adaptive cruise control and assist, hold assist, traffic pilot, pre-tensioning seat belts and autonomous collision avoidance assist comes as standard on the SQ8.
A ‘pre-sense rear’ package also features, includes such tech as trailer manoeuvre and park assist.
Attention Assist – a warning system that alerts drivers that their focus may be waning – also helps keep drivers safe.
The 2020 Audi SQ8 is available now and can be purchased through Audi’s new online reservation system. Additional details of the online purchasing system can be found here.
2020 Audi SQ8 TDI pricing
- SQ8 TDI – $165,500
Price excludes on-road costs.