2019 Audi SQ8 unveiled

Matthew Mills
June 24, 2019

The high-end, sportier-looking version of the Audi Q8 has been revealed. Here’s everything you need to know about this potential Range Rover Sport SVR alternative.

  • Revealed

    2019 Audi SQ8 performance SUV

  • Specs include

    turbocharged, 435hp V8 engine

  • Price and release date

    circa £85,000; 2019

2019 Audi SQ8 price and release date

The 2019 Audi SQ8 is a high-end, performance-oriented SUV, joining the ranks of such alternatives as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Range Rover Sport SVR. However, the car is expected to undercut those names by at least £15,000, with a price tag orbiting £85,000.

The SQ8 will go on sale later this year.

2019 Audi SQ8 styling

The 2019 Audi SQ8 is a sportier (and more expensive) variant of the brand’s current Audi Q8 SUV. As such, the car has been gifted with a meaner, more imposing look. The front features more pronounced vertical slats on the grille, framed by a flashy, silver-painted panel. Around the sides, the wheels have been increased to up to 22 inches in diameter; the wheel arches have been expanded to accommodate. The doors are pillarless, too. Finally, around the back, you’ll find four exhaust pipes that are not only impressive-looking; they’re not fake, either. This comes in stark contrast to the regular Q8, where they were as real as that Nigerian prince in your email inbox.

You get 21-inch wheels are standard on the SQ8, although Audi can increase the diameter to 22 inches. You can also choose red brake calipers (if you want to be a bit flashier) and carbon-fibre brake discs, which are lighter and stronger than the steel ones you get as standard.

2019 Audi SQ8 engine

The 2019 SQ8 has the most powerful diesel engine that Audi currently sells in Europe: a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, which produces up to 435hp and 900Nm of pulling power. All this low-end muscle means that the SUV can go from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds. That may be half a second slower than the Range Rover Sport SVR, but the Audi is expected to have an economy of 30mpg; the Range Rover would be lucky to reach a claimed 22mpg out in the real world.

The Audi SQ8’s fuel efficiency eclipses its contemporaries’ because it’s a mild hybrid, using a 48V electrical system for regenerative braking and a start/stop functionality that automatically kicks in when you’re driving above 14mph. Plus, if you’re cruising between 35 and 100mph and take your foot off the gas pedal, the SQ8 can coast along at the same speed, purely on electric power, for up to forty seconds.

It may be a diesel, but the SQ8 should actually sound pretty impressive. Inside the cabin, the exhaust noise is artificially amplified, generating a more satisfying rumble than you’d get from most diesel-powered SUVs. On the other hand, if that fakery isn’t for you, worry not: you can adjust or turn this feature off using the Drive Select system.

The SQ8 is four-wheel drive and has an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

2019 Audi SQ8 interior and infotainment

Like the standard Q8, the 2019 Audi SQ8 has a three-metre wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels). This is ten centimetres longer than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo’s, meaning more legroom for you and your passengers. The Audi Q8 is able to comfortably accommodate four adults, with a fifth in the middle of the rear bench possible but uncomfortable on longer journeys. So you can expect the same from the SQ8. The car also gets a 605-litre boot, which dwarfs the Range Rover Sport SVR’s 522-litre offering.

As for the aesthetics, the new SQ8 has an interior modeled after its Q8 sibling, albeit gifted with a sleek black colour scheme, contrast stitching, Alcantara-meets-leather upholstery and embossed ‘S’ logos.

Potential aesthetic add-ons in the interior include red or grey seat covers and premium Valcona leather upholstery. If you want to make your SQ8 more romantic (and why wouldn’t you?), an ambient lighting package is available, too.

The SQ8 has the same infotainment system that you would find in the Q8 and the Audi A6 saloon. It’s comprised of two vertically aligned touchscreens: the top one displays infotainment mainstays such as the sat-nav, while the bottom is used to operate the climate control and typing keypad. In other Audis, this setup has been commended for its crisp graphics and easy-to-read text, but criticised for not being as intuitive to use on the move as its rotary dial-controlled predecessor.

2019 Audi SQ8 driving

The 2019 Audi SQ8 SUV is equipped with a Drive Select system, which lets you choose between seven modes out on the road and control the car’s adaptive air suspension. This last can be upgraded to include active anti-roll bars. These can tighten up in the corners, ensuring that the SQ8 can keep its body upright, even through the sharpest of turns. Then, once you’ve straightened out, the bars disengage, giving the suspension free rein to absorb all of the bumps and potholes that you frequently encounter on British roads.

Rear-wheel steering is an optional extra on the SQ8. At low speeds, this feature can turn the back wheels in the opposite direction to the front ones, making the car more agile during tricky manoeuvres, like parallel parking. Meanwhile, above 38mph, all four wheels will turn in the same direction to improve the SQ8’s stability through corners.

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