This is the new Audi SQ8: the performance version of the Audi Q8 and an alternative to the Range Rover Sport SVR. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
435hp, V8 diesel engine
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2019 Audi SQ8 price and release date
The new Audi SQ8 is a high-end, performance-oriented SUV, arriving as an alternative to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Range Rover Sport SVR. It could be as much as £15,000 less than those cars, however, with a price of around £85,000.
The SQ8 will go on sale later this year.
2019 Audi SQ8 styling
Since its role is as a more performance-focused version of the Audi Q8 SUV, the new SQ8 gets a tougher, more sporty look. This includes broader wheel arches and a silver-framed grille with pronounced vertical slats. At the back, you’ll find four exhaust pipes.
2019 Audi SQ8 specs
The SQ8’s standard alloy wheels are 21 inches in diameter. Optional 22-inch wheels are available, as are red-painted brake calipers, as well as carbon brakes, which are lighter and more effective than conventional steel brake discs.
2019 Audi SQ8 engine
The 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 diesel in the new SQ8 delivers 435hp and 900Nm of shove. According to Audi, it’s the most powerful diesel engine available in Europe. It’s enough to get this big coupe-SUV to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds. A Range Rover Sport SVR is quicker than that, but you should be able to squeeze 30mpg out of the Audi. In the supercharged petrol Range Rover, meanwhile, you’d be looking at closer to 22mpg.
It’s not only the diesel power that helps with fuel efficiency; the SQ8 also features mild-hybrid technology. This uses a 48V battery system and electric motor to help regenerate energy from braking. It can then use electric power to help boost the economy of the engine from low speeds, giving improved performance and fuel economy. The hybrid system also gives the big Audi an enhanced start-stop functionality: the SQ8 can engage this automatic feature at speeds of up to 14mph.
Another cool addition is that, if you’re cruising between 35 and 100mph, the SQ8 can coast along at the same speed on electric power alone for up to 40 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.
Finally, the SQ8 uses Quattro four-wheel drive and has an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
2019 Audi SQ8 interior and infotainment
Like the standard Q8, the 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 Q8 is able to comfortably accommodate four adults, with a fifth in the middle of the rear bench for occasional use. So, expect the same from the SQ8. The car also gets a 605-litre boot, which easily betters the Range Rover Sport SVR’s 522 litres.
As for the interior styling, the new SQ8 has an almost identical cabin to its Q8 sibling, albeit with a sleek black colour scheme, contrast stitching, Alcantara-meets-leather upholstery and embossed ‘S’ logos. Potential add-ons include red or grey seat covers and premium Valcona leather. If you want to make your SQ8 more romantic (and why wouldn’t you?), an ambient lighting package is also available.
The SQ8 has the same infotainment system that you would find in the Q8 and Audi A6 saloon. It’s comprised of two vertically stacked touchscreens: the top one displays infotainment mainstays such as the satnav, 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 SQ8 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. The latter can also 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 the corner has straightened out, the bars disengage, giving the suspension free rein to absorb bumps and potholes.
Rear-wheel steering is an optional extra on the SQ8. At low speeds, this 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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