While some (luxury) carmakers are bidding goodbye to diesel engines forever, there are some who still believe in them. Audi is now offering the SQ8, the sporty top model of the Q family.
Since the regular Q8 already looks sporty, the SQ8 doesn’t look that much different besides the badging. However, there are some changes, including the standard 21-inch wheels and S-specific exhaust system with twin tailpipes on either side. Buyers can also go for exclusive 22-inch wheels. Standard LED headlights include high-beam assist feature, with HD matrix technology available as an option.
As is typical for an S model, the interior follows a dark theme. The standard sport seats are decorated with an S embossing and contrasting stitching, while the S-sport seats plus with integrated head restraints and high side bolsters, can be equipped with climate control and massage functions as an option. Options list also include inlays made of matt brushed aluminum, carbon or oak.
The standard Audi virtual cockpit offers S-specific views with red graphical details. The driver can select a performance layout where the central focus is the tachometer, displayed as a square graph, and the performance and torque are shown as percentages.
As standard, the SQ8 TDI is equipped with the Audi drive select dynamic handling system and the adaptive air suspension sport with regulated damping. The air suspension varies the body level by up to 90 mm (3.5 in).
Buyers can opt for a sport differential which actively distributes drive torque between the rear wheels, and all-wheel steering as an alternative to the standard progressive steering. Another option is electromechanical active roll stabilization which features a compact electric motor between the two halves of the stabilizer on each axle. Details below –
When driving straight ahead, they largely act independently of each other, which reduces sprung mass vibrations on uneven roads. At sporty paces, however, the stabilizer halves work as a unit by being turned in opposite directions. This makes the handling of the SQ8 TDI tighter and significantly reduces its roll angle when cornering.
The SQ8 borrows the powertrain from the SQ7. The 4.0 V8 biturbo develops 320 kW (435 metric hp) and 900 Nm of torque between 1250 and 3250 rpm, enabling the Coupe-SUV to sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. The top speed, however, is limited to 250 km/h. An 8-speed tiptronic automatic transmission sends power via quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.
As with the SQ7, the SQ8 too features 48-volt mild-hybrid technology with an electric powered compressor (EPC) that supplements the two turbochargers. The belt alternator starter can recuperate during deceleration and feed power to the lithium-ion battery. Audi claims that in real-world operation, the MHEV technology reduces consumption by up to 0.5 liters (0.1 US gal) per 100 km.