Audi has revealed the new hot SQ8 as its range-topping, flagship SUV, featuring a 435hp mild-hybrid turbo-diesel V8 engine. The 4.0-litre biturbo unit offered in the performance version of the coupe-inspired Q8 SUV is the most powerful V8 offered by the firm in Europe. It produces 900Nm of torque and powers the five-seater from 0-100kph in 4.8 seconds, with a limited top speed of 250kph.
The diesel, which automatically turns off one of the two turbochargers at low speeds to boost fuel economy, is mated to a 48V mild-hybrid system, operated through a belt alternator starter connected to the crankshaft. It can generate up to 11hp under braking, and allow the SQ8 to coast without the engine active for up to 40 seconds at speeds between 55kph and 160kph.
Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox, with an optional advanced suspension package including a sport differential that can balance torque between the rear wheels during cornering. As standard, the SQ8 sits on adaptive air suspension, which can adjust the ride height by up to 90mm, and features electromechanical active roll stabilisation, which uses an electric motor to reduce body movement.
All-wheel steering is available as an option, either by itself or as part of the advanced suspension package.
The SQ8 sits on 21-inch wheels as standard, with 22-inch available upon request. Carbon fibre ceramic brake discs are available as standard.
The SQ8 features a number of design tweaks from the Q8, which is closely related to the more practical Q7 and built on the VW Group’s MLB Evo platform.
It gains a new S-specific grille featuring a matt silver frame and LED headlights, along with revamped air inlets and new aluminium-effect mirrors. At the rear, the diffuser is finished in a matt black colour, with quad exhausts. A black styling package will be offered to further differentiate the car.
Inside – as with other S machines – the SQ8 is finished in black, with a mix of leather and Alcantara, and embossed S logos in the seats. Stainless steel pedals and footrest, along with aluminium inlays on the door sills, are standard.
As with the Q8, the SQ8 is offered with a twin touchscreen set-up and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, which features S-specific graphics and displays.
While the SQ8 will only be offered in the UK and Europe with the turbodiesel powerplant, largely due to the need to meet EU CO2 targets, petrol engined-versions will be offered in other markets.
There is no news of an India launch, however, Audi’s performance SUV was seen undergoing road tests on Indian soil as part of the SQ8’s global testing programme.