The Audi SQ8 is a performance SUV that doesn’t compromise comfort or everyday usability. Most performance SUVs are either too extreme or not extreme enough. The Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S are great examples of this.
The Audi SQ8 may just be the perfect balance between these two extremes. The 2022 Audi SQ8 offers 500 horsepower and outrageous straight-line performance without compromising comfort or everyday usability.
The Audi SQ8 competes in the sports activity coupé (SAC) market segment against the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE-Class coupé. The Audi SQ8’s aggressive looks, powerful engine, very well equipped, and luxurious interior makes this, arguably, the best vehicle in this category.
Apart from the price, which seems to hold well for used models, the Audi SQ8 offers impressive performance. The pre-2021 models were equipped with a fuel-efficient diesel engine. The 2022 models have had the diesel engine replaced with a gas-powered unit. Lets get right into it and start by talking about where the Audi SQ8 all began.
The History Of The Audi SQ8
The sports activity coupé (SAC) market segment did not exist before 2008 when BMW launched the X6. The first X6 models’ design was polarizing, and reviewers stated that no one loved it!
With the initial review, it is not surprising that Audi and Mercedes took a while to respond. Mercedes launched the GLE-Class coupé (introduced in 2015).
Audi launched the Q8 in the 2018 model year, and as shown in the table below, it has progressively outsold the BMW X6.
|Year||Audi Q8||BMW X6|
The Audi SQ8 was first launched in 2019 and featured chassis revisions, styling, and technology upgrades.
Following the Audi principle of understated styling, the changes over the standard Q8 into the performance bent of the SQ8 are subtle. The exterior changes include
- Quad exhaust tips.
- Oversized 22-inch wheels.
- A massive front intake
- And subtle SQ8 badges on the nose and rear.
What Is The Audi SQ8 Like?
The Audi SQ8 is positioned as a performance derivative of the successful Audi Q8.
While it doesn’t produce the brain-twisting acceleration of the more expensive Audi RSQ8, it still has excellent performance figures.
Audi’s head of design, Marc Licht, was responsible for the design language across all the manufacturer’s SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles – Q5, Q7) and SAC’s (Sports Activity Coupé Q8).
All these vehicles feature a sizeable octagonal grill. Six vertical chrome struts give the radiator grille a dominant appearance. The horizontal grill pieces are recessed and finished in dark grey, framed by more aggressively styled bumpers.
The roof stretches low across the vehicle body and ends with an extended roof spoiler.
The Audi Q8’s rear hatch ends in a spoiler that joins the blisters inspired by the Audi Quattro rally car from the 1980s.
These design features’ overall effect is a vehicle that conveys power, sophistication, and the potential of luxurious off-road prowess.
The Audi Q8 is the longest and narrowest of the three competitors. The vehicle’s height falls in the middle of each. It gives the Audi the best, less “tank-like” profile of the three.
|Dimension||Audi SQ8||BMW X6||Mercedes GLE-Class coupé|
|Length||4986 mm||4935 mm||4937 mm|
|Width||1995 mm||2212 mm||2156 mm|
|Height||1705 mm||1696 mm||1783 mm|
What Is The Audi SQ8 Like To Drive?
In models sold before 2021, the cars used an excellent 4.0-liter Biturbo V8 mild-hybrid diesel engine. This engine was one of the prime reasons to recommend the vehicle in previous years.
The Audi Q8 offers two driving modes, and when the diesel engine powered it, each engine mode had very different personalities – the Jekyll and Hyde of the automotive world.
Standard mode results in a refined, comfortable drive with acceptable handling characteristics.
When the driver selected Dynamic mode, Mr. Hyde came out to play. The Audi SQ8’s air suspension lowered the car; throttle responses became faster and more urgent, the exhaust note changed from a rumble to a roar, and the vehicle prepared itself for some fun.
In 2022 a new gas-powered twin-turbo V8 has replaced the diesel unit. The Audi SQ8 has lost some character with this more environmentally acceptable engine.
The torque is down by almost 100lb/ft from 663 lb-ft to 570 lb-ft.
As with all the VW group automatic gearboxes, the 8-speed Tiptronic unit, connected to all four wheels, provides an almost seamless power transfer to the road. Except when accelerating very hard, the only way to tell if a gear change has happened is by looking at the rev counter.
The Audi SQ8 comes equipped with four-wheel steering, active roll stabilization, and air suspension, making this heavy vehicle very agile.
Is The Audi SQ8 Fast?
Despite the reservations about the new gas-powered engine, the Audi Q8 remains a fast vehicle that can humiliate boy racers in the Golf Gti’s.
|Measure||4.0-liter Biturbo V8 Mild-Hybrid Diesel Engine||Gas-Powered Twin-Turbo V8|
|0-62 mph(100kp/h)||4.3 seconds||3.6 seconds|
|Top Speed||155 mph (249 km/h)||149 mph (240 km/h)|
|Fuel Consumption (Comb./City/Hwy)||17/15/21 mpg||17/15/21 mpg|
The Audi SQ8 Interior
Audi continues to impress with its understated yet luxurious and comprehensively equipped interior.
The genuine leather seats imbue an air of decadent luxury. The dashboard is covered with soft-touch plastics, which have an artificial (natural) seam running the vehicle’s width. It very effectively gives the impression that leather covers the dash.
Of course, no description of any modern Audi would be complete without mentioning the tech available on most models.
The Audi SQ8 comes fitted with the Audi version of the VW group Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard. The system’s technology is suspected to be the same as that used in other group vehicles (VW Touareg, the Porsche Cayenne, the Lamborghini Urus, and the Bentley Bentayga.)
It is not meant to talk the tech down because all the system iterations are class-leading and worthy of their place in these flagship vehicles.
In addition to the digital dashboard, there are another 2 screens in the fascia, of which one controls the car’s infotainment system and the other the climate control settings.
The feedback of the screens is straightforward, and instead of changing settings by using buttons or knobs, the driver slides his finger on the control until the desired level is reached.
We are not a fan of this system, as the old knobs and buttons added more tactile control and could be adjusted without the driver taking eyes off the road.
The Audi SQ8 uses the “Audi Phone Box,” a wireless charging pad, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility installed.
The seats are superbly comfortable and provide adequate bolster support through the twisties.
The interior space is the same as the seven-seat Audi Q7, which results in the five-seat Audi SQ8 having ample legroom for all occupants. And lets not forget to mention the sizeable trunk space with ample amounts of room to store almost anything you want in the cargo.
The Audi SQ8 Engine
When the Audi SQ8 was launched, it came with a 4.0-liter Biturbo V8 mild-hybrid diesel engine to power the SQ8. Diesel units have fallen out of favor, and of course, the VW group (of which Audi is a significant part) suffered from the diesel gate scandal.
The 2022 Audi SQ8 comes equipped with a gas-powered twin-turbo V8 offering up an impressive 500hp and a 568 lb-ft of torque. With the impressive Audi SQ8 hp the car is able to propel itself from 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds.
It is a pity because the diesel unit produced endless torque. The fun began when the driver selected dynamic mode because the engine note changed to a roar which would have been quite acceptable from a V8 Mustang or Camaro.
The system turned the volume down to a quiet rumble when selecting standard driving mode.
What Will You Pay For An Audi SQ8?
Over the years, Audi SQ8’s have retained their value, at a glimpse, below is the Audi SQ8 price for each respective year:
|Year||4.0T Premium Plus quattro trim|
Our Verdict on the Audi SQ8
Audi launched the Q8 ten years after BMW’s X6 created the niche market segment. The Audi has designed a more visually appealing vehicle than its competitors, and the excellent Diesel, which powered the models to 2021, gave the car a unique character.
The gas-powered engine installed in the 2022 model still produces high-performance levels; however, some of the vehicle’s character has been lost. Despite this, the Audi SQ8 is an excellent vehicle, and if your budget can stretch to these levels, it is worth considering.