Audi SQ8 2023 assessment: Luxurious SUV scores a brand new massively highly effective petrol V8!

Is there a better-looking SUV coupe?

Possibly, if the mannequin that began the entire shebang within the mid-2000s – the Vary Rover Sport – is extra your cup of tea.

However the Audi Q8 has achieved one thing that neither of its German compatriots, the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, have but managed, and that is making a good-looking SUV coupe.

Not a lot has modified because the collection launched in 2018, till now: the mid-range efficiency mannequin, the SQ8 TDI, has ditched the outdated 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel, for a petroleum substitute referred to as the TFSI as an alternative ­– similar to the newest SQ7 has within the associated Q7 vary.

With rumours suggesting the next-generation Q8 will morph into an all-electric e-tron, this may be our final likelihood to get pleasure from such a daring, hedonistic, carbon dioxide-belching midsized luxurious SUV coupe, at a relatively cheap worth.

Does it symbolize good worth for the value? What options does it include?   8/10

Affordable worth? Enable us to clarify.

Made in Slovakia, the SQ8 TFSI kicks off from $168,800 (all costs are earlier than on-road prices). And that is not even the flagship, because the RS Q8 TFSI from $220,600 clearly proves.

Now, the latter is sort of $52,000 dearer ­– for a grade that is not a lot faster except you spend one other $20K on Ceramic Brakes. Utilizing a model of the identical 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that makes an additional 68kW of energy and 30Nm of torque, it is solely 0.3 second quicker to 100km/h from standstill (at 3.8s).

It comes with 22-inch alloy wheels. It comes with 22-inch alloy wheels.

Shopping for the flowery brakes, although, ups the highest pace from an SQ8-matching 250km/h to 305km/h. That beats the Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne that share the identical Volkswagen Group MLB Evo structure because the Audi, and isn’t far off the quickest variations of the associated Lamborghini Urus.

Nonetheless, you’d really want to need that RS badge to justify the variations. Benefit, SQ8 TFSI.

Bear in mind, too, that towards the outdated TDI model with its 320kW/900Nm 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel, the brand new TFSI petrol is a helpful 0.7s quicker to 100km/h at 4.1s – although, as we will see, it drinks a complete one-third extra gas.

However, then, so do the SQ8 TFSI’s direct rivals, beginning with the 390kW/750Nm X6 M50i Pure from ‘simply’ $155,900, or $170,900 if you would like your US-built BMW to match the Audi’s rear-wheel steering, energetic roll bars, soft-close doorways, metallic paint, uprated sound system, four-zone local weather management and extra.

It comes with Matrix LED headlights. It comes with Matrix LED headlights.

In the meantime, there’s the 320kW/520Nm Mercedes-Benz GLE 53 AMG 4Matic+ additionally from america, nevertheless it’s barely dearer and significantly slower on account of its 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo engine, whereas the 450kW/850Nm GLE 63AMG 4Matic+ range-topper begins from almost $245,000 and is extra of an RS Q8 rival (that it equals in acceleration) anyhow. The identical applies to the recent Vary Rover Sport P530 too, whereas the fast Cayenne Turbo begins from over $100K extra.

About the one foe that undercuts the SQ8 whereas managing to eclipse its formidable efficiency is the 286km/h and four-second-flat-to-100 Jaguar F-Tempo SVR, from $149,900. That appears to be the premium quick SUV cut price of the second. One for the beleaguered Brits.

On the tools entrance, the SQ8 TFSI mirrors its $4700-cheaper SQ7 TFSI sibling with security gear such because the Audi pre-sense entrance and pre-sense rear techniques, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), cross-traffic alert and energetic lane-keep help.

Made in Slovakia, the SQ8 TFSI kicks off from $168,800 (all prices are before on-road costs). Made in Slovakia, the SQ8 TFSI kicks off from $168,800 (all costs are earlier than on-road prices).

Different normal objects embody adaptable air suspension, four-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights, surround-view cameras, adaptive cruise management with full cease/go, eight airbags, leather-based trim, electrically adjustable sports activities entrance seats with heating and driver’s aspect reminiscence, four-zone local weather management, panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, rear privateness glass, soft-close doorways, a powered tailgate with gesture management, heated/folding heated exterior mirrors with reminiscence perform, metallic paint, a sports activities steering wheel with paddle shifts and 22-inch alloy wheels. An area-saver spare wheel can also be a part of the deal.

On the multimedia entrance there’s 12.3-inch digital instrumentation, satellite tv for pc navigation, Audi Join Plus emergency help, DAB+ digital radio, Bang & Olufsen audio with 19 audio system, wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth telephony.

You will nonetheless have to peruse the choices listing for leather-based/leather-like sprint inserts, suede-like headlining trim, front-seat air flow, rear-seat heating and a premium audio improve, although Audi helpfully consists of these in a Sensory bundle costing $13,300, whereas the Dynamic Bundle, bringing a sport differential and electromechanical energetic roll bar, will set consumers again $10,900. Ceramic brakes are one other $19,500.

General, similar to the SQ7 equal, the SQ8 TFSI is not too dangerous on the worth entrance.

It features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth telephony. It options wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth telephony.

Is there something attention-grabbing about its design?   9/10

There’s something quintessentially Audi in regards to the Q8’s edgy design generally and the delicate SQ8’s particularly.

A superb-looking face, nice proportions, restrained detailing and a fairly posterior make this arguably the prettiest out of all of the MLB Evo SUVs, Cayenne and Urus included.

Curiously, regardless of heading into its fifth 12 months in manufacturing, the Q8’s styling appears extra aligned with the newer e-tron fashions, which means it nonetheless feels recent and related.

There is something quintessentially Audi about the Q8’s edgy design in general and the sophisticated SQ8’s in particular. There’s something quintessentially Audi in regards to the Q8’s edgy design generally and the delicate SQ8’s particularly.

That it occurs to be the primary manufacturing mannequin underneath the cost of Audi’s head of design (Marc Lichte) has helped the collection’ gradual ageing course of.

For the file, together with not providing seven seats, the SQ8 lined up towards the SQ7 is 61mm shorter at 5006mm, 25mm wider at 1995mm and a considerable 85mm decrease at 1699mm, with no physique panels in frequent in any respect.

The interiors, then again, share a lot.

Like the A8 limousine latter, it looks, feels and smells expensive inside. Just like the A8 limousine latter, it appears to be like, feels and smells costly inside.

How sensible is the area inside?   7/10

Certain, the Audi is visually imposing, nevertheless it feels neither too giant nor too small as soon as contained in the very on-brand cabin, with ample area for 4 to stretch out and take within the opulent environment (or if strictly crucial a fifth particular person perched up excessive in the midst of the again seat).

Sure, it is referred to as an SUV coupe, however room is not a problem, imaginative and prescient is enough regardless of the decrease roofline in comparison with an SQ7, and fundamentals like discovering the precise driving place, air flow, storage and entry/egress are spot-on. That tall, large centre console provides a solidity to the Audi’s inside as effectively. Pretty stuff.

Being an SQ8, the accent is on sports activities luxurious, so the entrance seats are bracing but inviting, forward of a dashboard providing three distinct areas of digital screens – one forward of the driving force and a pair sited within the higher and decrease console areas. Modern but elegant, it is similar to you’d discover within the A8 limousine.

Standard items include leather trim, electrically adjustable sports front seats with heating and driver’s side memory. Customary objects embody leather-based trim, electrically adjustable sports activities entrance seats with heating and driver’s aspect reminiscence.

Just like the latter, it appears to be like, feels and smells costly inside, backed up by numerous actual property dedicated to black screens with shiny, crisp shows as soon as activated, brushed metallic contrasts, supple animal hides and high-quality plastics. You will want a number of moments to learn to function the haptic touchscreens, however their controls observe logic and conference.

The take a look at automotive we spent most time in boasted the $13,900 Sensory bundle, that ushered in suede-like materials, plusher leathers and seats that massaged, in addition to a very bombastic audio improve, amongst different luxuries. Geared up as such, it upped the SQ8’s asking worth past $180K, but additionally made it actually troublesome to fault the Audi’s lush presentation.

That rear is fine for most taller passengers, with cosseting outboard seats offering comfort and convenience. That rear is ok for many taller passengers, with cosseting outboard seats providing consolation and comfort.

That rear is ok for many taller passengers, with cosseting outboard seats providing consolation and comfort. There is a little bit of street noise intrusion coming in over Australia’s coarse bitumen, however refinement ranges stay inside expectations of a luxurious efficiency SUV.

Lastly, the boot space is definitely pretty cheap too, with 605 litres on supply, or 1755L with the 40/20/40 rear backrests folded. The match and end stays at a lofty stage too.

Sensible, plush and posh. Thy title is SQ8.

The boot area is actually fairly reasonable too, with 605 litres on offer, or 1755L with the 40/20/40 rear backrests folded. The boot space is definitely pretty cheap too, with 605 litres on supply, or 1755L with the 40/20/40 rear backrests folded.

What are the important thing stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

Just like the Audi SQ7, the MY23 SQ8 turfs out the outdated 320kW/900Nm 3956cc 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel TDI, for a 3996cc 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol TFSI unit.

It delivers 373kW at 5500rpm and 770Nm between 2000rpm and 4000rpm, leading to palpably stronger efficiency: the TFSI can speed up to 100km/h from standstill in 4.1 seconds (down from 4.8s within the TDI), although its artificially-restricted V-max of 250km/h stays the identical.

Plus, with a formidable 130kg much less weight to lug round, this 2480kg (tare) SUV’s power-to-weight ratio is a heady 150kW/tonne.

Like the Audi SQ7, the MY23 SQ8 turfs out the old 320kW/900Nm 3956cc 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel TDI, for a 3996cc 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol TFSI unit. Just like the Audi SQ7, the MY23 SQ8 turfs out the outdated 320kW/900Nm 3956cc 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel TDI, for a 3996cc 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol TFSI unit.

Everlasting all-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential is included, directing torque to each axles by way of an eight-speed torque-converter computerized, with paddle shifters. It additionally consists of the Audi drive choose system with seven modes: Consolation, Auto, Dynamic, Effectivity, Allroad, Offroad and Particular person.

Different related tech information right here features a five-link entrance and rear adaptive air suspension system and variable ratio rack and pinion steering.

Lastly, four-wheel steering is normal tools, offering as a lot as 5 levels of reverse rear-wheel steer underneath 60km/h, or related quantities in the identical path over 60km/h.

More so than the SQ7 TFSI, the SQ8 TFSI proved to be a fun and immersive driving experience. Extra so than the SQ7 TFSI, the SQ8 TFSI proved to be a enjoyable and immersive driving expertise.

When you fork out one other $10,900 for the Dynamic bundle you may rating Audi’s quattro sport differential in addition to an electromechanical energetic roll bar system. Each are mentioned to enhance dealing with and roadholding.

As with the SQ7, the SQ8 TFSI gives 3500kg braked and 750kg unbraked towing capability.

How a lot gas does it devour?   5/10

The SQ8’s official mixed common consumption determine is 12.1L/100km, 17.6 in city driving circumstances and a extra cheap 9.6 within the extra-urban run – the latter aided by cylinder-on-demand tech, that shuts down half the financial institution when the SQ7 is being pushed off-throttle or coasting alongside. That is the place most of our driving occured.

The corresponding carbon dioxide emissions score common is 279 grams per kilometre.

The outdated TDI, in the meantime, returned a mixed 7.8L/100km, 208g/km CO2 score and a mean vary of 1090km. With the identical 85-litre tank, the brand new TFSI barely averages 700km earlier than needing to refill with 95 RON premium unleaded petrol.

What security tools is fitted? What security score?   9/10

The SQ8 TDI managed a five-star ANCAP crash take a look at outcome again in 2019, however the brand new TFSI model has but to be examined, although engine and weight apart, they’re just about the identical SUV.

On the security entrance you may discover Audi’s pre-sense entrance and pre-sense rear, providing AEB, cross-traffic alert and energetic lane-keep help tech.

The SQ8 additionally consists of adaptive cruise management with full cease/go, eight airbags (twin entrance in addition to aspect and curtain airbags for all outboard occupants, however no front-centre airbags), hill-descent management, anti-lock brakes, digital brake-force distribution, brake-assist, digital stability management, traction management, tyre stress screens and a surround-view digital camera.

The SQ8 TDI managed a five-star ANCAP crash test result back in 2019, but the new TFSI version has yet to be tested. The SQ8 TDI managed a five-star ANCAP crash take a look at outcome again in 2019, however the brand new TFSI model has but to be examined.

The AEB can detect pedestrians and cyclists, even at evening, at speeds between 10km/h and 85km/h, whereas for different motor automobiles that will increase to 250km/h. The energetic lane warning operations is from 65-250km/h.

Lastly, ISOFIX latches are fitted to each outboard rear seat bases, together with  hooks for child-seat tether straps.

Guarantee & Security Ranking

Fundamental Guarantee

5 years / limitless km
guarantee

ANCAP Security Ranking

ANCAP logo

What does it price to personal? What guarantee is obtainable?   7/10

Launched solely this 12 months after languishing behind most luxurious rivals with a paltry three-year assure, Audi now gives a five-year/limitless kilometre guarantee. It consists of roadside help activated yearly so long as the proprietor visits an Audi seller.

Service intervals are each 12 months or 15,000km.

A five-year service plan prices $4100, with an extra two years for $2350. In any other case, there isn’t a printed fixed-price service plans obtainable.

Audi now offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Audi now gives a five-year/limitless kilometre guarantee.

What’s it wish to drive?   9/10

Extra so than the SQ7 TFSI, the SQ8 TFSI proved to be a enjoyable and immersive driving expertise.

Audi factors to the 130kg-lighter entrance finish that ditching diesel for petrol brings, however we reckon it is as a result of each our take a look at automobiles have been fitted with the $10,900 Dynamic bundle that bundles energetic roll bars and the quattro sport differential.

Tellingly, the SQ7 TFSI we additionally thrashed about in in the course of the Audi launch didn’t, and it felt barely much less wieldy because of this.

Out on rural roads at least, potholes and debris were negotiated with aplomb. Out on rural roads at the least, potholes and particles have been negotiated with aplomb.

Again to the SQ8 TFSI, the primary apparent change is in the best way the V8 performs. The outdated twin-turbo diesel TDI would launch with an almighty whack, leaping ahead and pulling strongly ­if noisily to licence-losing speeds very quickly.

In distinction, the sweeter and extra mellifluous twin-turbo petrol TFSI helps the SQ8 step off the road fast sufficient, however does not fairly really feel as quick or livid; but as soon as that 4.0-litre V8 swings previous 3000rpm, pace appears to extend exponentially, with the needle hovering into three-figure numbers immediately.

Equally, the outdated TDI’s shift from 80km/h to 130km/h felt prefer it was over earlier than you’d even contact the throttle, in comparison with the quick-deep-breath-then-go thrust of the TFSI. Barely much less theatre, however a complete lot extra couth.

We’d like to try the SQ8 TFSI on typically rubbish suburban and city roads as well before we make a final judgement dynamically. We’d wish to attempt the SQ8 TFSI on usually garbage suburban and metropolis roads as effectively earlier than we make a remaining judgement dynamically.

The lighter entrance finish pays dividends when you encounter a decent nook, for the SQ8 TFSI tucks round like a smaller SUV would possibly; it feels composed and managed, darting from flip to show, in a method {that a} 2.5-tonne box-on-wheels has no actual proper to.

Our drive was virtually totally skilled in torrential rain and forceful winds, additional underlining the reassured safety of the Audi’s chassis. And whereas the Dynamic bundle’s trick suspension and diff performed components in sustaining calmness in such inclement circumstances, neither of our SQ8s have been fitted with the $20K ceramic brakes improve, but we by no means questioned the stopping energy or driving help techniques throughout our two days fanging this unlikely grand tourer about.

Even the suspension on the large 285/40R22 tyres behaved, revealing the effectiveness of the standard-issue adaptive air set-up. Out on rural roads at the least, potholes and particles have been negotiated with aplomb.

Too bad the 15L/100km-plus thirst will eventually relegate this Audi to history. If you can afford the petrol bills, enjoy it while you still can. Too dangerous the 15L/100km-plus thirst will ultimately relegate this Audi to historical past. When you can afford the petrol payments, get pleasure from it when you nonetheless can.

We would wish to attempt the SQ8 TFSI on usually garbage suburban and metropolis roads as effectively earlier than we make a remaining judgement dynamically, and rather less tyre/street noise intrusion inside can be good general. However in any other case, the dashing Audi SUV coupe possesses a uncommon attraction and can-do functionality for a automotive on this class.

A category act, the truth is. Too dangerous the 15L/100km-plus thirst will ultimately relegate this Audi to historical past. When you can afford the petrol payments, get pleasure from it when you nonetheless can.

Verdict

There are two methods of wanting on the MY23 Audi SQ8 TFSI.

Firstly, by dropping the V8 diesel engine of its TDI predecessor for a V8 twin-turbo petrol various, the newest model sacrifices spectacular gas financial system for not an excessive amount of additional efficiency.

Nonetheless, whereas the following thirst is way from welcome, the improved refinement and extra athletic dealing with accompanying the 130kg lighter entrance finish are particular advantages, particularly as most rivals are petrol-powered anyway.

On steadiness, then, the swap to TFSI brings the SQ8 perilously near the flagship RS Q8 performance-wise because it gives a lot the identical powertrain, but saves a whopping $50K within the cut price.

Given that the majority consumers of sports activities luxurious SUV coupes would most likely prioritise design, refinement and dynamics above saving gas, the MY23 SQ8 TFSI is a particular step in the precise path. And it is enjoyable as well.

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