After more than a year on sale, Audi has finally got around to launching a hot version of its flagship, BMW X6-rivalling coupe-SUV. And here it is, the Audi SQ8.
Power comes from a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 diesel engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system, churning out a ginormous 429bhp and 664lb/ft of torque. We’ve seen this particular powertrain before in the Audi SQ7 and Bentley Bentayga.
Power is sent to the quattro four-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The hybrid element is a belt-driven starter/alternator that can generate up to 11bhp, which allows the SQ8 to coast on electric power alone at speeds between 34mph and 100mph for up to 40 seconds.
The engine can also shut down one of the turbos under light throttle loads to increase fuel economy.
Fully lit, the SQ8 can blast from 0-62mph in 4.8secs and on to a limited top speed of 155mph. Which is pretty fast in an SUV weighing well over two tons.
Audi hasn’t released fuel economy and emissions data yet. But the numbers are likely to be in the same ballpark as the SQ7, which returns a combined 39.2mpg and emits 190g/km of Co2.
As standard, the SQ8 comes with 21in wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, adaptive suspension and active roll stabilisation, which uses an electric motor to neutralise body movements.
22in rims, four-wheel-steering and an even more advanced suspension system with a torque-vectoring sport differential are on the options list.
Styling tweaks include the matt silver grille, new air intakes, quad exhaust outlets and a diffuser. Inside, the predominately black colour scheme combines with leather and alcantara trim, S logos and bright metal details.
As you’d expect, the entirety of Audi’s gadget cupboard is available as standard or as an option, including a twin-screen instrument panel/infotainment system set up.
The V8 diesel engine will be available in the UK and Europe. In other markets, the SQ8 will likely be powered by a 3.0-litre turbo V6 petrol unit.
Audi hasn’t announced prices for the SQ8 yet, but expect to pay around £85,000.
By Graham King