Audi shows hot SQ8 as new flagship SUV
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 11bhp under braking, and allow the SQ8 to coast without the engine active for up to 40 seconds at speeds between 34 and 100mph.
Power is driven to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with an optional advanced suspension package including a sport differential that can balance torque between the rear wheels when cornering.
As standard, the car 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.
The SQ8 is due to go on sale in the UK in the coming months. Pricing has yet to be set, but will likely be an increase on the current range-topping Q8, the 55 TFSI, which costs £80,815.
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.