Don't want a diesel SQ8? Audi has now introduced a petrol-powered version.
Audi has expanded the engine options for its RHD high-performance SUVs.
The German brand’s SQ7 and SQ8 models now feature Audi’s 4-litre turbocharged V8 engine, which makes them more direct rivals to BMW’s new X5/6 M and various similarly sized SUV offerings from AMG.
In terms of styling and overall design, there is little difference between the petrol and diesel-powered SQ7/8 vehicles. Around the rear you will find large diameter quad exhausts and rolling in the wheelarches, are a choice of enormous alloy wheel options, up to 23-inches in size.
What really matters is under the bonnet. Audi’s 4-litre bi-turbo V8 is in a 373 kW and 770 Nm state of tune with these new SQ SUVs, driving all four wheels, via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Despite the size of both SQ7 and SQ8, performance is very impressive. Audi claims 0-100 kph in 4.1 seconds and a limited top speed of 250 kph. To ensure it has the required acoustic drama, Audi has fitted an active exhaust, with flaps that open under during heavy acceleration.
To increase efficiency in traffic, the V8 engine features cylinder deactivation at modest throttle loads, and it sits on active engine mounts, which mitigate vibration.
Balancing the performance of these new V8 turbopetrol Audi SUVs are huge 400 mm front brakes and S-specific adaptive air suspension. Customers who upgrade to the ‘Vorsprung’ package, only available the SQ8, will gain active roll stabilisation and sport diff, which attempts to mimic a rear-wheel-drive bias to the drivetrain’s torque distribution.
The SQ7 and SQ8 V8 petrol models are being produced in RHD, which bodes well for the potential availability in the South African market. Audi SA is looking into the possibility of introducing these petrol engines in the future but has not confirmed them. For 2020, only the diesel-powered SQ7 and SQ8 will be sold locally, arriving in the last quarter of the year.