New Audi SQ8 arrives with a new face and 500bhp V8 power

The Audi SQ8 is the firm’s range-topping performance SUV…for now

Audi has a wide selection of 11 SUVs and sitting atop the range is this - the new performance-focused SQ8

The SQ8 was introduced as the sporty offering within the Q8 model range a year after the Q8 debuted in 2019. We expect the even more powerful RS Q8 to once again spearhead the coupe-SUV’s line up when it launches in the coming months. 

Like the standard Q8 facelift, the exterior redesign is fairly comprehensive, with new OLED headlights upfront with four changeable signatures (chosen via the infotainment system), a new front bumper with more body colour around the grille, which itself has a new honeycomb insert. There’s also a reshaped lip spoiler, a new “underride guard” and 22-inch ‘Y-spoke’ wheels. 

 To the rear, we can see a new diffuser design and rear light signature. Like the new A8 and Q5, the Q8 features a ‘proximity indication’, which means vehicles that come within two metres of the car’s behind will trigger the rear lights. 

Inside the new SQ8, you’ll find sport seats with S logos and a head-up display, keyless-go, an uprated sound system, four-zone climate control and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Audi has also tweaked its virtual cockpit digital dashboard to place greater prominence on driver assistance systems such as lane-change warning, crossroad assist and traffic light information.

As it stands, the SQ8 is the most potent version of the facelifted Q8, with the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 as before, with 500bhp and 770Nm of torque, helping to propel the car to 62mph in 4.1 seconds, and on to a top speed of 155mph. 

Power is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to a permanent four-wheel drive system. There’s also four-wheel steering and a 48v mild-hybrid system with a belt-driven starter motor. The unit supplies two electric motors - both relatively small at 1.5kWh each, but this power goes to the active roll stabilisation to help reduce body roll. Cylinder deactivation also comes as standard on the V8 model, resulting in claimed fuel economy of 22.7mpg.

The SQ8 is available to order from 10 October and comes in Black Edition from £97,245, Launch Edition from £102,745 and Vorsprung from £116,795.

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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