New Audi SQ8 TDI launched with 429bhp

The new performance-focused Audi SQ8 SUV has arrived, and it features a 4.0-litre biturbo V8 diesel engine with 429bhp and 900Nm of torque

Audi has launched a new, performance-focused version of its flagship coupe-SUV: the SQ8. Due to arrive in European dealerships later this summer, the German brand’s latest sporty off-roader comes with a new mild-hybrid diesel powertrain, a range of chassis revisions and a host of styling and technology upgrades.

The new Audi SQ8 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 mild-hybrid diesel, producing 429bhp and 900Nm of torque. Performance is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system; Audi says the SQ8 will hit 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and go on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.

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The engine’s turbochargers are situated within the “V” of the block, which Audi claims creates better engine response. To further limit the effects of turbo lag, the SQ8’s engine features sequential turbocharging, with only a small charger active at low engine speeds and a larger charger engaging above 2,200rpm.

An electric-powered compressor assists the turbochargers when starting off and accelerating from lower speeds, compensating for the turbo’s lack of boost at low revs by adding extra pressure to the intake. Audi claims the system smooths out power delivery. 

The compressor is fed by the same 48V lithium-ion battery pack which underpins the SQ8’s mild-hybrid system. Comprising a belt-driven alternator starter and an energy recuperation system, it can power the flagship coupe-SUV at speeds up to 14mph and recover up to 8kW of energy under deceleration.

As standard, the SQ8 comes with adaptive air suspension and Audi’s Drive Select dynamic handling system. Audi’s advanced suspension package is available as an optional extra, adding four-wheel steering, a sport differential and the German brand’s latest electromechanical active anti-roll bars. 

Styling revisions over the standard Q8 include 21-inch alloy wheels, a more aggressive bodykit and a new rear diffuser with oval exhaust tips. Larger 22-inch alloys, HD Matrix LED headlights, red brake calipers and carbon-ceramic brakes are also available as optional extras.

Inside, the SQ8 features a pair of leather and Alcantara-trimmed sports seats, stainless steel pedals and a digital instrument cluster. Voice control, a WiFi hotspot and support for Amazon Alexa, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are all included as standard, while a pair of centre-mounted screens control the SQ8’s infotainment, heating and air conditioning systems.

The SQ8 gets a host of safety technology, including adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, active lane assist and a 360-degree camera. Audi’s manoeuvring assist claims to help mitigate low-speed parking collisions by applying small steering and braking corrections, while Audi’s kerb warning helps prevent damage to the SQ8’s alloys.

Audi has yet to confirm a price list for the new SQ8 but, when it reaches UK shores this September, it should cost from around £85,000.

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