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2020 Audi SQ8 unveiled


Audi SQ8 performance SUV

Audi lifts the veil on its 2020 flagship performance SUV, coming to Aussie dealers next year.

SUVs sales continue to make up the majority of new car orders and Audi is aiming to build-out its own line-up of SUVs with a performance orientated SQ8 model.

Audi SQ8 performance

This is the SQ8's engine, the same one used in the Audi SQ7.

This is the SQ8's engine, the same one used in the Audi SQ7. Image: Supplied

Audi's Sport division has given the Q8 SUV the same treatment it carries out on the Q7 to transform it into the SQ7. In fact, the two cars will ride on similar chassis adaptations and use the same power-plant. The engine is an absolute pearler, generating 320kW of power and a brutish 900Nm of torque. To forge these mad numbers, Audi is using a 4.0-litre diesel V8, that is force-fed air by two turbochargers nestled into the toasty voids of the vee configuration engine block. The turbos work together to fill in gaps where turbo lag could show its ugly head. The result is peak torque available to the driver from 1,250 to 3,250rpm. Audi also supplements the turbos with a 48V electric-powered compressor, further honing response time and assisting with low-down take-off. The company states that "sporty drivers will appreciate the power for passing and immediate power delivery when exiting a curve".

This beast of an engine translates to a rapid 4.8-seconds blast from 0-100km/h, pretty impressive considering this is still an SUV. Engineers electronically restrict the SQ8 to 250km/h.

Audi Sport technology upgrades

Having so much power and torque under your right foot in an SUV this size wouldn't be much fun if you couldn't rein it in while cornering. Audi realised this and elected to install a sports air-suspension set-up. This system can raise or lower the car a total of 90mm, giving better clearance for traversing rough tracks or hunkering the car down at higher speeds.

Further helping to make the SUV handle like a smaller vehicle is an electromechanical active-roll stabilisation system. Audi's design features an actuator that allows each wheel's damper to work independently as needed. Audi notes this improves ride comfort and vibrations generated by uneven road surfaces. In sports mode, it is able to exert force onto the roll bar ends, delivering sharper handling and a firmer ride. According to Audi, the effect is substantial.

Audi SQ8 exterior enhancements

Differentiating the SQ8 from its more sedate Q8 SUV sibling, are some model-specific sport body panels. It'll wear an appropriate silver "S" grille, have different front and rear bumpers, extra air dams and roll on jumbo 21-inch multi-spoke alloys. LED headlights will also be a standard fitment. At the rear, there are quad tailpipe tips, giving evidence of a sports exhaust that'll hopefully emit a throaty, roaring chorus.

Audi SQ8 interior features

With multiple digital displays replacing control knobs and dials, the SQ8 has an ultra modern sci-fi aesthetic.

With multiple digital displays replacing control knobs and dials, the SQ8 has an ultra-modern sci-fi aesthetic. Image: Supplied

Sitting inside the SQ8's cabin, passengers can expect to be cosseted by "S" embossed seats, upholstered in either grey or red leather. Contrast stitching again points to a more sporty intent. Complimenting the interior's dark colour scheme are brushed aluminium inlays (though carbon fibre or oak trim pieces are optionally available).

The driver can operate the SQ8 through steering wheel mounted controls and a massive 12.3-inch screen virtual cockpit with a similar display employed in other Audi models, like the RS5.

Hands-free operation is possible thanks to the inclusion of Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. To compete with rivals in the premium segment, there will be an LTE antenna onboard, giving occupants access to Wi-Fi. Of course, the SQ8 will feature the latest smart driving assists from lane keeping assist to adaptive cruise control.

When's it on sale here?

You can expect the SQ8 to arrive on our shores in the first half of next year. There's no definite or official pricing information published yet, but some outlets suggest Audi will undercut rivals like Porsche and Range Rover by a significant amount.

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Images: Supplied

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