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Driven: New Audi SQ8, updated SQ7 arrive

Turbo-diesel V8 Audi SQ7 and SQ8 touch down to crown local SUV range

18 May 2020

AUDI Australia has crowned its Q7 large SUV and Q8 upper-large SUV ranges with the arrival of the performance-enhanced SQ7 and SQ8 pair, which arrive in local showrooms this month priced from $161,500 plus on-roads for the SQ7.


The sloped-back SQ8 will ask $165,500, which will serve as the flagship of Audi’s SUV line-up before the arrival of the 441kW RS Q8 later this year, underpinned by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol engine.


That engine is also available in SQ7 and SQ8 TFSI guise where it punches out 373kW/770Nm, however Audi Australia product planning manager Peter Strudwicke said there were no current plans to bring the TFSI V8 Down Under.


“We went out to our dealer network and asked them a number of years ago when the early planning for these cars was around in terms of what we thought the mix would be, and the feedback was for the passenger cars, customers really wanted to focus on that performance, and for the SUVs it was more about torque,” he said.


Audi added that traditionally, diesel engines have been more popular in SUVs, whereas passenger car buyers trend towards petrol.


The Q7 range is currently proliferated exclusively with diesel engines, however product planning manager Matt Dale said Audi Australia is considering offering a petrol option in the non-performance sphere.


“We will never say never,” he said. “We are evaluating the 55 TFSI for the Q7 range, but with such a heavy launch year for 2020 we’re just evaluating where this might fit for our model launch timeline for 2020 or into 2021.”


Competition in the performance large SUV is fierce, with the SQ7 and SQ8 facing a range of formidable rivals including the BMW X5/X6 M50i ($151,900/$155,900), Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic ($159,759), Maserati Levante S ($164,990), Mercedes-AMG GLE53 ($166,700) and Porsche Cayenne S wagon and Coupe ($156,200/$166,200).


The SQ7 and SQ8 are both underpinned by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8 good for 320kW from 3750rpm-4750rpm and 900Nm from 1250-3250rpm, with an electric powered compressor and 48V mild hybrid system on hand to help reduce turbo lag and fuel consumption respectively.


Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V8 drives all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive set-up.


Official combined fuel consumption for the two ranges from 7.6-7.8 litres per 100km, while sprinting from standstill to 100km/h takes 4.8 seconds in both versions.


The SQ7 and SQ8 stand out with a number of standard visual features including 22-inch alloy wheels, red brake callipers, matrix LED headlights with laser light, metallic paint and quad-exit exhaust pipes.


Adaptive air suspension is also standard, to ensure a blend of premium ride comfort and nimble handling.


Audi has aimed to generously specify the large SUV pair, with standard interior kit extending to twin 10.1- and 8.6-inch MMI haptic touchscreens, the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, wireless charging and Apple CarPlay, Audi connect plus, DAB+ digital radio, 558W 19-speaker Bose audio system, four-zone climate control, Valcona leather upholstery, heated front S sports seats, multifunction sports steering wheel, brushed matte aluminium inlays, ambient interior lighting, panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate and privacy glass.


The SQ7 is also sold with a seven-seat layout, providing V8 performance for the whole family.


On the safety front, the SUV flagships come standard with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane change warning, rear cross-traffic assist, intervention assist, hill descent control surround-view monitor and front and rear parking sensors.


Option packs include the $10,900 Dynamic package, which adds the quattro sport differential and active roll stabilisation.


Through the first four months of the year, Audi has sold 597 combined examples of the Q7 and Q8, well up on the 242 managed to the same point last year thanks mainly to the resupply of the Q7, with Audi’s WLTP woes largely in the past.


2020 Audi Q7 pricing*

45 TDI (a) $101,900
50 TDI (a) $112,900
50 TDI S-Line (a) $119,900
SQ7 (a) $161,500

2020 Audi Q8 pricing*

50 TDI (a) $129,900
55 TFSI (a) $129,900
SQ8 (a) $165,500

*Excludes on-road costs

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