The Audi Q8 has joined the elite 'S' brigade – meet the SQ8 TDI.
It takes something special to wear the S badge and the new Audi SQ8 TDI is certainly something special.
28 June, 2019
The new Audi SQ8 TDI is driven by a powerhouse biturbo V8 diesel powerplant producing 320kW of power and developing 900Nm of torque
It’s driven by the most powerful diesel engine on the European market. With its biturbo V8 diesel powerplant producing 320kW of power and developing 900Nm of torque 1250 and 3250rpm, the SQ8 TDI wants for nothing in the power and performance stakes.
A large luxury SUV, it nevertheless dispatches the run from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, has an electronically-governed top speed of 250km/h and with roll stabilisation, sport differential and all-wheel steering, handles like a sports car.
The top of the new Q8 range, the SQ8 is also a technological powerhouse, boasting the full complement of driver assist and safety systems as well as state-of-the-art infotainment and connectivity.
The SQ8 TDI is very a vehicle for all seasons. It provides luxury ride and comfort around the city or on long-distance trips. Is just as at home outside a top-end hotel in the city, or by a remote fishing cabins far from the madding crowd. It provides an engaging and rewarding drive to those who appreciate performance and yet leaves its passengers well catered for in terms of luxury appointment and the very latest in infotainment and connectivity.
The SQ8 gives the S treatment to the Q8 design. The octagonal Singleframe is structured by double louvers and surrounded by a large matt silver frame, while the underbody protection features the same colour and makes the front and rear bumpers appear even more voluminous. Muscular and aggressive are two terms that spring to mind, with large air inlets with their clear contours, the S-specific exhaust system and the ‘quattro blisters’ giving the impression of muscles tensed and ready for action. They also serve the very practical purpose of housing massive 21-inch wheels or the exclusive 22-inch wheels which are available as an option. Standard LED headlights that include high-beam assist illuminate also form part of the SQ8’s ‘face’, with HD matrix technology available as an option.
Inside too, the S treatment is immediately apparent with its dark hues and sports seats as standard decorated with S embossing and contrasting stitching. The S-sport seats plus with integrated head restraints and high side bolsters – available with climate control and massage functions as an option – can be fitted upon request. Covers in rotor grey or arras red underline the vehicle’s sporty character. The inlays are made of matt brushed aluminium, with carbon or oak available as alternatives.
Inside too, the S treatment is immediately apparent with its dark hues and sports seats as standard decorated with S embossing and contrasting stitching
The route planning feature can recognise the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys and make intelligent suggestions
Fitted as standard equipment is the Audi virtual cockpit which features S-specific views with red graphical details. The driver can select a performance layout where the central focus is the tachometer, displayed as a square graph, and the performance and torque are shown as percentages. Two large touchscreens with haptic and acoustic feedback function are the main control elements in the cabin, or the driver can use the natural language control feature. To respond to spoken commands, the system accesses information stored in the vehicle as well as the knowledge in the cloud. Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa, which is fully integrated in the MMI operating system, is a new feature.
Data transfer in the SQ8 TDI takes place via the standard LTE Advanced, which is part of the MMI navigation plus along with the Wi-Fi hotspot and the Audi connect services. The route planning feature can recognise the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys and make intelligent suggestions. In Europe, navigation function is enhanced by Car-to-X services such as traffic sign and hazard information, which use the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet as well as the latest service, traffic light information. The car receives data from the traffic light central computer, allowing the driver to choose their speed to match the next green light and when waiting at a red lkight, the Audi virtual cockpit shows the remaining time until the next green.
Delivering the S performance is the biturbo V8 which uses an electric powered compressor (EPC) to supplement the work of the two turbochargers when starting off and when accelerating at a low engine speed. This allows the V8 TDI to build up its power spontaneously for instantaneous response. The EPC draws its drive power from a 48-volt electrical system, which is also the backbone of the mild hybrid system (MHEV). Its belt alternator starter can recuperate during deceleration and feed power to the lithium-ion battery. In real-world customer operation, MHEV technology reduces consumption by up to 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
Add to this the Audi drive select dynamic handling system and the adaptive air suspension sport with regulated damping. The air suspension varies the level position of the body by up to 90 millimetres, allowing the vehicle to be driven on all different types of terrain. Three optional top technologies, including the sport differential, provide additional vehicle dynamics, traction and stability. When the vehicle is cornering at high speed, the sport differential actively distributes drive torque between the rear wheels, adding a self-locking centre differential to the quattro drive. All-wheel steering is also available as an alternative to the standard progressive steering.
The SQ8 TDI also offers electromechanical active roll stabilisation which uses a compact electric motor between the two halves of the stabiliser on each axle. When driving straight ahead, they largely act independently of each other, which reduces sprung mass vibrations on uneven roads. Delve deeper into the vehicle’s performance though and the stabiliser halves work as a unit by being turned in opposite directions. This makes the handling of the SQ8 TDI tighter and significantly reduces its roll angle when cornering.
Of course the SQ8 features an impressive suit of driver assistance and safety systems.The adaptive cruise assist features longitudinal and lateral guidance and incorporates the functions of adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and active lane assist. In conjunction with the efficiency assistant, the system predictively slows down and accelerates the Audi SQ8 TDI on the basis of sensor information, navigation data and road signs. In the city, systems such as the intersection assist, rear cross traffic assist, exit warning and the 360 degree camera add to the extensive portfolio.
Although an exact date for local release is yet to be confirmed, the mighty SQ8 TDI is expected to touch down in Australia in the first half of 2020, with pricing and specification confirmed closer to launch.
Although an exact date for local release is yet to be confirmed, the mighty SQ8 TDI is expected to touch down in Australia in the first half of 2020
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