Audi’s SUV range has a new king.
When Audi hit the scene with the Q8 in June of last year, it was all but confirmed that high-horsepower variants, the type of cars preferred by luxury customers who’d buy the Q8 in the first place, would come soon after. Educated guesses aside, the evidence quickly began to mount. First, there were the spy shots, and then came the unofficial confirmations.
And now, a little more than a year after the Q8 first hit the reveal stage, Audi has taken the time to unveil the SQ8 for Europe. Unlike the version we’ll likely get in the US, a variant that still remains under wraps, Audi’s hottest Q8 (at least until the RS Q8 is out) comes with the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 diesel engine we were expecting, which is then mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine comes boosted with a 48-volt mild hybrid system and packs an intimidating 429 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque.
It's capable of sending the 7-seat SUV to 62 mph from standstill in 4.8 seconds with help from its quattro all-wheel-drive system before the vehicle tops out at 155 mph. And true to Audi’s ethos, the power plant is plenty complex. It has the ability to turn off one of its two turbochargers to save fuel at low speeds and utilizes its mild hybrid tech to send 11 horsepower to the wheels, allowing the SQ8 to coast between 34 and 100 mph for up to 40 seconds without the engine being active.
Enabling the SQ8 to tackle winding mountain roads are electromechanical roll stabilizers and an optional suspension system that adds a sport differential to the rear axle. Even without it, the SQ8 gets an adaptive air suspension that can adjust the Audi’s ride height by 3.5 inches as standard. Speaking of inches, the SQ8’s wheels pack plenty of them, with 21-inch wheels coming standard and 22-inchers being available. Also available are carbon-ceramic brakes and a four-wheel steering system for tighter low-speed cornering and increased stability at high speeds.
Visual upgrades are aplenty, with a new S-grille, an upgraded front fascia with additional air intakes, LED lights, a matte black rear diffuser, and quad exhaust pipes being added to the SQ8. The interior gets classic Audi S-trim styling, including diamond-stitched leather seats with the S logo printed on them, Alcantara trim, and aluminum pedals.
Audi hasn’t yet announced which engine will make it to the US market's SQ8 (we should definitely be getting one), but we'll probably find out soon, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the automaker use the Volkswagen Group’s 3.0-liter turbocharged TFSI V6 that makes 444 horsepower. For now, expect to see the SQ8 provided your next Euro trip takes place in the coming months, with buyers spending no less than £80,815 pounds ($102,974) in the UK for the privilege of owning one.