Audi's new high-performance mid-size utility isn't as expensive as you might have guessed.
In case you missed it, Audi is bringing a new high-performance super-crossover to the US market this spring: the Audi SQ8. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 petrol engine, the SQ8 puts out 500 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque, enabling 0-to-60 acceleration in around 4.3 seconds.
Now, we at last know how much all that performance is going to cost, and as one might have expected, the SQ8 represents a significant step up from the more ordinary flavors of the Q8. In Premium Plus guise, the 2020 Audi SQ8 will start at $89,000 in the US market, before tax, title, and other fees, with the Premium model starting $5,500 higher at $94,500. Still, not bad, considering it's so closely related to the Lamborghini Urus.
That's a hefty chunk of change, but it's worth noting that the SQ8's 4.0L V8 is a detuned version of the very same motor as in the Audi RS Q8 - a vehicle we expect to cost some $120,000 in the US. It's also an unsurprising ask for the high-performance version of a premium German crossover that starts at nearly $70k. Twin-turbo V8s don't come cheap.
And it's not just the powerplant that changes between the base Q8 and the all-new Audi SQ8. Four-wheel steering comes standard, minimizing the turning circle at low speeds and enhancing stability at speed, and the standard seats are sumptuous, perforated heated and ventilated Valcona leather S sport seats with a fetching diamond-stitch pattern.
Plenty more premium goodies, such as four-zone automatic climate-control, a panoramic sunroof, and an interior lighting package are also fitted as standard. Sadly, though, if you want Audi's trick Quattro sport differential, which actively splits torque between the rear wheels for better cornering agility, you'll have to shell out extra for an optional SQ8 Sport Package. That package also includes Active Roll Stabilization, which uses the vehicle's 48-volt electrical system to keep itself flatter under cornering.
In short, the Audi SQ8 is a powerful, practical, well-appointed high-tech rocketship, and at $89,000 to start, it's still thousands less expensive than the BMW X7 M50i, perhaps even making it a good buy - assuming you have the means.