July 17, 2024

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2020 Audi SQ8 review: Leather-lined linebacker

Not every single go-speedy SUV demands to be the shoutiest detail on the world.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Often, you you should not require all the electrical power in the earth to make a good automobile. Although the eyes of most speedy-SUV admirers may be on the hot-to-trot Audi RS Q8, you should not sleep on the center-boy or girl SQ8. With a total bunch of thrust and all the items that make the normal Q8 good, the 2020 Audi SQ8 helps make a powerful circumstance in the large luxury SUV segment.

Will not Like

  • A very little thirsty
  • Iffy 48-volt cease-commence
  • Amazing items charge income

Not substantially of a showoff

The Q8 is not in fact substantially of a peacock — positive, there is a spectacular rear finish and a total ton of creases front and rear, but the general visual effects of this large SUV is pretty under the radar. My Status-trim tester rocks 21-inch alloy wheels and has silver trim all-around the grille and on the mirror caps, neither of which produce a major punch. The most obvious indications that there is anything more nefarious taking place under the hood appear from the rear, where there is a adequately large SQ8 badge and a honkin’ set of oval tailpipes. If you want to hustle without permitting the total universe know, this is the way to go.

Although the outside the house may well not be the flashiest, the SQ8’s interior carries a total ton o’ theater. A flat leather-based panel rests atop a total bunch of seamless large-gloss product, which helps make for a top quality glance in blend with its “seamless” vents and silver trim. Piano black is not my favorite product from a smudge-prevention standpoint, but hoo boy, it seems correctly posh. I’d likely skip the $500 carbon fiber inlays if it had been my automobile, but they do add an additional dash of sporting pretension. I wouldn’t choose for darkish red leather-based, both, but there is no denying that the quilted stitching on the S-unique sport seats is leading-notch, building the front buckets glance as relaxed as they in fact experience.

Despite the abridged roofline, the Q8 isn’t going to carry several of the sacrifices envisioned in coupe-ier SUVs. Each and every route offers appropriate visibility via the windows, even rearward, where the back glass fills the rearview mirror. Headroom is enough sufficient for my 6-foot frame to never experience cramped on the rear bench.

Storage is a little bit of a mixed bag. Open up the trunk and you can expect to be pleasantly amazed with thirty.five cubic toes of house, a determine that places the SQ8 at the leading of its segment. The door pockets are adequately capacious, way too, but the bulky centre console offers no driving-display screen storage, and the cubby under the armrest is only significant sufficient for a telephone and a keyring or two.

Are not able to go wrong with a V8

The normal Q8’s three.-liter V6 is all perfectly and superior, but when it arrives to a sport-forward large SUV, Audi noticed healthy to toss a different couple cylinders into the blend. The SQ8’s 4.-liter twin-turbocharged V8 places out 500 horsepower and 568 pound-toes of torque, and all that sweet electrical power heads via the car’s four tailpipes, producing a satisfying-but-not-irritating burble of bass the two inside and outside the house. It can be a superior sounds, but the powertrain itself is even sweeter, with torque offered at almost every single possibility and every single throttle posture. If the SQ8 does require a distinctive equipment, though, the 8-speed automated transmission will locate it quickly and effortlessly. There is hundreds of electrical power on faucet, but it never overwhelms.

In truth, smoothness is the name of the video game for the total SQ8 driving working experience. The S-unique adaptive air suspension irons out almost every single kink in the highway, so maintaining the automobile in its default Comfort and ease mode leaves me with a ride that is as clean as any other large luxury automobile out there. If you deign to toss the SQ8 into a corner, just faucet the mode swap about to Dynamic, where the dampers aim on eradicating body roll to give this significant boy some shocking agility, which is even further improved in my tester by the $five,900 Sport Offer that adds active roll bars, a sport rear differential and red brake calipers. It can be a great deal exciting that way, but honestly, my favorite set up retains the suspension in Comfort and ease for a superior blend of hustle and chill. It can be like Terry Crews in a match — everything’s extravagant and sedate, but you might be keenly conscious that there is a wall of muscle hiding beneath.

There is a V8 tucked under all this plastic, I assure.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The only serious irritating element of the SQ8 working experience arrives from its cease-commence method. This getup is eager to slash the engine a very little way too early while halting, so when I go for the ultra-clean cease, there is a little bit of a lurch as everything cuts out. If I carry the brake pedal way too much in pursuit of a dip-cost-free cease, the engine kicks back on with but a different stumble. If the V8 would just take an additional 50 percent a next to change off, this wouldn’t be a difficulty, but that is not heading to transpire, for the reason that an prolonged cease-commence window is an intentional byproduct of the onboard 48-volt electrical method.

The SQ8’s fuel financial system also lacks chill, but I experience that is envisioned in a V8-toting sporting activities SUV. The EPA costs this guy at a paltry 15 miles for every gallon metropolis and 21 mpg highway. Although my metropolis figures are… demonstrably worse than that (likely for the reason that I love torquey starts), I am at minimum ready to match the highway figures with very little difficulty — until eventually, once again, I don’t forget how substantially exciting it is to speed up.

Tons of tech, all of it superior

Audi’s MMI Touch Response method is superior — so superior, in truth, that when it debuted it gained our Roadshow Shift Award for Cabin Tech of the Year. It continues to be a single of the very best devices on the market following a full product yr, tot. The total shebang boots up quickly, even following a night time used chilling on the driveway. The reaction time is speedy, and when handwriting recognition can be utilised, Audi’s tech picks up my terrible finger swipes perfectly.

The ten.one-inch display screen in the centre of the dashboard covers all the regular infotainment bits, and its created-in haptic feed-back helps make it less difficult to strike the correct button with very little distraction. The 8.6-incher beneath is generally for the local weather command method, and it, way too, is a great deal responsive and quick to commit to muscle memory. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile make it less difficult to use my telephone in the automobile in the occasion my dumb brain forgets a twine. Although I’d like to see USB-C ports in listed here, I am happy with the USB-A ports that populate the two rows of seats. Virtual Cockpit is normal, way too, with its twelve.three-inch gauge display screen exhibiting almost every single little bit of details I can talk to for on the regular drive with straightforward manipulation via the steering wheel controls.

A few screens may experience a little bit daunting at initial, but just about every has unique responsibilities and all are quick to get utilised to.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

My Status-trim SQ8 arrives normal with nearly every single safety method, while all Q8s appear from the factory with automated unexpected emergency braking, automated windshield wipers and automated headlights. The adaptive cruise command is mighty clean, with no important braking or acceleration activities resulting in unwelcome head bobs. Lateral movement is perfectly under command, way too, with the lane-maintaining support supplying a gossamer contact on the wheel to continue to keep the SQ8 centered in its lane. The head-up exhibit is not definitely necessary in my opinion, but it can display the speed restrict, which is about all I’d want it to do, in any case.

How I’d spec it

The 2020 SQ8 is an high priced proposition, starting off at $89,995 including place. I am going to stick with my tester’s Status trim, which starts at $ninety five,495, throwing a $595 Galaxy Blue paint career into the blend for the reason that the only cost-free selections are black and white (yawn). A black leather-based interior is gratis, as is the large-gloss grey oak trim. I am going to also plunk down $one,750 to take away all scenarios of shiny metal from the exterior, as perfectly as $4,000 to add more leather-based inside and massaging front seats. That leaves me with an out-the-door rate of $106,840, which slides just under my tester’s $107,490 window sticker.

Down to brass tacks

Most likely remarkably, there is a good market for souped-up luxury SUVs with 6-determine rate tags. The BMW X6 M50i offers a ton of oomph, but its aesthetics are… an acquired style, and I you should not think its interior is as perfectly laid out as the Audi’s. The Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe’s gentle hybrid method offers an genuine output strengthen, not like the SQ8, but once again, you have to glance at the detail. Those people hunting for a more driver-forward working experience will want to change their awareness to the Porsche Cayenne GTS, which you can fortunately get in non-coupe kind (while there is a Cayenne GTS Coupe on offer, way too).

Of all individuals options, nevertheless, none provides the two distinct experiences that the 2020 Audi SQ8 does. It can be as cool as a cucumber most of the time, performing like a automobile created for chauffeurs. Strike a couple of buttons (or, honestly, just depress the accelerator much sufficient) and items just take on a total new life of brisk acceleration and deft handling. It can be the very best type of two-for-a single offer.