2020 Audi SQ8 review: Leather-lined linebacker

Not each individual go-speedy SUV desires to be the shoutiest point on the planet.

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At times, you do not need to have all the ability in the environment to make a terrific auto. Though the eyes of most speedy-SUV followers may possibly be on the sizzling-to-trot Audi RS Q8, do not slumber on the center-youngster SQ8. With a entire bunch of thrust and all the issues that make the standard Q8 terrific, the 2020 Audi SQ8 tends to make a persuasive scenario in the significant luxury SUV phase.


  • Twin-turbo performance punch
  • Smooth air suspension
  • Excellent cabin tech

Really don’t Like

  • A little thirsty
  • Iffy 48-volt end-commence
  • Amazing issues price tag revenue

Not a great deal of a showoff

The Q8 isn’t really a great deal of a peacock — sure, there is certainly a remarkable rear conclude and a entire great deal of creases front and rear, but the all round visual effects of this significant SUV is rather below the radar. My Status-trim tester rocks 21-inch alloy wheels and has silver trim all over the grille and on the mirror caps, neither of which deliver a weighty punch. The most clear signs that there is certainly something more nefarious occurring below the hood appear from the rear, where there is certainly a sufficiently significant SQ8 badge and a honkin’ established of oval tailpipes. If you want to hustle with no letting the entire universe know, this is the way to go.

Though the exterior may possibly not be the flashiest, the SQ8’s interior carries a entire great deal o’ theater. A flat leather-based panel rests atop a entire bunch of seamless large-gloss substance, which tends to make for a high quality look in mixture with its “seamless” vents and silver trim. Piano black isn’t my favourite substance from a smudge-avoidance standpoint, but hoo boy, it appears to be like correctly posh. I’d almost certainly skip the $500 carbon fiber inlays if it were my auto, but they do incorporate an extra sprint of sporting pretension. I wouldn’t opt for dim purple leather-based, possibly, but there is certainly no denying that the quilted stitching on the S-unique sport seats is top rated-notch, generating the front buckets look as comfy as they really feel.

Irrespective of the abridged roofline, the Q8 will not carry quite a few of the sacrifices anticipated in coupe-ier SUVs. Every way provides correct visibility by means of the home windows, even rearward, where the back glass fills the rearview mirror. Headroom is sufficient adequate for my 6-foot frame to never ever feel cramped on the rear bench.

Storage is a bit of a combined bag. Open up the trunk and you are going to be pleasantly amazed with thirty.5 cubic toes of house, a determine that places the SQ8 at the top rated of its phase. The doorway pockets are sufficiently capacious, far too, but the cumbersome centre console provides no driving-screen storage, and the cubby below the armrest is only big adequate for a cell phone and a keyring or two.

Won’t be able to go wrong with a V8

The standard Q8’s 3.-liter V6 is all properly and good, but when it comes to a sport-ahead significant SUV, Audi saw match to toss yet another few 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 ability heads by means of the car’s 4 tailpipes, developing a satisfying-but-not-irritating burble of bass both equally within and exterior. It is a good sound, but the powertrain by itself is even sweeter, with torque accessible at practically each individual chance and each individual throttle posture. If the SQ8 does need to have a distinct gear, though, the 8-speed automated transmission will obtain it quickly and smoothly. You will find loads of ability on faucet, but it never ever overwhelms.

In point, smoothness is the title of the game for the total SQ8 driving knowledge. The S-unique adaptive air suspension irons out practically each individual kink in the street, so keeping the auto in its default Comfort and ease manner leaves me with a journey which is as easy as any other significant luxury auto out there. If you deign to toss the SQ8 into a corner, just faucet the manner switch about to Dynamic, where the dampers concentrate on reducing human body roll to give this big boy some shocking agility, which is further more enhanced in my tester by the $5,900 Sport Bundle that adds energetic roll bars, a sport rear differential and purple brake calipers. It is lots exciting that way, but truthfully, my favourite set up retains the suspension in Comfort and ease for a good blend of hustle and chill. It is like Terry Crews in a fit — everything’s fancy and sedate, but you’re keenly mindful that there is certainly a wall of muscle mass hiding beneath.

You will find a V8 tucked below all this plastic, I assure.

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The only true irritating part of the SQ8 knowledge comes from its end-commence system. This getup is eager to slice the motor a little far too early when halting, so when I go for the extremely-easy end, there is certainly a bit of a lurch as almost everything cuts out. If I elevate the brake pedal far too significantly in pursuit of a dip-absolutely free end, the motor kicks back on with still yet another stumble. If the V8 would consider an extra half a 2nd to flip off, this wouldn’t be a trouble, but which is not heading to materialize, because an extended end-commence window is an intentional byproduct of the onboard 48-volt electrical system.

The SQ8’s gasoline economic climate also lacks chill, but I feel which is anticipated in a V8-toting athletics SUV. The EPA fees this man at a paltry 15 miles for each gallon city and 21 mpg highway. Though my city figures are… demonstrably even worse than that (almost certainly because I adore torquey commences), I am at least ready to match the highway figures with little situation — right until, once more, I remember how a great deal exciting it is to speed up.

Heaps of tech, all of it good

Audi’s MMI Touch Reaction system is good — so good, in point, that when it debuted it received our Roadshow Change Award for Cabin Tech of the Year. It remains 1 of the ideal units on the current market just after a complete product year, tot. The entire shebang boots up quickly, even just after a night spent chilling on the driveway. The reaction time is speedy, and when handwriting recognition can be utilised, Audi’s tech picks up my dreadful finger swipes beautifully.

The ten.1-inch screen in the centre of the dashboard handles all the common infotainment bits, and its developed-in haptic responses tends to make it a lot easier to strike the proper button with little distraction. The eight.6-incher beneath is mostly for the climate control system, and it, far too, is lots responsive and uncomplicated to commit to muscle mass memory. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make it a lot easier to use my cell phone in the auto in the occasion my dumb mind forgets a wire. Though I’d like to see USB-C ports in listed here, I am pleased with the USB-A ports that populate both equally rows of seats. Virtual Cockpit is standard, far too, with its twelve.3-inch gauge screen displaying practically each individual bit of info I can inquire for on the common generate with simple manipulation by means of the steering wheel controls.

A few screens may possibly feel a bit daunting at 1st, but each has unique responsibilities and all are uncomplicated to get utilised to.

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My Status-trim SQ8 comes standard with virtually each individual safety system, even though all Q8s appear from the factory with automated unexpected emergency braking, automated windshield wipers and automated headlights. The adaptive cruise control is mighty easy, with no important braking or acceleration events creating undesirable head bobs. Lateral motion is properly below control, far too, with the lane-keeping guide providing a gossamer touch on the wheel to keep the SQ8 centered in its lane. The head-up display screen isn’t definitely important in my belief, 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 highly-priced proposition, setting up at $89,995 including desired destination. I’ll adhere with my tester’s Status trim, which commences at $95,495, throwing a $595 Galaxy Blue paint occupation into the blend because the only absolutely free solutions are black and white (yawn). A black leather-based interior is free of charge, as is the large-gloss gray oak trim. I’ll also plunk down $1,750 to take out all situations of shiny metal from the exterior, as properly as $4,000 to incorporate more leather-based within and massaging front seats. That leaves me with an out-the-doorway selling price of $106,840, which slides just below my tester’s $107,490 window sticker.

Down to brass tacks

Most likely remarkably, there is certainly a decent current market for souped-up luxury SUVs with 6-determine selling price tags. The BMW X6 M50i provides a great deal of oomph, but its aesthetics are… an obtained flavor, and I do not believe its interior is as properly laid out as the Audi’s. The Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe’s gentle hybrid system provides an precise output improve, compared with the SQ8, but once more, you have to look at the point. Those people wanting for a more driver-ahead knowledge will want to flip their notice to the Porsche Cayenne GTS, which you can luckily get in non-coupe variety (even though there is certainly a Cayenne GTS Coupe on offer, far too).

Of all those alternatives, however, none provides the two distinct activities that the 2020 Audi SQ8 does. It is as great as a cucumber most of the time, performing like a auto developed for chauffeurs. Strike a several buttons (or, truthfully, just depress the accelerator significantly adequate) and issues consider on a entire new existence of brisk acceleration and deft dealing with. It is the ideal form of two-for-1 deal.