If diesel torque quickens your pulse rate then the latest SQ7 and SQ8 from Audi should be sold with a coronary warning.
Audi South Africa has introduced the SQ7 and SQ8 with a high-performance V8 diesel engine, however, the numbers are limited. It may seem bonkers to turn a large SUV into an S model, and then make it diesel-powered but it’s not, it’s perfection and the best of all worlds.
Both the SQ7 and SQ8 are powered by the 4.0-litre V8 TDI engine producing 310 kW and 900 Nm of torque, this is Audi’s most powerful engine on offer.
Sprint times are 0 – 100 km in 4.8 seconds, before the scoffing ensues an S3 sedan that is far lighter and with somewhat more dynamic dimensions can only accomplish this in 4.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h on both models.
All 310 kW are delivered to the tarmac through the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive, via an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The mechanical center-diff splits power 40:60 to the front and rear in everyday working, this can increase to 70% to the front and 85% to the rear as and when the SQ7 or SQ8 would need it.
These behemoth sport SUVs are surprisingly frugal, all those LMP1 race wins were in our favour. Audi’s claimed fuel consumption figures for the SQ7 TDI are 8.7 l/100 km for the combined cycle, and 8.3 l/100km for the SQ8. CO2 is 228 gm/km for the SQ7, and 217 gm/km for the SQ8.
The SQ7 and SQ8 both have 400 mm disc brakes on the front complete with red callipers and the S logo, and 350 mm discs on the rear.
The SQ7 and SQ8’s adaptive air suspension features integrated controlled dampers, allowing an adjustment of up to 90mm. Both are sold with 19-inch Audi Sport wheels, though optional upgrades will take the SQ7 to 22-inch alloys, and the SQ8 to 23-inch rims. While the optional wheel upgrade may offer a larger contact patch with the road, we’re not convinced that it’ll improve the ride quality.
Audi’s drive select offers seven driving profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, offroad, and individual.
The optional all-wheel steering improves agility and manoeuvrability for the SQ7 and SQ8. A spindle drive for the rear wheels turns them by up to 5-degrees in the opposite direction at low speed, which makes it easier to manoeuvre in smaller spaces. From 60 km/h the system will turn the wheel in the same direction as the front for improved stability, particularly when manoeuvring at higher speeds.
There’s no denying that the SQ7 and SQ8 are head-turners, there’s something about a large, aggressive performance SUV that gets a second look. The front features double slats in the Singleframe grille and a distinctly three-dimensional blade in the bumper, while the side air inlets are filled with a honeycomb grid. The rear has the pre-requisite S-model double sets of double pipes. Option in the black styling package and details including roof rails, trim strips on side windows, mirrors, and front and rear bumper is finished in black. Go further and to the extended black styling package and the Audi rings and model name get the black treatment.
Inside there’s not shortness of premium finishes and detailing, the sport seats are covered in Valcona leather, there’s S embossing on the backrest, and colour coordinated stitching.
TECHNOLOGY ON DEMAND
The Audi SQ7 and Audi SQ8 are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The MMI touch response control system integrates two large displays in the center of the instrument panel, responding with haptic and acoustic feedback to all finger input. The user can configure the interface of the upper display such that they can follow multiple apps at the same time.
The standard Audi virtual cockpit plus with S-specific views is controlled via the multifunction steering wheel and serves as the standard display instrument. The driver can activate different screens, including the “S-Performance” look. It shifts the focus to the rev counter and displays the power output and torque as percentages. Head-up display is available as an optional extra.
The Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 3D sound is available and integrates an amplifier that outputs 1,920 watts and actuates up to 23 speakers.
The HD Matrix LED headlights with dynamic light design are standard on the Audi SQ8 and top-of-the-line technology. In the SQ7, Matrix LED headlights with dynamic turn signals are standard.
AUDI SQ7 and SQ8 PRICING
The SQ7 and SQ8 TDI are officially available for sale in South Africa in limited numbers as part of a once-off launch opportunity. The models are priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and has a standard five-year Audi Freeway Plan:
Audi SQ7 TDI quattro R 1,679,500
Audi SQ8 TDI quattro R1,848,500
Images: Audi South Africa