After a string of diesel surprises that included oil-burning versions of the S4 and S6, Audi’s latest TDI S car is less of a shock. It’s called the SQ8, and it shares its derv V8 with the SQ7.
The 4.0-litre unit has a pair of conventional turbochargers neatly nestling between the cylinder banks, shortening the required pipework to reduce weight and spool-up times. They’re supported by an electric compressor – sitting just downstream of the intercooler – which supplies lag-free boost at lower engine speeds.
The compressor is powered by a 48-volt mild hybrid system, which extends the stop/start system to reduce consumption and emissions. It also sends juice to the clever active anti-roll bars, which we found to be hugely effective when we reviewed the SQ7 a few years ago.
Pin the throttle from a standstill, and 62mph will arrive in 4.8 seconds – exactly the same as the SQ7, and a tenth faster than the similarly configured V8 VW Touareg.
Air suspension is fitted as standard, although the clever anti-roll bars are part of an optional package which also includes all-wheel steering and a sportier differential. Also on the options menu is a set of 22-inch alloy wheels, but with the standard spec including 21s, it won’t be crying out for the bigger rims.
Inside, you’ll find part leather/part Alcantara seats, the same twin-screen infotainment setup as the regular Q8, and the usual Android Auto/Apple Car Play mobile phone connectivity. It’ll be loaded with assistance systems too, including a ‘kerb warning’ to stop you grinding those fancy 22s into oblivion.
The SQ8 will land in the UK this Autumn. There’s no word on pricing just yet, but with the ‘50 TDI’ Q8 setting you back £62,815 and the SQ7 costing £70,835, we wouldn’t be surprised if the SQ8 will have a five-figure price tag starting with an ‘8’.
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