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Audi identifies next-level performance by adding an "S" in front of its alphanumeric model names, and that logic applies to the souped-up 2020 Audi SQ8. It's based on the Audi Q8 and slots under the RS Q8 halo SUV. Compared with the conventional Q8, the S model receives understated exterior upgrades such as additional vents, exclusive grille elements, quad tailpipes, and unique wheels. A twin-turbocharged V-8 provides 500 horsepower and Audi's legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard. If a three-row SUV is more convenient for you, check out the mechanically similar SQ7 model that we review separately.
What's New for 2020?
The SQ8 is an all-new model for Audi for 2020 and is an intermediate step between the base Q8 and the red-hot RS Q8.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The SQ8 comes comprehensively equipped right out of the gate as the Premium Plus model, including all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and all the performance goodies you'd expect of an Audi S model. That doesn't mean it skimps on luxuries, though, as the SQ8 comes standard with leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, LED exterior lighting, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, and a dual-screen infotainment setup.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 will power the SQ8 and it will provide 500 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. The V-8 engine will feed standard Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2019 Audi Q8 we tested proved plenty quick and effectively sporty with "just" 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft, so the SQ8 variant should have enhanced driving characteristics thanks to its extra horsepower and a specially tuned chassis. Audi claims that the SQ8 and the mechanically similar three-row SQ7 will both be capable of a 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph run.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the SQ8 is good for 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. We haven't had the chance to put it through our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test to confirm the government's rating but when we do we'll update this story with results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
As is typical of Audi, the interior of S models simply add more standard features and fancier materials. The latter includes additional black accents and diamond-stitched seats as well as optional carbon-fiber trim and contrast stitching. There's still only room for up to five people, but the spacious back seat and capacious cargo area are useful on road trips. Unfortunately, interior cubby storage is subpar.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every SQ8 is decked out with a dual-touchscreen infotainment system and Audi's Virtual Cockpit reconfigurable digital gauge display. The almost completely digital cabin will appeal to tech-conscious buyers but those who value physical controls for things such as climate control or other vehicle features may be annoyed that these things require interaction with the infotainment system. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard fare.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The SQ8 hasn't completed crash testing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For the record, the Q8 earned a five-star rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick honor from IIHS. A suite of driver-assistance features is available on the SQ8. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi provides the same limited and powertrain warranty as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Audi SQ8
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$107,490 (base price: $89,995)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 in3, 3996 cm3
500 hp @ 5500 rpm
568 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.8-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Hankook Dynapro HP2 Plus, 285/45R-21 113H M+S AO
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 196.6 in
Width: 78.5 in
Height: 67.2 in
Passenger volume: 105 ft3
Cargo volume: 31 ft3
Curb weight: 5469 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.6 sec
100 mph: 9.5 sec
130 mph: 14.4 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.1 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec
1/4 mile: 12.2 sec @ 112 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 129 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 173 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 16 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/15/21 mpg