2020 Audi SQ8 review: Leather-lined linebacker

    Not each go-fast SUV must be the shoutiest factor on the planet.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    Sometimes, you do not want all the ability on this planet to make an ideal automobile. While the eyes of most fast-SUV followers is likely to be on the hot-to-trot Audi RS Q8, do not sleep on the middle-child SQ8. With an entire bunch of thrust and all of the issues that make the usual Q8 nice, the 2020 Audi SQ8 makes a compelling case within the massive luxurious SUV section.

    LikeTwin-turbo efficiency punchSmooth air suspensionGreat cabin tech

    Don’t LikeA little thirstyIffy 48-volt stop-startCool issues price cash

    Not a lot of a showoffThe Q8 is not truly a lot of a peacock — certain, there is a dramatic rear finish and an entire lot of creases entrance and rear, however the total visible impression of this huge SUV is fairly underneath the radar. My Prestige-trim tester rocks 21-inch alloy wheels and has silver trim across the grille and on the mirror caps, neither of which ship a heavy punch. The most evident indicators that there is one thing extra nefarious occurring underneath the hood come from the rear, the place there is a sufficiently massive SQ8 badge and a honkin’ set of oval tailpipes. If you need to hustle with out letting the entire universe know, that is the way in which to go.While the surface might not be the flashiest, the SQ8’s inside carries an entire lot o’ theater. A flat leather-based panel rests atop an entire bunch of seamless high-gloss materials, which makes for a premium look together with its “seamless” vents and silver trim. Piano black is not my favourite materials from a smudge-prevention standpoint, however hoo boy, it appears correctly posh. I’d in all probability skip the $500 carbon fiber inlays if it have been my automobile, however they do add an additional sprint of sporting pretension. I would not go for darkish pink leather-based, both, however there is no denying that the quilted stitching on the S-specific sport seats is top-notch, making the entrance buckets look as comfy as they really really feel.

    Despite the abridged roofline, the Q8 would not carry most of the sacrifices anticipated in coupe-ier SUVs. Each course gives applicable visibility by the home windows, even rearward, the place the again glass fills the rearview mirror. Headroom is ample sufficient for my six-foot body to by no means really feel cramped on the rear bench.Storage is a little bit of a blended bag. Open the trunk and you will be pleasantly shocked with 30.5 cubic toes of house, a determine that places the SQ8 on the high of its section. The door pockets are sufficiently capacious, too, however the cumbersome middle console gives no behind-screen storage, and the cubby underneath the armrest is barely sufficiently big for a telephone and a keyring or two.

    Can’t go unsuitable with a V8The commonplace Q8’s 3.0-liter V6 is all nicely and good, however with regards to a sport-forward massive SUV, Audi noticed match to throw one other couple cylinders into the combination. The SQ8’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 places out 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, and all that candy energy heads by the automobile’s 4 tailpipes, making a pleasing-but-not-annoying burble of bass each inside and out of doors. It’s a superb noise, however the powertrain itself is even sweeter, with torque out there at practically each alternative and each throttle place. If the SQ8 does want a special gear, although, the eight-speed computerized transmission will discover it rapidly and easily. There’s a great deal of energy on faucet, however it by no means overwhelms.

    In reality, smoothness is the secret for the whole SQ8 driving expertise. The S-specific adaptive air suspension irons out practically each kink within the street, so holding the automobile in its default Comfort mode leaves me with a journey that is as {smooth} as another massive luxurious automobile on the market. If you deign to throw the SQ8 right into a nook, simply faucet the mode change over to Dynamic, the place the dampers concentrate on eliminating physique roll to present this large boy some shocking agility, which is additional enhanced in my tester by the $5,900 Sport Package that provides lively roll bars, a sport rear differential and pink brake calipers. It’s loads enjoyable that method, however truthfully, my favourite setup retains the suspension in Comfort for a superb mixture of hustle and chill. It’s like Terry Crews in a go well with — all the pieces’s fancy and sedate, however you are keenly conscious that there is a wall of muscle hiding beneath.There’s a V8 tucked underneath all this plastic, I promise.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    The solely actual annoying a part of the SQ8 expertise comes from its stop-start system. This getup is eager to chop the engine just a little too early whereas stopping, so once I go for the ultra-smooth cease, there is a little bit of a lurch as all the pieces cuts out. If I elevate the brake pedal too far in pursuit of a dip-free cease, the engine kicks again on with yet one more stumble. If the V8 would take an additional half a second to show off, this would not be an issue, however that is not going to occur, as a result of an prolonged stop-start window is an intentional byproduct of the onboard 48-volt electrical system.The SQ8’s gas financial system additionally lacks chill, however I really feel that is anticipated in a V8-toting sports activities SUV. The EPA charges this man at a paltry 15 miles per gallon metropolis and 21 mpg freeway. While my metropolis figures are… demonstrably worse than that (in all probability as a result of I really like torquey begins), I’m not less than capable of match the freeway numbers with little concern — till, once more, I keep in mind how a lot enjoyable it’s to speed up.Lots of tech, all of it goodAudi’s MMI Touch Response system is nice — so good, actually, that when it debuted it gained our Roadshow Shift Award for Cabin Tech of the Year. It stays among the finest methods in the marketplace after a full mannequin 12 months, tot. The complete shebang boots up rapidly, even after an evening spent chilling on the driveway. The response time is quick, and when handwriting recognition can be utilized, Audi’s tech picks up my terrible finger swipes completely.The 10.1-inch display screen within the middle of the dashboard covers all the standard infotainment bits, and its built-in haptic suggestions makes it simpler to hit the correct button with little distraction. The 8.6-incher beneath is usually for the local weather management system, and it, too, is loads responsive and straightforward to decide to muscle reminiscence. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make it simpler to make use of my telephone within the automobile within the occasion my dumb mind forgets a wire. While I’d wish to see USB-C ports in right here, I’m pleased with the USB-A ports that populate each rows of seats. Virtual Cockpit is commonplace, too, with its 12.3-inch gauge display screen displaying practically each bit of knowledge I can ask for on the standard drive with easy manipulation by the steering wheel controls.Three screens would possibly really feel a bit daunting at first, however every has particular obligations and all are simple to get used to.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    My Prestige-trim SQ8 comes commonplace with nearly each security system, though all Q8s come from the manufacturing facility with computerized emergency braking, computerized windshield wipers and computerized headlights. The adaptive cruise management is mighty {smooth}, with no main braking or acceleration occasions inflicting undesirable head bobs. Lateral movement is nicely underneath management, too, with the lane-keeping help providing a gossamer contact on the wheel to maintain the SQ8 centered in its lane. The head-up show is not actually obligatory for my part, however it may present the pace restrict, which is about all I’d need it to do, anyway.How I’d spec itThe 2020 SQ8 is an costly proposition, beginning at $89,995 together with vacation spot. I’ll persist with my tester’s Prestige trim, which begins at $95,495, throwing a $595 Galaxy Blue paint job into the combination as a result of the one free choices are black and white (yawn). A black leather-based inside is free of charge, as is the high-gloss grey oak trim. I’ll additionally plunk down $1,750 to take away all situations of shiny metallic from the outside, in addition to $4,000 so as to add extra leather-based inside and massaging entrance seats. That leaves me with an out-the-door worth of $106,840, which slides slightly below my tester’s $107,490 window sticker.Down to brass tacksPerhaps surprisingly, there is a first rate marketplace for souped-up luxurious SUVs with six-figure worth tags. The BMW X6 M50i gives plenty of oomph, however its aesthetics are… an acquired style, and I do not suppose its inside is as nicely laid out because the Audi’s. The Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe’s gentle hybrid system gives an precise output enhance, in contrast to the SQ8, however once more, it’s a must to take a look at the factor. Those in search of a extra driver-forward expertise will need to flip their consideration to the Porsche Cayenne GTS, which you’ll be able to fortunately get in non-coupe type (though there is a Cayenne GTS Coupe on provide, too).Of all these selections, nonetheless, none delivers the 2 distinct experiences that the 2020 Audi SQ8 does. It’s as cool as a cucumber more often than not, performing like a automobile constructed for chauffeurs. Hit a couple of buttons (or, truthfully, simply depress the accelerator far sufficient) and issues tackle an entire new lifetime of brisk acceleration and deft dealing with. It’s one of the best sort of two-for-one deal.

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