Wait, what? The Audi SQ7 and SQ8 are now 500hp V8 petrol SUVs

By topgear, 16 July 2020

SUVs move pretty fast. If you don’t stop and update these behemoths once in a while, you could miss it. Only last year both the SQ7 and SQ8 were updated, and so here we are exactly a year later, with another update.

Turns out, both of them are pretty fast indeed, and also quite impossible to miss. Audi has binned the SQ7 and SQ8’s diesel V8, and replaced it with a 4.0-litre biturbo petrol V8. Fairly busy engine, that.

There’s more power this time around – both now crack the 500hp barrier for the first time (and get 770Nm of torque, down from the diesel’s tremendous 900Nm), upping many antes and your blood pressure, no doubt. Audi itself describes this new pace as ‘horizon-pummelling’. We ourselves would describe said pace as ‘bloody frightening’.

It’s accompanied by “a classic V8 soundtrack”, and because of the design of the turbos (sat inside the V of the cylinder banks, as you well know), enables shorter gas paths and thus a quicker path to a heart attack. Because of the speed.

Much speed. The biturbo V8, used now very liberally across the VW Group, manages to coax both SQ7 and SQ8 from 0-100km/h in 4.1s, 80-120km/h in 3.8s, and a limited top speed of 250km/h.

Oh, there’s cylinder cut-off under lighter throttle, active engine mounts that disguise body vibrations, and exhaust actuators that vary the noise depending on your chosen drive MODE. But really, just a lot of speed.

There’s an eight-speed tiptronic ‘box, standard all-wheel-drive and all-wheel-steering, and standard S-specific adaptive air suspension. Opt for the SQ8 ‘Vorsprung’ model, and you get active roll stabilisation and a sport diff.

SQ7s get 21in wheels (22s for the SQ8), and there are many S badges as one would require of such a car. We won’t go into options because it’s a premium German car so there are many.

The SQ7 was – at least last year with a diesel V8 – actually really rather good. Reckon it needed a petrol V8? Or will you just wait until next year when it’ll probably sprout another new engine?

STORY Vijay Pattni

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