Audi’s updated SQ7 and new SQ8 flagship SUVs have arrived. The former gets the company’s new interior layout, meaning the end of the old infotainment screen and trackpad controller.
This pair are twins-under-the-skin, but appeal to different buyers.
The SQ7 is family-friendly with a third seating row, while the frameless-window SQ8 five-seater plays the role of style leader.
Pricing for the SQ7 is unchanged, but Audi says the car has an additional $15,000 of features as part of its 2020 updates.
Its most obvious rivals are fellow go-fast seven-seaters like the BMW X7 M50i petrol ($171,900) and Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d ($153,300).
Despite having two fewer seats, the SQ8 is pricier. Its nemeses include the BMW X6 M50i ($155,900) and Porsche Cayenne S ($166,200), plus the imminent new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
- 2020 Audi SQ7: $161,500
- 2020 Audi SQ8: $165,500
All prices exclude on-road costs
This pair each weighs in excess of 2.4 tonnes, so the presence of a performance diesel makes some sense. It’s a biturbo V8 with a 4.0-litre capacity, producing 320kW of peak power between 3750 and 4750rpm, and a spectacular 900Nm of peak torque between 1250 and 3250rpm
It’s matched to a quattro permanent AWD system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddles, and can catapult either car to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds.
The quattro all-wheel drive system has a self-locking centre diff and can apportion up to 85 per cent of engine torque to the rear.
Both the SQ7 and SQ8 are also rated to tow 3.5 tonnes.
The claimed fuel consumption on a combined cycle is as low as 7.6L/100km.
It has a 48V onboard electrical system and 0.5kWh battery powered by energy recuperation.
The air suspension is linked to the driving modes, so the body can lift and lower, and the ride firmness can be amplified. For those looking at doing a snow trip or some muddy trails, the off-roading modes tell the air suspension to raise 35mm to its maximum 254mm height, below 30km/h.
Standard rear-wheel steering gives you a tighter urban turning circle, because those rear wheels at low speeds face by a few degrees the opposite direction to the fronts. Audi claims this more-than-5m-long pair have a similar turning radius to the far smaller Q3 as a result.
Those planning on using the SQ7 for road trips should be aware that there’s no spare wheel of any type fitted, just a repair kit, whereas the SQ8 has a space-saver temporary spare that’s more reassuring. The lack of third-row seats frees up under-floor space, clearly.
Dimensions and other data
|Audi SQ7||Audi SQ8|
|Cargo space||705L – 1890L||605L – 1755L|
|Weight, no driver||2385kg||2365kg|
|Engine||4.0 TDI V8||4.0 TDI V8|
|Drive||quattro AWD||quattro AWD|
|Governed top speed||250km/h||250km/h|
The SQ8 received the maximum five stars from ANCAP in 2019, and the Q7 in 2015 when the pre-updated model launched.
Euro NCAP updated its Q7 five-star rating by re-testing it in 2019, and the scores apply to Australia.
The list of standard features is extensive.
- 22-inch wheels
- Rear-wheel steering
- Adjustable air suspension
- A panoramic glass sunroof
- Soft-closing powered doors
- HD Matrix LED headlights
- Valcona leather
- Electric steering column
- Four-zone climate control
- Seat heating (ventilation standard on SQ8, optional on SQ7)
- Ambient LED interior lighting.
- 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit
- Projecting head-up display
- New 10.1-inch screen with haptic feedback
- Satellite navigation, Google Earth overlays
- 360-degree camera
- Wireless phone charger
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- Speech recognition
- Four USBs
- Digital radio
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Collision avoidance assist
- Lane-keeping assist with steering
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Automated parking software
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Adaptive active cruise control
- Exit cyclist-detection
The SQ7’s 3D sound system comes from Bose and has 19 speakers and 558W of power. The SQ8’s is sourced from Bang & Olufsen and has 17 speakers and 730W.
There aren’t all that many options, and even the metallic paint is free.
There’s a Sensory package that adds a 23-speaker and 1920W B&O sound system, Alcantara headlining, front seat massagers (and ventilation on the SQ7), rear seat heating, leather dashboard, an air ioniser, and fragrance dispenser.
It costs $13,300 in the SQ7 and $13,900 in the SQ8.
There’s also the $10,900 Dynamic package that adds electro-mechanically actuated active-roll stabilisers at each corner, and a quattro sport differential that controls the torque distribution across the rear axle.
The SQ7 and SQ8 are offered with an Audi service plan package, priced at $2870 for three years or $3910 for five years at annual/15,000km intervals.