Audi’s most powerful diesel engine: Introducing the Audi SQ7 and SQ8

Audi presents the SQ7 and the SQ8 with a V8 diesel engine in the high-performance SUV segment. In terms of their suspension, the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 offer many high-tech components, but it’s their aggressive and sporty design as well as their connectivity and technology features which rounds off the package really well. The large S models are now available for sale in South Africa as part of a limited, once-off TDI engine launch opportunity.

310 kW and 900 Nm of torque: The 4.0 TDI has an easy job with the Audi SQ7 and the Audi SQ8. Making its South African debut, this engine is Audi’s most powerful diesel engine currently available. The twin-turbo V8 accelerates both models from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. The electronics limit the propulsion at 250 km/h. Depending on the equipment, the SQ7 TDI consumes around 8.7 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in a combined cycle, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 228 grams per kilometre. For the SQ8 TDI, these figures are 8.3 litres and 217 grams of CO2.

A quickly shifting eight-speed tiptronic and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive put the power of this 4.0 TDI onto the road. A clutch in the automatic transmission engages freewheeling when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator. In regular driving operation, the purely mechanical centre differential distributes the drive torque to the front axle and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60. If traction decreases at one axle, it directs most of the torque to the other axle – up to 70% to the front or up to 85% to the rear axle.

Audi provides the SQ7 and SQ8 TDI with the adaptive air suspension sport system which integrates controlled dampers. It is capable of varying the ride height of the body by up to 90 millimetres (vehicle height is 15 millimetres lower than the adaptive air suspension option). The optional all-wheel steering consists of two components. The front axle steering, which has a sporty and direct gear ratio of 13.3:1, increases the vehicle’s agility and manoeuvrability considerably.  A spindle drive influences the rear wheels: At low speed, it turns them by up to 5 degrees in the opposite direction, which makes it easier to manoeuvre. From a speed of about 60 km/h, it turns them slightly in the same direction for improved stability during fast changes of direction in particular.

As a central control unit, the electronic chassis platform (ECP) connects the controlled suspension systems, with the exception of all-wheel steering. The driver experiences this close and lightning-fast coordination as maximum handling precision. They decide how the controlled suspension components as well as the 4.0 TDI and the tiptronic are to operate via the Audi drive select system. The driver can choose from seven driving profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, offroad, and individual.

As standard, the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 are fitted with 21-inch Audi Sport wheels with an option to upgrade to 22-inch (for the SQ7) and up to 23-inch (for the SQ8). Brake discs measuring 400 millimetres in diameter are fitted to the front axle, with 350 millimetre discs on the rear axle. The red brake callipers feature an S logo on the front axle and are standard for both models.

Sporty look: the exterior design

Thanks to its S-specific details, the special status of the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 becomes apparent at first glance. The front features double slats in the Singleframe and a distinctly three-dimensional blade in the bumper, while the side air inlets are filled with a honeycomb grid.

At the side, the exterior mirror housings in aluminium look catch the eye, while the underbody protection with its powerful design, a honeycomb grid insert, and the four characteristic tailpipes provide highlights at the rear. Some attachments are designed in matte silver, including the frame of the Singleframe, which is designed as a wide mask in the SQ8. If the customer ordered the black styling package, the frame as well as other exterior parts (roof rails, trim strips on side windows, mirrors and front and rear bumpers) are finished in black paint. In addition to this, the extended black styling package adds the Audi rings at the front and rear as well as the SQ7 or SQ8 lettering in the radiator grille and on the boot lid in black. A standard panoramic glass sunroof rounds off the exterior design with class.

Sporty character: interior and equipment

The elegant sporty look is continued in the spacious interior of the Audi SQ7 and the SQ8 TDI. The sport seats are upholstered with top-quality Valcona leather and come standard with a heating function in the front and memory function for both front seats. Their backrests feature S embossing and colour-coordinated contrasting stitching complements the appearance. The inlays are made of matt brushed aluminium. The series production scope also includes illuminated door sill trims with aluminium inlays with the S logo at the front. The pedals, the footrest, and the loading sill protector are made of stainless steel.

Upon request, Audi will install S sport seats plus with integrated head restraints. Their covers are also made of Valcona leather but feature a rhombus pattern and diamond stitching. Arras red is available as a further colour option in addition to the grey and black colour schemes. The S sport seats can be further refined with ventilation and a massage function. A third seat row is available for the Audi SQ7. The contour/ambient lighting package, which is also another standard feature on both models, illuminates contours and surfaces in 30 colours that can be adjusted to the driver’s individual taste via the MMI.

New computing power: infotainment and controls

In terms of controls, infotainment, and connectivity, the Audi SQ7 and Audi SQ8 are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The MMI touch response control system integrates two large displays in the centre of the instrument panel. They have a 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch diagonal measurement respectively, and respond with haptic and acoustic feedback to all finger input. The menu structure makes it easy to control with flat hierarchies. The user can configure the interface of the upper display such that they can follow multiple apps at the same time.

The two S models provide a natural language voice control system as a second control level, which understands many formulations from everyday language and accesses the knowledge of the cloud to respond to many requests.

A head-up display that projects important information onto the windshield is available as an option. The standard Audi virtual cockpit plus with S-specific views is controlled via the multifunction steering wheel and serves as the standard display instrument. The driver can activate different screens, including an “S-Performance” look. It shifts the focus to the rev counter and displays the power output and torque as percentages.

These standard and attractive hardware modules supplement the infotainment portfolio. The Audi smartphone interface embeds iOS and Android smartphones on the MMI display in their native environments Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Audi phone box couples smartphones with the car’s antenna and charges them inductively provided that the phone is equipped with this function. The Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 3D sound is also available and integrates an amplifier that outputs 1,920 watts and actuates up to 23 speakers.

Convenience equipment such as four-zone automatic air conditioning is standard. The HD Matrix LED headlights with dynamic light design (standard on the Audi SQ8) are a further piece of top-of-the-line technology: Thanks to their intelligent regulation, they illuminate the road with maximum brightness and precision in any situation. In the SQ7, Matrix LED headlights with dynamic turn signals are part of the vehicle offering.

Audi connect: top-calibre connectivity

The services in the Audi connect portfolio offer customized information and intelligent assistance. The SQ7 and SQ8 are equipped with the top infotainment system MMI navigation plus as standard, which exploits the full potential of Audi connect. The navigation system offers satellite images and takes predictions on the development of the traffic situation, weather, parking availability and point of interest search information into account.

If the car is driven by multiple drivers, up to six users can save their individual settings – from frequently selected destinations to their preferred lighting – in separate profiles. The data is uploaded to the customer’s myAudi account in the cloud and stored there for their access via the app. The car adjusts the individual settings when the driver’s door is opened. This convenient personalization feature comes as standard with the Audi SQ7 and the SQ8.

The Audi connect functionality also includes Car2X services which consists of standard safety and service features in the event of damage, breakdown or minor accidents. This functionality (through a built-in emergency button in the vehicle’s roof module) allows an emergency safety or service call to an Audi call centre to support in any event. Additional functionality, accessible through the MyAudi application, includes remote functions that network the SQ7 and SQ8 TDI with the driver’s smartphone. This includes car finder, remote lock/unlocking, speed and theft alerts, to mention a few.

Smart character: the driving safety systems

The assist systems make driving the Audi SQ7 and the SQ8 feel even more confident and comfortable. Safety systems such as Audi pre sense basic are included as standard with a host of other assistance systems available.

The adaptive cruise control takes over steering, accelerating, and decelerating for the driver in many situations. The improved restarting comfort is a new feature: Even after a longer standstill, the adaptive cruise control gets the car start rolling again if the car in front starts moving. It takes only a slight touch for the car to detect that the driver is taking responsibility for steering and automatic lateral guidance can remain active.

The efficiency assist supports a fuel-efficient driving style by notifying the driver as to when it would make sense to take their foot off the gas. Systems such as the intersection assist, rear cross traffic assist, exit warning, and the surround view cameras add to the portfolio.

Local pricing and availability

The SQ7 and SQ8 TDI are officially available for sale in South Africa in limited numbers as part of a once-off launch opportunity. The models are priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan:

Audi SQ7 TDI quattro                              R 1,679,500

Audi SQ8 TDI quattro                               R1,848,500