Currently reading: Audi shows hot SQ8 as new flagship SUV
429bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine is firm's most powerful V8 in Europe

Audi's hot new SQ8 has made its Frankfurt debut as the firm's flagship SUV, featuring a 429bhp mild hybrid turbodiesel V8 engine.

The 4.0-litre biturbo unit offered in the range-topping performance version of the coupe-inspired Audi Q8 large SUV is the most powerful V8 offered by the firm in Europe. It produces 664lb ft and powers the five-seater from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, with a limited top speed of 155mph. 

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The diesel, which automatically turns off one of the two turbochargers at low speeds to boost fuel economy, is mated to a 48V mild hybrid system, operated through a belt alternator starter connected to the crankshaft. It can generate up to 11bhp under braking, and allow the SQ8 to coast without the engine active for up to 40 seconds at speeds between 34 and 100mph.

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Power is driven to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with an optional advanced suspension package including a sport differential that can balance torque between the rear wheels when cornering.

As standard, the car sits on adaptive air suspension, which can adjust the ride height by up to 90mm, and features electromechanical active roll stabilisation, which uses an electric motor to reduce body movement.

All-wheel steering is available as an option, either by itself or as part of the advanced suspension package.

The SQ8 sits on 21-inch wheels as standard, with 22-inch available upon request. Carbon fibre ceramic brake discs are available as standard.

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The SQ8 features a number of design tweaks from the Q8, which is closely related to the more practical Audi Q7 and built on the VW Group’s MLB Evo platform. 

It gains a new S-specific grille featuring a matt silver frame and LED headlights, along with revamped air inlets and new aluminium-effect mirrors. At the rear, the diffuser is finished in a matt black colour, with quad exhausts. A black styling package will be offered to further differentiate the car.

Inside, as with other S machines the SQ8 is finished in black, with a mix of leather and Alcantara, and embossed S logos in the seats. Stainless steel pedals and footrest, along with aluminium inlays on the door sills, are standard.

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As with the Q8, the SQ8 is offered with a twin touchscreen set-up and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, which features S-specific graphics and displays.

The SQ8 is due to go on sale in the UK in the coming months. Pricing has yet to be set, but will likely be an increase on the current range-topping Q8, the 55 TFSI, which costs £80,815.

While the SQ8 will only be offered in the UK and Europe with the turbodiesel powerplant, largely due to the need to meet EU CO2 targets, petrol engined-versions will be offered in other markets.

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Simba Sagwete 24 June 2019

"Most Powerful V8"...?

But what about the 444bhp RS4?!

Nick Parks 25 June 2019

Last time I checked the RS4

Last time I checked the RS4 wasn't a Diesel?? 

Ski Kid 22 June 2019

Agree, looks like the Urus,back view in particular

The Urus should have had the v10 to differentiate it for the  large bucks that it commands,do not mind the Q8 ,the grille is overdone like most Audi's , but the Q8 is the least ugly of the BMW and Audi suv ranges ,the Q5 ,Q7 X3,X4,X5 and X7 should be used for target practice by the military.

Citytiger 22 June 2019

Meanwhile in other news

its a diesel.. Now if if it was a petrol V8, it might be of interest..