The SQ8 will use a 429bhp 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine, shared with the SQ7, instead of the hybrid V6 powertrain that Audi hinted at with the Q8 Sport Concept of 2017.
Autocar understands this set-up was chosen because demand for diesel power in this sector is still strong, despite the fuel type's overall decline in recent months. However, a 3.0 TFSI V6 version of the SQ8 will be offered in some markets where demand for hot petrol SUVs is higher, such as the US.
The Q8 Sport Concept did at least provide an insight into the performance Audi expects from its first performance Q8. The concept was claimed to produce 469bhp and 516lb ft, enabling a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.7sec and a top speed of 171mph. The diesel-powered SQ8's small deficit should provide it with performance just shy of that.
The SQ8 looks set to get a quad-exit exhaust system and larger-diameter wheels than the standard Q8. It will use height adjustable air suspension, tuned to offer enhanced body control, and could come with active anti-roll bars powered by the car's 48V electronic architecture.
This set-up will also be employed by the only Q8 model to overtake the SQ8, the RSQ8, which is due next year with a circa-670bhp hybrid V8 powertrain that's also used in the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.
When sales for the new Q8 kick off later this summer, prices will start from around £65,000. The SQ8 could therefore start from close to £80,000, leaving space for the RSQ8 to begin from just under £100,000, aligning it with the BMW X6 M.
The arrival of the Q8 range grows Audi's SUV range to five models. Currently, it features the Q2, Q3, Q5 and Q7. It could one day gain a Q9, which Autocar understands is under consideration as a future Range Rover rival.