The car’s handling is a pretty good match for the character of the engine; it’s very effective in so many different ways, although super-capable, filtered-feeling and somewhat aloof rather than entirely involving. The car will cruise in limo-like comfort; but it can also claw its way around slippery corners as level, fast, and securely locked onto its line as a four-wheel drive hot hatchback when you want it to.
The top of the line Vorsprung version gives you height-adjustable adaptively damped air suspension, mechanically torque-vectored four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars all as standard. There isn’t a single version of the Bentley Bentayga that can match that roster of chassis and drivetrain tech, and if you want a Porsche Cayenne to the same mechanical specification it’ll cost you a hefty chunk of change more.
In a car that feels like a traditional Audi that’s really loaded with technology, those systems combine to give the SQ8 really impressive dynamic adaptability and lots of luxury appeal. You might not be able to perceive all them working, but that’s entirely the point: Audi’s aiming for a masterly, all-encompassing kind of dynamic competence here that makes the car seem effortlessly superior, and entirely on top of its own game however you choose to operate it.
The majority of the time the SQ8 hits that target pretty well. The car’s dynamic mode suspension settings can be too short and firm for ideal vertical body control on lumpy backroads, and its 22in rims can very occasionally make their mass felt in the low-speed ride even in comfort driving mode.
Personally, I’d have preferred slightly lighter and more delicate steering when the car is hunkering down and cornering hard, when the rim can feel slightly leaden and numb - but it very seldom fails to make the car grip and change direction in any case.
The rest of the SQ8’s luxury-car package is as complete as it was before: which is to say, very much so. Despite that gently descending roofline it’s got plenty of room in the second row and the boot, while the cabin both looks and feels lavishly expensive and is brimming with digital technology.