Audi’s most potent diesels ever: SQ7 and SQ8 hit SA in limited numbers
JOHANNESBURG - With diesels on the way out as ever-stricter international pollution rules take their toll, high-performance oil burners like the new SQ7 and SQ8 will soon be an extinct species.
However, if you want to experience Audi’s most powerful diesel engine in all its glory you’d better act fast as Audi South Africa has made a few units available as part of a “limited, once-off TDI engine launch opportunity”. Oh, and it would help if you have R1 679 500 lying around for the SQ7 TDI quattro, or R1 848 500 if it’s the SQ8 you’re after. We’ll have the latter, thanks.
While the two have completely different body configurations, the SQ7 being the more practical choice and the SQ8 sporting a sharper and more coupe-like design, both share the same 4-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel heart. Audi quotes outputs of 310kW and a whopping 900Nm, the latter available from just 1250rpm. 0-100km/h comes up in just 4.8 seconds, in both cases, while top speeds are electronically limited to 250km/h.
That power goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive system. The torque apportioning is rear-biased, with quattro sending 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the back under normal driving conditions, however if required, it can send as much as 70 percent to the front and 85 percent to the back.
A sporty SUV doesn’t necessarily mean a hard ride anymore, and to that end, the SQ7 and SQ8 TDI models are equipped with the adaptive air suspension sport system, which integrates adaptive dampers. The system can also vary the ride height by up to 90mm.
However, if you want to sharpen things up with rear-wheel steering, you’re going to have to pay a bit more for that.
Both SUVs are set apart by standard 21-inch alloy wheels, although SQ7 customers can option up to 22” rims, and SQ8 clients up to 23”. Other external decor comes in the form of an S-specific bumper and grille design, aluminium-look mirror housings, honeycomb trim around the rear diffuser and quad tailpipes.
The usual ‘S’ flavour features inside too, in the form of sports seats upholstered in Valcona leather, matt brushed aluminium inlays, illuminated door sill trims and stainless steel pedals. Furthermore, the ‘virtual cockpit’ digital instrument cluster boasts S-specific views. Clients can also option up to S sports seats plus with integrated headrests and diamond stitching.
Computing power comes from Audi’s latest MMI navigation plus infotainment system, featuring two large touchscreen displays and a cloud-based natural language voice control system. The system also puts occupants in touch with Audi connect services, such as traffic predictions, weather updates, Car2X services, an emergency button and various remote control functions.
Also part of the deal is four-zone climate control, but buyers will have to pay extra for things like head-up display and that fabulous Band & Olufsen 3D sound system.
Both SUVs come standard with a five-year Audi Freeway Plan.
Audi SQ7 TDI quattro - R1 679 500
Audi SQ8 TDI quattro - R1 848 500