It’s Friday night, you’re all dressed up and ready for a night out with your special someone, giddy with excitement even after all this time together. This feeling of anticipation is what I imagine it would be like if you had this Galaxy blue Audi SQ8 parked in the garage.
The SQ8 does the everyday boring parts of life well, but when you need an extra thrill all you have to do is flick it to Dynamic mode and put your foot down to feel a rush of blood. The rush that reminds you that life is too short to drive boring cars, even if you do have a couple of children in tow now.
This luxury SUV is the five-seat version of the SQ7 TFSI, which has seven seats. The SQ8 is powered by the same 4.0 litre, V8, twin-turbocharged petrol engine with 373kW of power at 5,500rpm and 770Nm of torque between 2,000 to 4,000rpm. The SQ8 greets you with a crackle and pop from the exhaust on start-up before settling into a soft background rumble. It can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds and like the SQ7 I did find there was a bit of a delay between squeezing the throttle pedal and shove back into my seat.
Or when you are driving the SQ8 on the motorway the engine reverts to four-cylinder mode to reduce fuel consumption. This worked well for me as I did quite a bit of motorway driving for my week with the SQ8 and I used 11.9L/100km of fuel and the official combined fuel consumption is 12.1L/100km.
There are five drive modes to select from, Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. Under Individual mode you can configure the Drive System, Suspension, Steering and Engine Sound between Comfortable, Balanced and Dynamic settings. Even is Dynamic mode the ride of the SQ8 was comfortable. I also liked that the vehicle remembered my selection and stayed in Dynamic mode even when I turned the SUV off and restarted it. Rather than defaulting back to Comfort mode like most other vehicles do.
The Audi quattro (all-wheel drive) system on the SQ8 is paired with an 8-speed tiptronic transmission. My SQ8 was also fitted with the optional Dynamic package ($10,900) that includes active roll stabilisation and quattro sport differential to keep you stable through the corners.
The Rotor grey Valcona leather seat upholstery with contrasting stitching in Anthracite and optional carbon vector inlays ($1,950) add to the visual brilliance and pleasant aroma of this particular SQ8. The Bang & Olufsen 3D 730-watt sound system with 17 loudspeakers has your aural needs covered as well.
Both front seats are heated and cooled, with the latter not working quite as well as I would have expected it to. The front seats have power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, and 4-way lumbar controlled using the switches on the side of the seat. Plus by pressing the seat image on the lower screen you can also adjust the side bolster and seat bolstering. Once you have the perfect position you can save it on one of the two memory positions.
The Sport leather steering wheel is heated and like the SQ7 it has flimsy, plastic, wheel-mounted paddle shifters that really don’t befit the ambience of the cabin. Voice control is activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the feminine looking silhouette on it. The voice control worked well for me to make phone call, enter a destination on the sat nav and change the radio station once I worked out, I need to use the name of the station and not the frequency.
The SQ8 has dual screens with the top 10.1” haptic screen used for the infotainment and the lower 8.6” screen is used for vehicle functions, including controlling the settings for the rear climate control. The screens do get bad finger marks and I do not like the gloss black on the centre console because it gathers dust and finger marks as well.
Under the arm rest there is wireless charging for compatible phones and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which seamlessly connects your phone to the vehicle. There are two USB-C ports under the arm rest and a 12V outlet next to the cup holders in the centre console and here there is also a slot for the key fob with wireless charging. The cup holders are slim with a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning and for larger drink bottles you can use the cubbies in the front doors.
The rear seats have a 60:40 split and can be moved forward/back and the recline can be adjusted or the centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two slim drink holders at the front or for larger bottles there is good-sized storage in the rear door cubbies. There is ample head and leg room for two adults to comfortably sit back there or for younger children there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to the overall width.
Rear passengers get individual climate control settings for temperature, air speed and mode with central air vents and vents in the B-pillars. Under the rear climate controls there are two USB-C ports and one 12V outlet for devices.
The SQ8 has a powered tailgate with gesture open and close or you can open/close from the button under the tailgate or in the cabin, and open only from the key fob. There are buttons in the boot to raise and lower the SQ8 to help make it easier for you to lift items in, which is helpful because the boot is quite deep. The boot space has four substantial tie down points, one hook, two lights and no 12V outlet. Under boot floor there is a space saver spare tyre.
Dual frontal, side chest-protecting airbags for front and second row outboard positions and side head-protecting airbags (curtains) for front, second and third rows are standard. For convenience you also get auto dusk sensing headlights, auto high beam, and auto rain sensing wipers. The SQ8 does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but all other Audi Q8 variants do have a 5-star ANCAP (2019) rating.
Active safety features include adaptive cruise control (set using stalk behind steering wheel), Audi active lane assist, Audi side assist – blind spot warning system, Intersection crossing assist, Collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic assist rear and an exit warning system. The SQ8 has a 360o rear view camera with 3D view option that allows you to virtually walk around the vehicle to observe if there are any obstacles present and my children had a lot of fun playing with this feature. The camera system is combined with 360o parking sensors.
All new Audi vehicles sold come with a 5 years/unlimited kilometres manufacturer warranty and Audi Care 24-hour roadside assistance is complimentary for the first 3 years and may be extended if you continue to have your vehicle serviced at an Audi Service Centre. The service interval for the SQ8 is one year or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first, and you can purchase a five-year service plan upfront for the SQ8 currently for $4,100. When you have your Audi scheduled servicing performed at an Audi Service Centre in the first three years of ownership, you also become eligible to join the Audi Experience program, offering a calendar of events, masterclasses and bespoke partner offers, exclusively for you and your significant other.
Having a little excitement in our lives is important for our mental health and our relationship health too and the Audi SQ8 TFSI is one such SUV that will certainly help you keep the spice in your life. The Audi SQ8 is priced from $168,800 plus dealer delivery and on-road costs and as tested this Galaxy blue SQ8 was $191,021 plus dealer delivery and on-road costs. You can shop for an Audi SQ8 TFSI online or visit your preferred Audi dealer for more information.
|The V8 engine||Flimsy plastic paddle shifters|
|Seamless wireless Android Auto connection||Gloss black centre console|
|Vehicle remembers your drive mode selection||No ANCAP safety rating|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.