With 500 horsepower and a sport-tuned suspension, the 2023 Audi SQ8 is a tier above the standard Q8 model performance wise. It’s also just as luxurious inside and still agreeable to drive daily. Its exterior styling is punchier than the Q8’s, with bigger wheels and more aggressive details, but it doesn’t fully wild out like the racier RS Q8 and the mechanically similar Lamborghini Urus. A twin-turbo V-8 engine is the only choice here, and it comes with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic—a combination that rocketed the SQ8 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds at our test track. With its squat proportions giving it a uniquely sporty look, the SQ8 competes against other rocket-ship SUVs such as the Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes-Benz GLE-class.
What’s New for 2023?
All SQ8 models now come standard with fancier LED headlamps with integrated washers for 2023. The Executive package is new to the Premium Plus trim and includes dual-pane window glass to help reduce noise inside the cabin. The Prestige trim gains a standard remote parking feature, and new colors Waitomo Blue and Satellite Silver join the options sheet.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
All SQ8 models come with the best performance-enhancing features Audi can throw at them, so no matter which one you choose, you’re getting the same driving experience. Still, we’d upgrade to the Prestige trim, which adds a host of driver-assistance and luxury features that include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, a head-up display, fancier LED exterior lighting elements, soft-close doors, heated rear seats, and power rear sunshades.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 powers the SQ8, and it provides 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque; all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are both standard. At our test track, the SQ8 blasted to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, just 0.4 second behind the more powerful—but mechanically similar—Lamborghini Urus. The SQ8 provides agile handling and an athletic demeanor, but when switched into Comfort mode it exhibits a family-friendly ride quality, making it a true dual-purpose vehicle.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the SQ8 is good for 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. However, we can’t evaluate its real-world mpg until we run it on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen. For more information about the SQ8’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
As is typical of Audi’s S models, the interior gains more standard features and fancier materials than the base vehicle. This includes black accents in the cabin and diamond-stitched seats, as well as carbon-fiber trim and contrast stitching. With seating for give, the spacious back seat and capacious cargo area are useful on road trips. Unfortunately, interior cubby storage is subpar.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
Audi decks out every SQ8 with a dual-touchscreen infotainment system and the brand’s Virtual Cockpit reconfigurable gauge display. The almost completely digital cabin will appeal to tech-conscious buyers but not those who value physical controls for things like climate control. A Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard fare.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Audi offers a suite of driver-assistance features as standard on the SQ8; that includes basics such as automated emergency braking, as well as more advanced adaptive cruise control functions. For more information about the SQ8’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi provides the same limited and powertrain warranty as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Audi SQ8
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$107,490 (base price: $89,995)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 in3, 3996 cm3
500 hp @ 5500 rpm
568 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.8-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Hankook Dynapro HP2 Plus, 285/45R-21 113H M+S AO
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 196.6 in
Width: 78.5 in
Height: 67.2 in
Passenger volume: 105 ft3
Cargo volume: 31 ft3
Curb weight: 5469 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.6 sec
100 mph: 9.5 sec
130 mph: 14.4 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.1 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec
1/4 mile: 12.2 sec @ 112 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 129 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 173 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 16 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/15/21 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs