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Audi SQ8 Review: A Sophisticated SUV With A Stirring V8

It unexpectedly seems like a value proposition versus its competitors, too.
James Wong
James Wong
21 Jul 2023
That the SQ8 comes up as a value proposition is perhaps the most interesting outcome of all, and cause for celebration.
What we like:
Great quality
That V8...
Value proposition versus rivals
What we dislike:
Rides stiffer than it should on 23-inch rims

Like the Audi SQ7 which we tested nearly a year ago, the SQ8 is much the same. It doesn’t aim to be the sportiest thing around, which is absolutely the perfect strategy for something with the ‘S’ moniker.

Instead what you get is an SUV that handles far better than you’d expect it ever would, while having a beautiful sounding V8 that has a grunty low-end and a top-end kick that will send small animals scampering. It’s a lovely car to use daily, and as I’ve maintained when reviewing the SQ7, it’s a better proposition than an RS Q7/8 if one were to just ply the road and not the track.

The subtle difference with the SQ7 is that the SQ8 seems to ride a tad stiffer, perhaps because of its shock-and-awe 23-inch rims which are one size larger than in the 7-seater car. I’d recommend sticking with the 22s and preserving the lovely ride comfort that was a memorable takeaway from the SQ7.

Being a more distinct design than the traditional 3-box SUV, combined with the blacked out look of the press car, the SQ8 seemed also to possess somewhat less of the Q-car effect that the SQ7 had. It had attracted more attention for sure, especially when it came to cars seeing it in the rear-view mirror and promptly giving way.

If you stepped back and pictured the hierarchy of the Volkswagen Group, you’d slowly realise that the SQ8 is one of the easiest (comparatively) ways to get access to the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in the Group.

It feels like you’re getting 90% of the experience for perhaps 60% of the price. I guess the car’s build quality has got to do something with that. Besides the drive, the car feels expensive inside and lined with all manner of soft touch materials that almost justifies the car’s asking price. The way the doors close, as well as the impeccable noise insulation, is all pure quality.

Broadening out, you’d struggle to find a car at its price point that would come with a V8 at all. That the SQ8 comes up as a value proposition is perhaps the most interesting outcome of all, and cause for celebration.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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