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2020 Audi SQ8 Overview

Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - May 29, 2020

What's New

The 2020 Audi SQ8 is a new offering for the flagship Audi midsize crossover SUV, slotting in between the base Q8 and the riotous RSQ8. Tamer than the latter but friskier than the former, the 500-horsepower SQ8 gets V8 power, 21-inch wheels, and sporty exterior trim that includes a unique grille and other accents.

Choosing Your Audi SQ8

Audi has kept the SQ8 line refreshingly simple, with just two trim levels to pick from: Premium Plus and Prestige. Prices start at $89,995 including destination for the Premium Plus and climb to $95,495 for the Prestige.

Engine Choices

Every SQ8 will be equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It's the same engine found in the more potent RSQ8, but here it's been detuned to 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Despite being down a few ponies from the RS model, the SQ8 will still scoot to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds.

Mating up to this engine is an eight-speed automatic transmission. It sends power to all four wheels via Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. A tow package is available on the SQ8, and when equipped it allows the SUV to haul an impressive 7,700 pounds.

The SQ8 earns an EPA-estimated 15 miles per gallon city, 21 mpg highway, and 17 combined.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

Though the related Q7 comes standard with three rows of seats, the more intimate SQ8 makes do with a five-passenger seating arrangement. No third row is offered here or on any other Q8 model.

Cargo capacity is likewise less on the SQ8 than on the larger, more utilitarian Q7. There's 30.5 cubic feet behind the rear seat of the SQ8, and 60.7 cubic feet when it's folded.

Safety Features

In line with its price point, numerous driver-assist features come standard on the SQ8. These include a surround-view camera, automatic emergency braking up to speeds of 52 mph, forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, a vehicle exit warning system, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.

Notably missing from that list is adaptive cruise control, but it's available as part of the $1,750 Driver Assist package. The option group also includes traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assist, and something called intersection assist, which monitors intersections for crossing traffic and can automatically apply the brakes if it senses an oncoming car. These features are standard on the Prestige model.

Oddly enough, rear side airbags are also extra charge. Audi asks $350 for them.

While the SQ8 hasn't been rated by the NHTSA, the organization did award a five-star overall safety rating to the similar Q8. The IIHS has also had good things to say about the Q8, having named it a Top Safety Pick.

Connectivity

Befitting a contemporary flagship automobile, the SQ8 is a technological powerhouse. Drivers are greeted by no less than three screens that together handle all infotainment, connectivity, and display functions.

The largest screen is the 12.3-inch instrument cluster. It offers customizable menus and high-definition resolution, and can display navigation maps, including satellite views and 3D city maps for those with Audi Prime subscriptions.

Mounted in the dashboard is a pair of screens stacked atop each other. The upper screen is 10.1 inches and takes care of navigation and radio duties, while the 8.6-inch lower screen works the climate control. While the screens are touch-enabled, there's also a console-mounted pad for handwriting – write a command by finger and the car will recognize and response accordingly.

Wireless charging is standard, as are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, navigation, two front and two rear USB ports, HD radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a wireless signal booster.

The Prestige package adds a head-up display.

Premium Plus - From $89,995

The cheapest SQ8 is just under $90,000, or roughly $21,000 more than an ordinary Q8. The big upcharge buys plenty of standard equipment, including four-zone climate control, perforated leather upholstery with diamond stitching, heated and ventilated front sport seats with 10-way power adjustability, a heated steering wheel, and a panoramic sunroof.

Also standard are 21-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a hands-free power tailgate, keyless entry and start, a power steering column, and a 17-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system.

The primary option package is the Luxury Package. It costs $4,000 and includes massaging front seats, front passenger memory seat functionality, an Alcantara headliner, power rear side-window sunshades, and expanded use of leather throughout the interior. A $1,750 Black Optics Package includes blacked-out trim and 22-inch wheels.

Prestige - From $95,495

The only other SQ8 trim is the Prestige package. Stepping up to this trim buys the contents of the Driver Assistance Package, matrix-design LED lighting, a head-up display, power soft-closing doors, aluminum-optic control buttons, headlight washers, and heated rear seats.

Exclusively available on the Prestige is the $5,900 Sport Package. Its main draw is the active roll stabilization technology that mitigates body roll via active anti-roll bars. The package also includes a sport differential with torque vectoring and red brake calipers.

Compare SQ8 Trims

CarsDirect Tip

If you're looking to hunt down Porsche Cayenne GTS drivers on your local backroads, you'll need a 2020 Audi SQ8 Prestige model with the Sport Package. Otherwise, the entry-level Premium Plus should be plenty fun and luxurious.