2020 Audi SQ7 and SQ8 return to petrol power with 500bhp V8

New 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol engine reduces the 0-62mph time to just 4.1 seconds

  • Over half a second quicker than diesel models
  • On sale in autumn
  • Prices to start from around £78,000

The Audi SQ7 and SQ8 performance models will soon be available with a new V8 petrol engine. These two high-power SUVs will be available with the new engine from autumn 2020, and prices will start from around £78,000 and £83,000 for the SQ7 and SQ8 respectively.

The diesel-engined models haven’t been on sale for long but the prevalence of petrol engines in high-performance SUVs has caused Audi to make a u-turn. Rivals include the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Porsche Cayenne and Audi’s own RS Q8.

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Switching to a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine pushes power up to 500bhp - 71bhp more than the TDI diesel engine. The 0-62mph time drops too, from 4.8 to 4.1 seconds, but the top speed remains limited to 155mph. That means the seven-seat SQ7 now compares favourably with the AMG-fettled Mercedes GLS, which hits 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds.

The petrol engine has the ability to shut down four of its cylinders under light throttle to save fuel, but the SQ7 and SQ8 will hardly be economical. With the diesel-powered versions barely scraping 30mpg, we’d expect 25mpg to be the maximum in the new petrol versions.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive are fitted, as per most fast Audis, but the SQ7 and SQ8 also now feature four-wheel steering (previously reserved for Vorsprung editions) and S-specific air suspension as standard. SQ7 buyers get 21-inch wheels, while SQ7 Vorsprung and both SQ8 models ride on 22-inch alloys.

We’d expect Vorsprung models to be considerably more expensive than the standard ‘S’ cars, as, at the moment, the SQ7 and SQ8 Vorsprung editions both cost around £100,000 before options. SQ8 Vorsprung cars come with a sports differential and complex electro-mechanical active roll stabilisation.

Audi is also working on fast SUVs that are a little more eco-friendly; the electric Audi e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S are due soon with 489bhp and a 4.5-second 0-62mph time.

Read our Audi Q7 and Audi Q8 reviews for more information, or have a look at our best large SUVs guide.

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