Fuel-saving tech helps tame thirst of new petrol-V8 Audi SQ7 and SQ8 performance SUVs
AUDI Australia has launched its new SQ7 and SQ8 twin-under-the-skin performance-focused luxury SUV models this week, switching out the diesel engine for a twin-turbo petrol V8.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 TFSI engine produces 373kW and 770Nm in both the SQ7 and SQ8 offering more peak power and performance than the V8 diesel it replaces but with a whopping 56.4 per cent fuel consumption penalty.
Featuring in other Audi performance models in various states of tune – like the bonkers RSQ8 SUV and RS6 Avant hyper wagon – the new SQ7/SQ8 engine returns claimed combined fuel use figures of 12.2L/100km (SQ8) and 12.1L/100km (SQ7).
Both models will reach 100km/h in just 4.1 seconds, which is an impressive seven tenths quicker than the outgoing diesel-powered models that consumed 7.8L/100km (SQ8) and 7.2L/100km (SQ7) on the combined cycle.
Australia’s Green Vehicle Guide website calculates the annual fuel bill for a diesel SQ7 at $1987 and $3337 for the new petrol model (based on 14,000km driven per year at fuel prices averaged over the past quarter).
Carbon dioxide emissions grow from 190 grams per kilometre to 278g/km, moving from the Green Vehicle Guide’s “slightly worse than average” rating to “worse than average”.
When GoAuto spoke to Audi Australia product manager Matthew Dale at the local SQ7 and SQ8 launch in Victoria, he said the new engine is as efficient as it can be, noting that the S models are ultimately quite niche performance-focused vehicles.
“We’ve got Audi technology in the engine as well, so we can shut off an entire cylinder bank. That makes it extremely more efficient than what it would be without it.” he explained.
“Those technologies improve efficiency, performance, but the thing is it’s a performance SUV. It’s a sportscar at the end of the day, in SUV form. It does need to perform at a high-performance level.
“Putting those technologies in the car just shows we are improving efficiency but performance as well.”
Mr Dale went on to explain that the reason for the move to petrol power was largely performance-based.
“Dynamically the car is different, it feels different, it performs differently … having that lighter weight over the front axle, the dynamics have drastically changed versus the diesel,” he said.
“There’s more flexibility in the rev range as well, so the torque (of) 770Nm comes in at around 2000rpm, where the diesel came in at 1250rpm, but the flexibility in the petrol means you’ve got that torque band for a lot longer.”
Both models are available for order at Audi dealers now, and executives at Audi Australia confirmed wait times of around six months pending availability of extras ticked.
“The SQ7 and SQ8 TFSI represent a unique combination of sportscar performance in a full-sized, luxury SUV that has always struck a chord with Australian customers,” said Audi Australia director Jeff Mannering.
“The fact that large, luxury SUVs are capable of delivering this level of performance and handling is testament to Audi’s engineering prowess, and the level of appointment and finish mean that they deliver on all fronts.”
The SQ7 starts at $164,100 before on-road costs, and the SQ8 is priced from $168,800, representing a minor price increase for each.
For the extra $2600 (SQ7) and $7300 (SQ8) these models command over their predecessors, each packs a long list of standard inclusions.
Both models come standard with Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, all-wheel steering, and adaptive air suspension.
Exterior styling changes include ‘S’ badging and revised bumpers, grille, side sills, rear tailgate spoiler, Matrix LED headlights, dynamic rear indicators, 22-inch alloy wheels, and aluminium-look side mirrors.
A panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and heated side mirrors are included across the two models, while the SQ7 also gets power-assisted door closure and roof rails.
Inside, the two models gain premium Valcona leather upholstery with diamond-pattern stitching, and sport seats in the front with heating and electronic adjustability.
Technology in the cabin is top tier, with a 17-speaker, 730-watt Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, 10.1-inch infotainment screen and smaller 8.6-inch vehicle control screen.
On the safety front, the SQ7 and SQ8 have a comprehensive suite of collision avoidance and driver assistance technology, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go traffic jam assist, 360-degree cameras with kerb view, parking sensors all round, as well as pre-sense front and rear and lane-keep assist.
2022 Audi SQ7 and SQ8 TFSI pricing*:
SQ7 TFSI $164,100
SQ8 TFSI $168,800
*Pricing excludes on-road costs.
Read our SQ7 and SQ8 drive reviews below, where we put the new petrol-powered twin-turbo V8 variants through their paces.