Audi’s new SQ8 flagship will land in local showrooms in April priced from $165,500 before on-road costs, $36,958 more expensive than the sole Q8 55 TFSI variant.
Powering the SQ8 is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8 that punches out 320kW/900Nm – the same powertrain found in its SQ7 seven-seat SUV sibling.
With drive sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, the SQ8 will accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, while its 48-volt mild-hybrid electric system keeps fuel consumption down to 7.8 litre per 100km.
Despite its large SUV status, the inclusion of all-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension and active anti-roll bars should make the SQ8 feel more like a hot hatch rather than a two-tonne high-rider.
Also included in the asking price is a sports bodykit, 22-inch wheels, Matrix LED headlights, red-painted brake callipers, aluminium-look exterior mirror caps, privacy glass, soft-closing doors and metallic paint.
Inside, occupants are treated to front sports seats, leather upholstery with diamond-pattern stitching, flat-bottom steering wheel and four-zone climate control.
Like the Q8, the SQ8’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-compatible multimedia system is displayed across two 10.1-inch touchscreens with haptic feedback, which also house climate control functions and seat heating.
Audi’s virtual cockpit all-digital instrumentation is also fitted the SQ8.
With a stylish sloping roof design and seating for five passengers, the Audi SQ8 will line-up against the $155,900 BMW X6 M50i and $145,470 Mercedes-AMG GLE43 Coupe – though its German rivals’ output 390kW/750Nm and 270kW/520Nm respectively from petrol powertrains.