Though based on its sister model the Q8 e-tron, the SQ8 has some extra visual cues to its flagship status. A new singleframe grille, prominent new bumpers front and rear and flared wheel arches housing 21” alloys (22” optional) give it a poised and powerful presence, while the SQ8-specific suspension also means it sits a little lower too. The black styling pack comes as standard, as do black brake callipers with the Audi S logo. There are two SQ8 body styles – the SUV and the coupé-like Sportback. While the SUV wins on storage space at the back - 569 litres versus 528 litres – the Sportback ekes a few extra miles out of every charge courtesy of its more aerodynamic shape. Both models deliver improved aero performance compared with their predecessors.


The SQ8 e-tron models are powered by three electric motors. The front electric motor cuts in within fractions of a second in for extra traction or full acceleration, but in normal operation two rear electric motors power the Audi, apportioning power between the two rear wheels via torque vectoring. With 500bhp and 950Nm of torque, performance is sensational – the 0-62mph sprint takes just 4.5 seconds. Equally significant is the improved battery capacity and range; the SQ8’s 106kW battery can be charged at up to 170kW, giving it a range of up to 284 miles for the SUV and up to 295 miles for the more aerodynamic Sportback. At a rapid 170kW DC charger the SQ8 can be charged from 10% to 80% battery capacity in just over half an hour. Audi has also tweaked the chassis settings, with a quicker ratio steering rack and stiffer suspension bearings for more responsive handling with no loss of refinement.


Audi’s digital Virtual Cockpit replaces conventional instruments, showing key data such as speed, navigation, and infotainment as well as an e-tron mode showing range and charging details. A fully configurable head-up display projects information onto the driver’s view of the road ahead. For infotainment, Audi’s MMI high-resolution displays – the upper 10.1-inch display and the lower 8.6-inch display – replace conventional switches and knobs, while natural voice commands are an alternative to the touchscreen interface. The SQ8 e-tron comes with the Audi Technology Pack; this includes 705W Bang & Olufsen sound system, multi-colour interior ambient lighting pack, Park Assist with Parking Aid Plus, and 360 parking camera. Matrix LED headlights are standard while the top of the range Vorsprung includes Digital Matrix LED headlights with adaptive light distribution and dynamic indicators. As with all e-tron models, you can check range, lock and unlock, monitor charging status and send navigation details to the SQ8 remotely via the myAudi app.


The SQ8 e-tron has round 40 driver assistance safety systems. With up to five radar sensors, five cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors monitor the vehicle’s environment, with the data analysed by a central driver assistance control unit. Systems include lane departure warning, camera-based traffic sign recognition, rear-view camera and parking system with 360 sensors.