Back in November, Audi revealed the RS Q8, a 600 horsepower, fire-spitting monster of an SUV. It’s so brutally fast, in fact, that it broke the lap record for SUVs at the Nurburgring. Not only is it fast but it’s incredibly aggressive looking and likely a bit stiff and sharp to drive. So if you want a fast Audi SUV but also don’t want something that extreme, the four-ringed brand might have something else for you — the Audi SQ8.
New to North America, the SQ8 is a halfway point between the standard Q8 and the extreme RS Q8. So rather than having 591 hp (600 in QuattroDaily maths), the Audi SQ8 only makes 500 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, from its 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8.
That halfway power figure also comes with a halfway price tag. While pricing for the RS Q8 hasn’t been revealed for North America just yet, it’s going to start at well over $100,000, as the RS7 Sportback has a $114,000 starting price and the RS Q8 is bigger and more luxurious. However, the more humble Audi SQ8 starts at $89,000, which is more palatable.
With that starting price, the SQ8 comes with perforated, heated and ventilated Valcona leather seats, a heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof. It also gets the same Touch Response MMI system and touchscreen climate controls as the standard Q8, as well as Audi’s newest Virtual Cockpit. A Bang & Olufsen 3D Surround Sound system is standard but a 3D “Advanced” surround sound system, with 19 speakers and 1,820 watts, is optional.
If you want to opt for the Prestige package, the Audi SQ8 jumps up to $94,500, which is a lot. However, it’s a lot of car. The Q8 model line is far more practical than it looks, with a massive back seat and surprisingly big trunk. So you’re getting a genuine family vehicle in addition to a monster performance machine.