The Audi SQ7 and SQ8 are, let's face it, among the more outwardly evil-looking cars in the German luxury marque's lineup. All glowering headlamps and towering muscle mass. Plenty of people, looking at the diesel V8 engine in the front, would have agreed with the evil assessment, so now Audi has attempted to placate those people with a petrol alternative.
507hp twin-turbo V8
That petrol alternative is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 TFSI engine with 507hp and 770Nm of torque. In both the big 4x4s, that's sufficient to shove them from rest to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds. Accelerating from 80 to 120km/h takes just 3.8 seconds. Top speed for both cars is electronically limited to 250km/h.
Now, Audi makes much of this engine's clever cylinder shut-down tech, that closes off the fuel flow to some cylinders under light throttle loads, so as to maximise fuel economy, but even so, this is one thirsty unit. Audi quotes fuel consumption figures, for both cars, of 12.0 to 12.1 litres per 100km (that's 23mpg). CO2 emissions range from 275 to 278g/km, so enjoy your €2,350 annual motor tax bill.
The engine is pretty clever, though. The two twin-scroll turbos are mounted in a hot-vee layout, inside the vee of the engine, which makes for faster responses. The sports exhaust gets controlled actuators to make the most of the V8's inherent thunder (Inherent Thunder would be a GREAT name for a Bruce Willis movie) and there are active engine mounts to cut down on vibrations being passed through the body.
Active anti-roll bars
These being fast Audis, both the SQ7 and SQ8 get quattro four-wheel drive, and both use the same eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox. The chassis of both cars are also replete with high-tech handling aids. Those include rear-wheel steering which turns the rear wheels by as much as 5 degrees in the opposite direction, which improves agility and reduces the turning circle. At speeds of 60km/h and above, they turn slightly in the same direction for improved stability at higher speeds and during fast changes of direction.
There's also adjustable air suspension, which has adaptive dampers and an electromechanical active roll stabilisation (eAWS). When driving straight ahead, the system, which actuates the anti-roll bars via electric motors, and improves ride comfort when you're not cornering hard. It also reduces roll during fast cornering, of course. There's also an active diff which can torque vector the engine's power between the rear wheels.
All of that is tied together by the electronic chassis platform (ECP), through which the driver can select from seven driver profiles through the Audi Drive Select system: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, offroad and individual.
Wheel sizes up to 23 inches
Needless to say, both the SQ7 and SQ8 come with what we understand are known as 'murdered out' wheels - 20-inch rims are standard on the SQ7, with optional 22s, while the SQ8 gets standard 21-inch wheels, with an option of as much as 23 inches under the arches. The standard steel brakes are massive 400mm rotors, but you can upgrade them to carbon-ceramic discs which come with anthracite grey calipers.
Audi Ireland hasn't announced prices for the two cars yet, but the SQ7 costs €93,287 in Germany and the SQ8 costs €101,085 in ditto. So, y'know, not cheap. Stock up on lottery tickets.