Racing automobile know-how similar to light-weight carbon fibre or LED and laser lights developed in endurance racing finally filters right down to manufacturing automobiles. After all, now we have seen carmakers match preposterous motorsport-spec powertrains into street automobiles, too. One such instance was Audi’s V12 twinturbodiesel Q7 from 2008, an SUV that effectively and actually tore up the rulebook. Bored out by a further 500 cm3 to an enormous 6,0 litres, when Audi wasn’t busy shoehorning the identical V12 into the first-generation R8 to create the ludicrous R8 V12 TDI Idea, the oil burner from its triple Le Mans-winning R10 TDI racecar discovered an unlikely residence in Ingolstadt’s flagship SUV.
Audi’s goal with the R10 TDI was to showcase the business potential of turbodiesel know-how and, particularly, the longevity and effectivity of the motor, and there was no higher place to show it than the brutality of endurance racing at Le Mans.
13 years later, sporting 373 kW and 1 000 N.m no much less, the Q7 V12 TDI in query stays the world’s strongest turbodiesel manufacturing automobile. Allow us to run by the numbers: zero to 100 km/h in 5,50 seconds, prime pace electronically restricted to 250 km/h, and a kerb weight of two 635 kg. Extraordinary it could have been however rational it was not.
Quick ahead to at this time – a wildly completely different time with diesel kind of consigned to the historical past books and electrical automobiles the brand new paradigm – and there’s one other high-performance Audi diesel SUV available on the market: the SQ8. In some ways, it’s the non secular successor to the V12 TDI.
On paper, the SQ8 turns up with a complicated Volkswagen Group-sourced 4,0-litre V8 twinturbodiesel churning out 310 kW and 900 N.m. Positive, it’s not as highly effective because the outdated V12, however so far as energy density goes, these figures illustrate simply how far the know-how has superior within the intervening years.
For many, a diesel-powered Audi efficiency SUV takes some getting used to. Nevertheless, because the CAR workforce spent extra time with the SQ8, it turned obvious simply how far Audi has moved the goalposts. When it comes to a efficiency hierarchy, the SQ8 sits beneath the deeply spectacular flagship RS Q8 we examined in final month’s problem; and it outpaces the 45 TDI mannequin examined in October 2020, which has much less energy and torque than its V8 diesel brethren.
We’ve turn out to be accustomed to the Q8’s exterior design after a slew of Audi take a look at models, but it surely nonetheless garners loads of consideration from different street customers because of its imposing single-frame grille. Nearer inspection of the rear revealed two of the tailpipes to be pretend regardless of the 4 chrome-tipped exhaust shops. A wierd determination by Audi and the CAR workforce puzzled if that didn’t threat cheapening the bundle.
Just lately, Audi has leaned in the direction of tech-heavy interiors in upper-echelon fashions such because the A6, A7, Q7 and Q8. Once more, the center part is furnished with two giant touchscreens, measuring 10,1 and eight,6 inches respectively. There’s haptic suggestions as you navigate the highest infotainment display screen and the climate-control display screen, and the response might be tardy while you need to execute a button contact.
At a base value of R1 848 500, the SQ8 is provided with the highest infotainment system MMI Navigation Plus as normal. The carmaker maintains it exploits the complete potential of Audi Join such because the Car2X companies, which consist of ordinary security and repair options within the occasion of harm, breakdown or minor accidents.
Forward of the driving force is the usual Digital Cockpit Plus with S-specific views managed by way of the multifunction steering wheel. To focus on its sporty overtones, a number of completely different screens motifs might be activated, together with a efficiency look. On this mode, the instrument show shifts the main focus to the rev counter and offers the ability output and torque as percentages.
The inside is typical Audi fare: solidly constructed, neatly laid out and brimming with devices. Notable choices fitted to our take a look at unit included adaptive cruise management (R21 630) with pace limiter, effectivity help, swerve help and switch help. At R35 920, you may ignore the evening imaginative and prescient assistant until you’re going to do plenty of driving at the hours of darkness. Aside from that, the usual HD Matrix LED headlights with dynamic gentle design do a improbable job of illuminating the street forward.
On the security entrance, the SQ8 is fitted with the pre-sense security tech suite and our take a look at unit was fitted with pre-sense entrance (R6 150) that detects a car forward and applies the brakes robotically to keep away from a collision.
The CAR testers unanimously declared the creamy smoothness of the turbodiesel because the spotlight. It’s refined, punchy and, whereas low-down torque makes setting off a cinch, we did discover some turbo lag when miserable the throttle with gusto in the midst of the rev vary. In opposition to the clock, it laid down a formidable zero to 100 km/h dash time of 5,24 seconds. From 1 250 r/min, peak torque is channelled to the quattro all-wheel-drive system with aplomb. The eight-speed automated gearbox we’ve loved in a number of different fashions goes about its enterprise with easy precision. The engine and gearbox sing from the identical hymn sheet throughout overtaking. One or two clicks on the paddle shifters to seize a decrease gear and the two 046 kg SUV merely glides in the direction of the horizon imperiously.
Underpinning the cosseting journey is the three-chamber air suspension that syncs effectively with the automobile’s character, significantly within the Consolation setting. Different driving modes embrace Dynamic, Effectivity, Allroad, Off-road, and Particular person. Driving on optionally available 22-inch wheels with 285/40 Continental Sport Contact 6 rubber offers a big contact patch and aids its plush journey as a each day driver. Fitted with all-wheel steering, the SQ8 feels way more agile than it seems to be. It’s no Cheslin Kolbe, but it surely left us with the identical kind of disbelief as a Lions participant when the Springbok star glides previous them.
This diesel performer is all about reaching a vacation spot effortlessly. There’s loads of physique roll within the corners owing to its tall journey top, and the steering suggestions could be a little boring round centre, however specializing in these facets is lacking the purpose of the SQ8 fully.
A gas determine of 11,60 L/100 km was considerably greater than the claimed 8,30 L/100 km, however if you happen to issue within the SQ8’s weight, engine measurement and colossal output, we suppose it’s not overly heavy on the great things. Cylinder deactivation is fitted and assists in decreasing that determine barely.
Total, the spotlight of the SQ8 bundle is its silken V8 twin-turbodiesel. It’s the consummate each day driver that’s nice for a uncommon spirited driving when the event calls for it. In typical Audi style, perceived construct high quality and match and end are very good, and refinement is excessive with extremely low ranges of NVH. As a supremely snug SUV with a great deal of torque, its breadth of skills is barely amplified by the truth that it’s R500 000 cheaper than the RS Q8. As carmakers surge in the direction of electrification, automobiles just like the SQ8 will little question fade into the previous, and what a bittersweet notion that’s.
Value: R1 848 500
0-100 km/h: 5,28 seconds
High pace: 250 km/h
Energy: 310 kW
Torque: 900 N.m
CAR gas index: 10,00 L/100 km
CO2: 217 g/km