Six-figure efficiency crossovers just like the 2020 Audi SQ8 don’t compromise. These crossbreeds promise the beneficiant cargo room of an SUV with sports activities automobile dealing with and near-supercar acceleration. The SQ8 provides luxurious automobile touches akin to massaging seats and linked automobile expertise that works higher than Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

New for 2020 and delayed by the pandemic like the remainder of humanity, the SQ8 is the understated efficiency crossover, not like the Lamborghini Urus or Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. Subtlety may be enticing. The SQ8 boasts a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 but it surely doesn’t thunder by way of the neighborhood; the quick roofline shoots the breeze with out an ungainly coupe-like reduce that trims rear head room; and the design lacks the hood scoops, racing stripes, and large air intakes worn by different efficiency crossovers asserting their intention to the world. 

Lurking inside that refined if not sedate model is a blistering beast that appears simply as at dwelling taking the children to church because it does praying to God whereas hitting 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Herein lies the problem. The efficiency crossover premise holds that it’s extra affordable to shell out an additional $25,000 on one car than to purchase each an SUV and a sport sedan.

The SQ8 prices about $90,000 to the Q8’s $78,000, and my tester completed at greater than $107,000. Damping that price-performance commerce off was actuality. My week-long mortgage was bookended by snowstorms totaling greater than 20 inches and strung out between sub-zero temps that made me envy Han Solo’s carbonite tomb as a result of he didn’t must take care of wind chill.

2020 Audi SQ8

Whereas these had been suboptimal circumstances to check the grip of 21-inch wheels on all-season tires (22-inch summer time efficiency tires are a no-cost possibility) spun by as much as 568 lb-ft of torque, I drove it in circumstances many driver’s face when actuality slaps the sunny face of idealism. 

The SQ8 comes with all-wheel drive that sends 60% of torque to the rear wheels. My tester had the optionally available $5,900 Sport package deal that features an energetic anti-roll bar powered by a 48-volt battery—a system I didn’t actually get to check. It additionally had a torque-vectoring rear differential I ended up testing for a special sort of grip than meant. 

One evening, when new snow lined a sheet of ice on my suburban aspect streets, I goosed the throttle for a bit of kick on a curve. The steadiness management system braked the within wheel and shuttled torque to the surface wheel, and the rear differential kicked in to stop me from reliving my teen years. Within the snow, the SQ8 was too steady, too good, and instilled confidence once I picked up the children later because the snow deepened. The usual rear-axle steering additionally enabled extra precision at low speeds for parking by successfully shortening the wheelbase. 

That’s to not say there wasn’t an opportunity for enjoyable. Small paddle shifters helped modulate freeway maneuvers, however the easy 8-speed automated did it fantastic by itself. On straight shot on-ramps in Dynamic mode, when the usual adaptive air suspension lowered, the SQ8 reared again on carry off like a rear-drive sports activities automobile, partially due to the 40/60 rear-axle bias of the all-wheel-drive system. 

2020 Audi SQ8

2020 Audi SQ8

2020 Audi SQ8

2020 Audi SQ8

2020 Audi SQ8

2020 Audi SQ8

The dual-turbo V-8 shrugged off the SQ8’s portly 5,324-pound weight as easily as our heroes escaping Jabba the Hut. When I discovered a patch of dry pavement and goosed it, the well mannered, composed 500-hp V-8 unbuttoned right into a howl that overwhelmed the senses till I glanced on the velocity on the head-up show.  

That show is a part of the $5,500 Status trim package deal that features driver-assistance options akin to adaptive cruise management that may restart from a cease in visitors, but in addition maintains an affordable distance at freeway cruising. The system is straightforward to make use of and shares the load on longer journeys with sufficient hands-free driving to let the driving force stretch the arms. 

Consolation was by no means a problem within the SQ8, whereas some efficiency crossovers can experience stiff sufficient to rethink lengthy journeys. In Consolation mode, the air suspension helped take in street seams and relaxed the steering suggestions. Largely, the consolation got here from entrance seats shod in quilted pink leather-based. The tester had massaging entrance seats with controls hid in a dial on the seat base. The massaging operate may be adjusted by way of the 8.6-inch heart touchscreen that sits beneath the ten.1-inch touchscreen for media and navigation, but it surely was faster to achieve down and twist. 

2020 Audi SQ8

2020 Audi SQ8

The decrease 8.6-inch touchscreen replaces conventional local weather management bars however I’m not satisfied it’s higher. Haptic suggestions offered button-like affirmation, and it was easy to regulate air path from the glossy band of vents that headline the dashboard, however all that reflective gloss black bought smudged and dials will at all times be faster to blast the warmth. 

Contemplate these nits picked, nevertheless, as a result of Audi’s infotainment is the most effective available on the market. Audi’s MMI navigation system is likely one of the few native techniques I want over Apple CarPlay, with its crystal-clear Google Earth 3D show that may be carried over to the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. With curler dials and a view button on the steering wheel, it’s straightforward to make use of, and simpler to configure what you wish to see based mostly on the way you’re driving; watching the horsepower and torque energy bars mild up by no means will get outdated.

Regardless of all that efficiency and expertise, I might match my daughter’s goalie hockey bag within the cargo space without having to place down the 60/40-split rear seats. No compromise.

The SQ8 doesn’t squeeze in a 3rd row just like the Audi Q7 and it doesn’t arc the roof to faux to be a coupe. The built-in rear roof spoiler begins over the rear wheel, so the rear window sits at a 45-degree angle, however the decrease half is roomy sufficient to carry 30.5 cubic ft of smelly gear or 60.7 cubic ft with the seats folded down. That’s about 9 cubic ft lower than the longer Q7.

In order for you extra efficiency in your crossover, there’s no query the SQ8 is definitely worth the $20,000 upcharge. The query is how a lot efficiency you need as a result of Audi has an much more excessive selection. The RS Q8 ratchets that V-8 to 591 hp, and cuts the 0-60 mph time to three.7 seconds, but it surely provides one other  $25,000 to the value of the SQ8. 

Given the variable nature of how we reside and drive, the 2020 SQ8 delivers that no compromise mixture of efficiency and utility with out barking for consideration.

Audi offered Motor Authority per week within the 2020 SQ8 to convey you this firsthand report.