Audi hits jackpot

with SQ8

Audi SQ8, 2019, front
Audi SQ8, 2019, side
Audi SQ8, 2019, front
Audi SQ8, 2019, front, action
Audi SQ8, 2019, rear
Audi SQ8, 2019, interior
Audi SQ8, 2019, seats
Audi SQ8, 2019, console
Audi SQ8, 2019, boot
Audi SQ8, 2019, display screens
Audi SQ8, 2019, rear seats

WHO would pay the best part of £104,000 for an all-singing, all-dancing coupe inspired SUV with all the very latest high tech engineering and industry innovations available plus a cabin that simply oozes with absolute quality from top to bottom?

Well clearly there are people out there prepared to pay such vast amounts of cash for what is almost a unique car - and who can blame them so they can enjoy a motoring experience most of us would only dream about.

Step forward then the new Audi SQ8 Vorspung TDI quattro, now the flagship of the ever growing Audi Q range, which is a true state-of-the-art piece of machinery that will have Q fans dribbling at the mouth with its looks, on-board technology and outstanding performance.

If that £100,000-plus price is a tad too much for the bank balance then there's a slightly cheaper SQ8 TDI quattro at a mere £81,740.

Either way drivers certainly won't be disappointed in their identical performances because both have full, permanent four-wheel-drive and both have the same engine - a bit of a mind blowing 435ps twin turbo diesel capable of accelerating from 0 to 62mph in 4.8 seconds but with both having a limited top speed of 155mph.

All this delivered through a high tech eight-speed triptonic gearbox and with a model that is not so unfriendly in environmental terms with a CO2 of 205g/km and still capable of returning around the 30mpg mark on the combined fuel rating.

The five models in the Q range, which start at Q2 through to Q8, are continuing to win over new motorists and now account for over 30 per cent of all Audi's UK sales.

It's easy to see why because everyone brims with all the latest auto design and technology including engines and drivetrains that provide better performance, refinements and driving efficiency.

This SQ8 Vorsprung is the obvious icing on the cake as it were because it provides an exciting on-road performance with the highest power and torque plus best-in-class acceleration and clearly also a cut above any other model in the current Q range let alone rival makes.

Apart from the expected exceptional high level of comprehensive equipment on board paying for this Vorsprung model one gets all the bells and whistles which includes all-wheel steering, electromechanical active roll stabilising, quattro with sport differential and much more.

Sit inside and the cabin is another world too with everything a driver (and passenger) needs with exceptionally good, lumbar supporting seats, bags of head, elbow and leg room in both the front and rear seats.

The two front seats even have their own ventilation with a massage function too, subtle styling with plenty of leather trim, four choices of automatic climate control and on the remarkable list goes including a god panoramic glass sunroof.

For the driver easy to hand are all the latest driver assistance, safety and connectivity systems anyone could image and that includes the latest high tech stop-start system, predictive convenient starting, coasting function and energy recuperation.

There's an easy to use 10.1-inch touchscreen plus a lower 8.6-inch screen and all the controls and dials are ideally positioned and whilst it will obviously take a newcomer a little time to become fully acquainted with what does what once familiar with everything the driver will find it's a doddle driving such a big, powerful car.

It's all a far cry from the first Audi quattro I drove back in the late Eighties around the snow covered Bavarian Alps in a car which was quite revolutionary in its day with its five-cylinder, 2.1-litre turbocharged 200ps petrol engine under the bonnet providing then a quite unique driving experience.

This quattro became an iconic rally car with huge worldwide success particularly with a then young lady named Michele Mouton driving - and who I was fortunate to sit alongside - and see how it was driven properly around those winter clad twisty mountain roads - a wonderful, unforgettable experience

The rest, as they say, is history and here today with have the ultimate in quattro motoring with this Vorsprung model and with considerable more comfort and safety systems on board than its predecessor back in the Eighties.

So what's it like to drive this latest incarnation?

Yes exhilarating and most rewarding for the driver as one would expect but with two notable plus factors - first it's extremely civilised and easy to handle for such a large car and with such power available yet trundling around countryside roads and lanes and also in stop-start busy urban/city traffic it's all so easy and relaxing.

Naturally for the more sporty drivers once out on the open road there's the chance to use the paddle mounted gearchange to gain a full appreciation of the sporty pretensions of the car.

The second plus factor in my book is how remarkably quiet the diesel engine is even when accelerating hard and having that power comes in so quickly and quietly while the eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent with so swift and again quiet up and down gearchange.

Audi has come a long way in a comparatively short time in motor industry terms - where to next one wonders?

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