Twin-turbo V8 power propels the SQ8 diesel from 0-100km/h in a sportscar-like 4.8 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED
Twin-turbo V8 power propels the SQ8 diesel from 0-100km/h in a sportscar-like 4.8 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fancy a diesel SUV that’s almost powerful enough to affect the Earth’s rotation but sips a reasonable amount of fuel?

Audi’s SQ7 should do the trick, or if you prefer a swoopier shape, its coupe-shaped SQ8 cousin.

Both these super-SUVs are powered by a 4.0l, V8 turbo diesel engine with a power output of 310kW and, even more impresssively, 900Nm of torque — the latter figure putting many a sports car to shame.

The diesel titans are now available in SA in very limited numbers as a once-off launch opportunity, with the SQ7 TDI quattro priced at R1,679,500 and the SQ8 TDI quattro at R1,848,500, with an included fiveyear Audi Freeway Plan.

The twin-turbo V8 accelerates both models from zero to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, and onto an electrically governed 250km/h top speed.

Depending on the equipment, the SQ7 TDI consumes about 8.7l of fuel per 100km and the SQ8 TDI a slightly more frugal 8.3l, says Audi. These low factory-claimed figures are unlikely to be attainable in real-world driving, but the diesel Audis should still quaff far less fuel, and emit less CO2, than petrol SUVs of similar power.

The two vehicles are mechanically identical, with eight-speed tiptronic transmissions and quattro, permanent all-wheel drive to put the power down. The quattro system, by default, distributes power from the front to the rear in a 40/60 split, but depending on driving conditions it can send up to 70% to the front or 85% to the rear.

Sporting luxury inside the Audi SQ7. Picture: SUPPLIED
Sporting luxury inside the Audi SQ7. Picture: SUPPLIED

Adaptive air suspension is able to vary the ride height by up to 90mm, and there is optional all-wheel steering to increase agility and manoeuvrability.  

The Audi drive select system offers seven driving profiles for road and offroad, though forays into the dirt are likely to be limited on the 21-inch tyres, or optionally even more low-profile 22-inchers for the SQ7 and 23-inchers for the SQ8.

As the sporting range-toppers of the diesel line up, the duo’s sporting plumage includes double slats in the single-frame grille, a 3D blade in the bumper, and honeycomb grids for the side air inlets.

Aluminium-look side-mirror housings and a quartet of tailpipes complete the athletic look, while an optional black styling package can be ordered.

Interior fare includes seats upholstered with top-quality Valcona leather with inlays of brushed aluminium, and ambient lighting offers a choice of 30 colours.

State-of-the-art infotainment comprises an MMI touch response control system with two large displays, and respond with haptic and acoustic feedback to finger inputs.

A third seat row is available for the Audi SQ7, and both modes can be ordered with an optional head-up display and a 1,920W Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system.

HD Matrix LED headlights are standard on the Audi SQ8, illuminating the road with maximum brightness without blinding other traffic.

If the car is driven by multiple drivers, up to six users can save their individual settings — from frequently selected destinations to their preferred lighting — in separate profiles. The data is uploaded to the customer’s myAudi account in the cloud and stored there for their access via the app. The car adjusts the individual settings automatically when the driver’s door is opened.

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