Deep down, there aren’t many sports car enthusiasts who would turn down a Lamborghini Urus. However, given the car’s high price tag, not many shoppers will be able to afford one. Thankfully, Audi makes an attractive alternative, at least according to Car and Driver.
The Audi SQ8 was just released for this model year – a slightly ramped-up version of the Audi Q8 SUV. It’s still not a cheap car by any means, starting at around $90,000. However, considering that the Lambo Urus retails for over $200,000, the Audi SQ8 is relatively affordable.
Driving the Audi SQ8
The Audi SQ8 is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 capable of 500 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque. That’s a big upgrade over the V6 offering in the regular Q8, which only makes around 335 hp. It also comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard Quattro all-wheel-drive.
The SQ8 is pretty quick off the starting line, clocking a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds. According to C/D, the car never loses its momentum, even when it’s rounding corners or navigating around parking lots. It comes with Comfort and Dynamic drive mode settings, as well as the option to personalize it for different drivers.
C/D noted that while driving in Dynamic mode is wickedly fun, the Comfort setting provides more intuitive steering. The suspension has no problems absorbing bumps in the road, and Dynamic mode only slightly stiffens the ride quality.
Car and Driver also recommends upgrading to the Prestige trim, which gets you a rear differential and active anti-roll bars. These bars are aided by electric motors to keep the long SUV perfectly planted to the road. The SQ8 already comes with adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, and air springs.
The cabin is also very comfortable, even by luxury SUV standards. C/D appreciated the leather upholstery and the unique stitching pattern on the seats. The center stack comes with two touchscreen displays, which might be a bit distracting for some drivers.
How it matches the Lamborghini Urus
The Urus is also powered by a twin-turbo V8, but this one can make 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. It’s also faster than the Audi SQ8 by a full second. However, C/D notes that most drivers probably won’t miss the extra horsepower.
The center stack looks nearly identical to the one inside the Audi SQ8. The Lambo’s interior is unsurprisingly more upscale compared the SQ8, with faux-suede accents on the seats and standard carbon-fiber trim. C/D also noted that the Urus has more interior cubby space than the Audi SQ8.
On the track, the Lamborghini Urus holds the record as the fastest SUV ever tested by C/D. Its cornering prowess is unmatched and testers were surprised by the stellar grip of the available Pirelli tires. Any potholes on the road are either absorbed by the suspension or ignored altogether thanks to its enhanced ground clearance.
What else does the Audi SQ8 have to offer?
The Audi SQ8 is also a good daily driver thanks to its refined brakes and efficient stop-start ignition technology. It’s got below-average gas mileage for an SUV, but that’s probably not a dealbreaker for performance-minded buyers. It has plenty of space for both cargo and passengers, and the air suspension allows you to lower the loading floor.
The Audi SQ8’s incredible performance and modern cabin make it a well-balanced vehicle. It really does give drivers a feeling of racecar-quality driving without having to shell out an extra $100,000. It’s not quite on the level of a Lamborghini Urus, but the Audi SQ8 is still pretty darn good.