Audi’s range of ‘S’ performance cars has just received a new member in the form of the SQ8.

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Based on the standard Q8 coupe SUV, the SQ8 slides in at the top of the S performance tree, joining the related SQ7.

Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 diesel engine, producing 320kW of power and a mammoth 900Nm of torque. It’s aided by a 48-volt mild hybrid system, which spins an electric compressor that assists the turbochargers at low revs and speeds up to 23km/h.

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Drive is sent to all four wheels through a rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. Audi claims it can cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds, and achieve an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.

Underneath the SQ8’s body lies a number of changes to improve its corner carving capabilities, including lower, stiffer air suspension and a range of drive modes. Look to the options list, and you can add rear-wheel steering, a limited-slip rear differential and active anti-roll bars.

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Styling changes over the standard Q8 are relatively minor, and consist of sportier bumpers, rear diffuser, quad exhaust tips and 21-inch alloy wheels. 22-inch rims are available as an option, so are LED matrix headlights, red brake calipers and carbon-ceramic brakes.

Inside, there’s a pair of S-branded leather and Alcantara trimmed sports seats, along with aluminium pedals and carbon fibre inserts.

The diesel-powered Audi SQ8 goes on sale in Europe later in 2019.

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