2024 Audi SQ8 makes public debut at Qatar motor show

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Redesign and trick new lights are part of the refresh for Audi’s flagship SUV.

The updated Audi Q8 has made its public debut in performance-focused SQ8 guise at the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar, ahead of sales in select markets beginning later this month.

Audi’s Q8 flagship SUV has gained wide-ranging technology upgrades, an improvement in perceived quality and a simpler exterior design.

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Following the lead of the recently updated Audi Q8 E-tron, the German brand’s BMW X7 rival is offered with subtle styling changes, including matrix LED lights, smoother surfacing, larger front air intakes for a more aggressive look and a new exhaust system that promises an enhanced engine note.

The most obvious visual tweak is the redesigned grille, which receives a new look specific to Audi’s flagship cars, featuring vertical inlays with a brushed aluminium effect. Meanwhile, higher-trim cars get colour-coded body trim for a more minimalist look.

Power comes from largely the same range of engines as before, with the hot SQ8 using the same 368kW 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 found in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Lamborghini Urus, with cylinder deactivation that allows it to run on four cylinders.

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To help give the car more of a brooding presence, the Q8’s headlights are available with redesigned matrix LEDs to make the front of the car look wider. The driver is able to choose between one of four ‘light signatures’ using the infotainment system.

They use 61 OLED segments (in place of the 10 on the smaller Q4 E-tron) and have the ability to provide specific warning signs to fellow road users and give a range of bespoke styles for each driver, or signatures.

The rear lights have also been restyled with gloss trim, with Audi’s new dechromed badge integrated into the light bar. The car has Audi’s Dynamic Light function, first introduced on the Q6 E-tron, which can depict a red triangular warning symbol on the rear lights, in combination with the hazard lights, to warn other drivers of obstructions.

Much as on the outside, changes have been kept to a minimum inside. The Q8 receives three new trim options: Sakhir Gold, Ascari Blue and Chili Red, all of which have a metallic finish. Five new alloy designs are available, ranging from 21in to 23in.

The car’s infotainment system is now able to run third-party apps for the first time, allowing the driver to stream services from Amazon Music or Spotify. The Audi virtual cockpit display has also been given sharper graphics.

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