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Audi SQ8

Source: Audi / Volkswagen Group

“Is that you?!”

That’s what the guy standing in front of me at the parking garage said in complete shock and awe as the attendant brought the shiny 2020 Audi SQ8 up to me on a random weeknight. I laughed at how taken he was by the SUV.

“It’s me, yes, but it’s not mine,” I replied in a bashful, let-me-not-play-myself way. “I’m testing out the car for a few days.”

“Well that’s a serious car to test,” he replied, adopting the “SQ8” on the back of the truck to memory. He gave me one last “wheeeeew!” before I pulled out of the garage in the Navarra Blue metallic car into the night.

He was the first stranger to ask me about the car, but he wouldn’t be the last. In just a week of driving around Brooklyn and Long Island, I had people ask me about the model year, be startled by the way the vehicle growls when you push to start, or just mouth “It’s nice” as I stopped at traffic lights. I’m sure they all had eyes for the sports car as something to really turn heads in, but my plan was to test it as a family vehicle.

Audi SQ8

Source: Audi / Volkswagen Group

That’s right. Who says clunky SUVs and minivans are the only proper way for a family to travel? Why can’t a car with attitude that you can have fun on the road in also serve a greater purpose? While I would have loved to zip around the city in the car at all times of the day and night just because, as I would usually do when testing most vehicles, I was taking precious cargo with me this time: my infant son. Sports car or not, I needed something that would allow for a car seat, take me to big and small locations (long-distance trips vs grocery and milk runs), give me enough room for impromptu diaper changes and feedings, and allow for a smooth ride even on bumpy roads to keep a 5-month-old asleep.

The SQ8 delivered what I needed. The car drives unbelievably smooth, and when in regular drive mode, cautiously. There is no pulling off fast at red lights. And speaking of red lights, its dashboard tech allowed for you to know how long you would likely be sitting at the red light in front of you. That was important when dealing with an impatient baby. The car easily allowed for child seat mounting, and the illuminated LED lighting inside the car also helped me to keep an eye on my son without disturbing him during a ride. The spacious trunk could easily hold strollers and whatever else necessary during a brief road trip. Also, the car is comfortable for all, with its leather, fancy sports seats, and ability to control the climate system for passengers in the front and back. It was also very cozy for me as the driver, giving me immense leg room for longer rides. The headroom was also a nice change from the cars I’m used to.

It also delivered an experience I didn’t know I needed.


Source: VO / Personal Image

When I was looking to hit the road for a few hours to enjoy a pumpkin patch on Halloween and had to change destinations due to a time crunch, the tech system allowed me to quickly track down other options just by saying them. You can charge your phone underneath the armrest (or “phone box”) while still utilizing it, whether you use Apple CarPlay or just Bluetooth. One of my favorite things was that the sound system has some incredible bass to help you totally zone out for a longer trip.

When you want to spice up your ride, you can switch to driving in sport mode and really get moving, going from 0 to 60 within 5 seconds. No more hesitation at red lights in that mode, and with the opportunity to go wild on the highway thanks to a brisk acceleration, you’ll feel like you’re Bubba Wallace behind the wheel as the car purrs along. The SQ8, and its open panoramic sunroof, provided serious adventure. I had not had much of it since I was stuck in the house most of the year with a baby.

It’s also a beauty, as you can see. From the high gloss color, to the leather paneling inside to the tailpipes that let you know the car means business, there was a reason all eyes were on it during my short time behind the wheel. Even the contour customizable lighting makes a ride at night feel even more high-tech and, for lack of a better word, cool. But most importantly to my mission to make this a family car, the SQ8 definitely makes one feel safe in it. The sensors and cameras help you stay clear of any issues or incidents. Also, the windows on my model were tinted. And you get a full view of your surroundings, front, back and overhead when you park.

I’m aware of the fact that we’re in a pandemic and many people probably aren’t in the market for a car that starts around $89,000, takes premium gas (though the car didn’t eat up fuel quickly) and dominates the streets. But car sales have surged in this time, as people needed to create their own adventures and avoid public transportation, as well as crowds. What better adventure than hitting the road in the gorgeous SQ8? It’s a fantastic large SUV, but also one meant to perform in whatever way you want it to. You can handle day-to-day business or go for the ultimate ride with a ferocious V8 engine that is capable of producing 500 horsepower (and doing 130 mph, but you didn’t hear that from me…). It’s a flashy but functional vehicle for those who are seeking such a multifaceted driving experience, allowing it to be a car for fun, and for family.

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