2021 Audi SQ8 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain and electrical system issues are the cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Introduced to the U.S. market in 2020, Audi’s high-performance SQ8 can rocket from zero to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds. These athletic SUVs have sporty gasoline engines, making them more like a sports activity vehicle than a sports utility vehicle. This super-SUV was launched in European markets in late 2020 before going on sale in the U.S. But now, owners are complaining that the auto engine stop/start feature doesn’t work properly and that there are issues with the MMI system.

Most Common Problems

The Audi SQ8 hasn’t been around for very long. The first records on file with the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) show no complaints or recalls for the initial 2020 model. But there are 320 manufacturer communications, including technical service bulletins (TSBs) that guide dealerships on how to tackle problems and faults when and if they occur.

Of these communications, which, by law, must be shared with the NHTSA, 140 relate to equipment and 95 to the electrical system. The rest are across the board and very varied, with 38 engine and engine cooling documents and 21 that relate to the structure of the SQ8.

The manufacturer and TSB numbers for the 2021 model are similar. A total of 337, with 163 about equipment of various types, 94 about the electrical system, and 34 dealing with engine and engine cooling issues. Additionally, 3 complaints have been filed by consumers and there are 4 recalls.

The powertrain, electrical system, and suspension are the subject of the complaints. The most common is a problem with the automatic engine stop/start feature.

The recalls don’t really correspond in terms of systems or components.

2021 Audi SQ8 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System


In a way it is reassuring when there is a recall due to a malfunction or some other problem that may increase the risk of fire and/or a crash or increase the risk of injury if the vehicle does crash. It means you are forewarned and can do something about it. But it is disturbing when customers receive recall notices and discover that the part to do the recall repair is not available.

The 4 recalls affecting the SQ8 were announced between May 12, 2021 and October 5, 2022.

  1. An engine cylinder bore surface may develop cracks that may cause engine damage and stalling or an oil leak. This increases the risk of a crash or fire. Only 15 vehicles are affected and Volkswagen (which manufactures Audi) will replace the engine free of charge.
  2. Seat belt locking retractors may malfunction. This would negate the safe use of the child restraint system.
  3. The rear axle of thousands of SQ8s may be misaligned. This can cause uneven or premature tire wear that will increase the risk of a crash.
  4. The rear view camera doesn’t display, which can reduce the driver’s rear visibility, also increasing the risk of a crash. Hundreds of thousands of Audis, including SQ8s, are affected.

It’s important for owners to respond to recalls to keep themselves and their vehicles safe.

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

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Rear Axle Complaint

The owner of a 2021 Audi SQ8 received a recall notification for NHTSA Campaign Number: 21V295000 (Suspension). However, the part to do the recall repair was not yet available.

Strangely though, this is a different rear axle recall to the one mentioned above. This one warns that the rear axle lock nuts may break rather than be misaligned. Also, the safety recall document doesn’t mention the SQ8, only the SQ5, Q8, and the RS Q8.

Problems with the Electrical System

The primary complaint from an owner in North Carolina is that the SQ8’s multi-media interface (MMI) system suddenly stops working. “This has happened multiple times and especially when it takes updates on its own.” When he called customer service, they referred him to the dealer “stating they cannot do anything. Right after my call with them, the car starts functioning back to normal.”

This is another example of a manufacturer being aware of a problem but either unable or unwilling to fix it. The complaint continues, saying that the “dealer mentioned Audi has received complaints about the new models being affected and is aware of the problem, but there is no software patch released yet. It’s dangerous to drive (this vehicle) as all functions are turned off including cameras, Bluetooth, collision warning, blind spot, lane departure, music, and more (except the engine running).”

Powertrain Problems

Two complaints are filed under the Powertrain category. The North Carolina owner quoted above also has an issue with the “auto engine stop function” of the 2021 Audi SQ8. “When you are at a red light with a complete stop and when the light turns green and you are ready to move, the car takes a second or two to get the engine started and pulls back a little. Also the transmission pulls rough at that time of start. I am not sure why this is happening. The car pulls back even when the auto engine stop function is turned off.”

An owner from Florida has similar issues, stating that the Audi SQ8 “features an automatic engine stop/start feature which is intended to enhance vehicle fuel economy.” The complaint details 3 issues:

  1. Multiple instances when slowing to a stop and the stop/start feature turned off the vehicle engine before the vehicle has come to a stop, leaving the vehicle to “coast” to a complete stop but without the aid of power steering, full braking capacity, and ordinary functionality of a running engine.
  2. One instance when parking and the stop/start feature turned off the vehicle engine in a drive aisle of a busy plaza parking lot. After the driver stopped, he had to move the transmission to reverse to be able to back into a parking space.
  3. Multiple failures to quickly start and permit the required fast acceleration. These were when the start/stop feature would not turn on the engine on-demand to permit the quick acceleration needed to safely cross a 2-lane roadway in front of approaching traffic from the opposite direction.

What to do if your 2021 Audi SQ8 is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Unfortunately, even the best of cars turn out to be lemons. The challenge, though, is to be able to identify the problems in terms of lemon law. If your 2021 Audi SQ8 has recurring problems that affect its value and use, it may be lemon. But it’s best to get advice from a reputable lemon law firm with lots of experience.

Lemberg Law has many years of experience handling lemon law cases, and we will assess your case free of charge. If we believe your claim has merit, we can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The law says that Audi must pay your legal fees for lemon law cases, so it’s not going to cost you a cent. Call our Helpline now or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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