MHH International Drives The Mighty Audi SQ7
It’s mighty. Mighty powerful, mighty comfortable and we love it, mightily. The Audi SQ7 TDI is the German brand’s most powerful SUV to date. The regular Q7 is great but this, the sportiest and most expensive version in the range, weighs in like a heavyweight boxer at 2.2 tonnes yet goes like a lightweight racehorse whilst sipping fuel like a parsimonious priest.
A Good Time On The Road
It really is possible to have a good time in an SUV. Certainly, this is not a vehicle for slinging about down tiny country lanes like a trim little sports car, but when the road opens up it is hard to beat.
Buyers (and remember that the car as featured here fully option-loaded costs 86,000 UK Pounds) should opt for the carbon-ceramic brakes to counteract the SQ7’s sheer momentum. Nevertheless, for such a big beast this car handles well, the steering weighting up nicely as the speed increases. Drivers can choose comfort settings through the usual Audi ‘Drive Select’ feature, which in this case also offer a couple of off-road or all-road options. For cruising, Comfort is fine with the 8-speed automatic gearbox nestled into standard Drive mode.
Things change when Sport mode is selected on the gearbox and Dynamic on the suspension and steering settings. The engine emits a proper old-school V8 rumble that is quietly addictive. This builds as the throttle is floored and suddenly, amazingly, the driver will see the digital dial pass the legal speed limit like a hare past a tortoise. Astonishing; and it’s all down to this very special engine.
This 8-pot special is a 4.0 litre and it merits our attention. Alongside twin sequential turbochargers, the engine uses a special type of forced induction that is new to the production line: an electrically powered compressor. It’s not a turbocharger, it’s not a supercharger, it is as described, a compressor, and it has one purpose – to eliminate turbo lag. It works, filling in while the turbos spool up.
This driver tried accelerating at speed in eighth gear without using kick-down. There was just a hint of hesitation before the car accelerated toward the horizon. Kick-down first, or use the manual gearbox option with the paddles, and you’re going faster than my credit card balance in my daughters’ hands. In fact, the paddles feel pretty much superfluous. In Sport mode the gearbox reacts instantly of its own volition. 429bhp should be enough for any petrolhead and the shove from 900Nm of torque has to be felt to be believed. The sprint to 62mph from rest takes just 4.9 seconds, incredible for a car the size of the Taj Mahal.
On The Inside
The brilliant Audi Virtual Cockpit offers navigation on the rising touchscreen and, if required, on the dashboard readout AND in the heads-up display. Highly adjustable sports seats with sumptuous leather upholstery, keep everyone sitting pretty. The rear seats rise out of the boot floor and are perfect for children. With the third row down the boot is huge and even with them up there’s room for the weekly shop.
As is well known, Audi interiors are second to none and no detail is overlooked. The dashboard is pleasingly understated. That’s a good thing. Honestly, you can’t fault it.
Should I Buy One?
Positively, if you can afford it. The Audi SQ7 is hugely expensive, even over the regular Q7, but buyers do get a lot for the money it must be said. Fortunately, good used examples are starting to appear. Audi cars have shown themselves to be reliable but, in this case, the sheer complexity of the vehicle means that when something does go wrong it could be an expensive fix.
This does not in any way detract from the fact that this is one of the best cars available at any price.