A Seven-Seat SUV With Sports Car Performance – SQ7 From Audi
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The second generation Audi Q7 has been on sale for a couple of years and carries on the good work where its excellent predecessor left off.
The original model has become a familiar sight on UK roads and has been popular with affluent families looking for a large people-mover with go-anywhere capabilities and stylish good looks.
When the Q7 first burst onto the motoring scene back in 2005, it marked a bold step for Audi whose mainstream models were smart, yet conservative in design. The Q7 was big, bold and some would say brash. However the versatile interior, top notch Audi build quality and powerful, yet frugal diesel engines have ensured that sales have remained strong.
Indeed Q7 has been so successful that it marked the starting point for the ‘Q’ family which now encompasses 3 different SUV models, with more to come.
I rate the Q7 very highly and was intrigued by the introduction of a performance version, the SQ7. Irrelevant or a master stroke? I booked one from the Audi Press office and had a week to find out.
Let’s start with a few numbers. Under the bonnet sits a sonorous 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine producing a heady 435PS and boasting 900Nm of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the on-paper performance figures are quite staggering. The 0-62mph sprint time of 4.9 seconds would shame many sports cars, never mind a family-friendly SUV.
The SQ7 and I covered over 700 miles during our all too brief time together and the real world performance is electrifying. Even without resorting to ‘Sport’ mode on the gearbox, the merest twitch of the right foot is enough for snappy overtaking manoeuvres.
The many motorway miles covered were a delight in spite of the inclement weather. At a leisurely 70mph cruise, the big brute of an engine is barely ticking over and is remarkably frugal (34mpg). Wind and road noise are well muted too, even with the optional 21” alloy wheels.
The SQ7 is not all about straight line speed as I found out on some of Yorkshire’s finest A and B roads. Select ‘Dynamic’ on the Audi Drive Select menu and there’s fun to be had on the twisty stuff. I wouldn’t recommend any passengers on board as I doubt they would appreciate the experience...
The SQ7 corners remarkably flat and even on wet roads the quattro all-wheel drive system ensures there is traction and grip aplenty. There is also a little rear wheel steering to help things along. It feels a little odd until you get used to it, but it also has the benefit of improving the car’s turning circle.
The test SQ7 came with optional Ceramic Brakes. At very high speeds they certainly proved their metal, bringing the Audi to a halt swiftly and safety. However, when cold or wet they are a little unnerving as they need some heat to work effectively. Unless you drive everywhere like a complete loon, I’d save the £8,100 and spend it elsewhere.
As with all Q7 models, the cabin boasts three rows of comfortable leather-clad seats, the rearmost benefitting from a power folding mechanism for ultimate versatility. With all seats occupied, there is still some 770 litres of luggage space available, this rising to a gargantuan 1,955 litres if only a driver and one passenger are on board.
Large adults can be squeezed into the very back seats, but they are probably best left to younger occupants.
The driving position is spot-on, the vast range of electric seat adjustment sees to that and the commanding driving position is exactly what you would expect with this type of vehicle.
All SQ7 models are extremely well equipped, but Audi do offer a very tempting array of options for those with the deepest of pockets. The sepang blue test car boasted around £20,000 worth of choice goodies. I could live without most...
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Downsides.... a modest increase in fuel consumption and perhaps the price. However, as most private car sales are on a monthly Personal Contract Plan, a quick look at Audi’s website would suggest a £200 per month premium for an SQ7 over the basic model. A price worth paying in my book!
Fast Facts (as tested)
Audi SQ7 4.0 TDI quattro
Price - £72,320 (£94,650 with options)
435PS V8 4.0-litre TDI engine
900Nm of torque
Standard 8-speed tiptronic gearbox
0-62mph in 4.9 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Combined economy 37.2mpg
CO2 emissions 199g/km
Customer deposit £7,394
Monthly payment £844
10,000 miles per annum
36 month agreement
Optional final payment £42,433.65
A Seven-Seat SUV With Sports Car Performance – SQ7 From Audi, 28th December 2017, 14:31 PM