Audi SQ7 review

Category: Sports SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Audi SQ7 2020 rear tracking
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RRP £78,180What Car? Target Price from£72,533
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The diesel V8 found under the vast bonnet of the previous-generation SQ7 was an absolute powerhouse of an engine and felt perfectly in keeping with the car’s continent-crushing demeanour. However, from the moment you thumb the starter button in the latest SQ7, and hear that characterful twin-turbocharged petrol V8 (an engine shared with the Porsche Cayenne GTS) rumble into life, all thoughts of the old engine are banished. 

Put your foot down, in any gear, and the engine’s mighty forward thrust is akin to surfing a tsunami wave. Maximum grunt is available from just 1800rpm and doesn’t let up until the power band takes over at 4100rpm. And that surge of power is only complimented by the silky-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. In the previous diesel SQ7, there was a noticeable lag when you put your foot down, but that has been ironed out – even around town, gear shifts are only perceptible by the change in engine tone.

Of course, there is no denying the SQ7 is a huge car, and you can certainly sense its heft when you steer left then right through an S-bend, but the way it handles and grips the road is deeply impressive for such a practical seven-seater. Granted, smaller Sports SUVs such as the Porsche Cayenne feel even more agile and involving, but compared to the top-heavy BMW X7 M50i, the SQ7 feels positively sprightly. 

Part of this is also down to the fact that all SQ7’s come with four-wheel steering; at slow speeds the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front ones, helping the big seven seater turn into tighter corners with the enthusiastic character of a hot hatchback, while on quicker sections the rear wheels turn in the same direction, boosting the SQ7’s stability. The steering itself is nicely weighted to give you confidence in what the front wheels are up to, although you do get more feedback in a Cayenne.

The standard fit adaptive sports air suspension has a selection of driving modes to soften or stiffen the set-up, helping to broaden the SQ7s repertoire. When you pop the suspension into its softest Comfort setting, ride quality is as good as it gets in a super-fast SUV. Yes, the regular Audi Q7 is even more supple, but the SQ7 still breezes over all manner of lumps and bumps. Even the Vorsprung model, which rolls on whopping 22in alloy wheels as standard, is remarkably comfortable, although it does pick up on surface imperfections a little more.

Sit at a steady 70mph and there is a little more roar from the fat tyres than you’d hear in a standard Q7, but the car suppresses tyre and wind noise incredibly well – better than a Cayenne and on a par with the limousine-like X7 M50i. And unlike the discontinued V8 diesel, the petrol V8 sounds fantastic at all speeds, be it when bumbling around town or when it’s right at the top of the rev range.

Audi SQ7 2020 rear tracking

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