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Used test: Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6 vs Range Rover Velar

These luxury SUVs are fast, spacious and ooze desirability, but is the Audi SQ7, BMW X6 or Range Rover Velar the best used buy?...

Range Rover Velar vs Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

The contenders

Audi SQ7 4.0 TDI quattro

List price when new £72,895
Price today £45,000*
Available from 2016-present

The SQ7 seemingly has it all: space, pace and quality

BMW X6 xDrive40d M Sport

List price when new £61,720
Price today £35,000*
Available from 2014-present

The X6 looks to be amazing value in this company, but is there a catch?

Range Rover Velar D300 HSE

List price when new £68,110
Price today £42,000*
Available from 2017-present

The Velar will make you feel like a celebrity, but is it all show and no go?

*Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Ironic, isn't it? The Range Rover Velar, despite its eye-catching design and potent road presence, takes its name from the Latin 'velare', or 'to hide' – a title first given to secret Range Rover prototypes in the Sixties.

To add to this contrast, you'll see it here in premium HSE trim, with a peppy V6 diesel engine. In fact, everything about this luxury SUV screams big-budget, although its used prices aren't as unreasonably high as you might think.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

BMW knows a thing or two about building striking SUVs, too. Its BMW X6 has been dividing opinions ever since the first-generation X6 arrived back in 2008. But love or loathe its looks, there’s no doubt the X6 is a capable car, especially the punchy six-cylinder 40d we’re testing here in range-topping M Sport form.

Our third competitor is more conventional in shape but still desirable. The SQ7 is the pinnacle of the Audi Q7 range and comes fitted with a sledgehammer of a 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine, plus some clever tech to make it go harder and corner faster. It’s slightly larger than the Velar and has two more seats, so it represents a serious amount of car for the money.

BMW X6 rear

Which of these three used luxury SUVs is our top pick? Read on to find out.


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Try as we might, we couldn’t launch the Velar from standstill to 60mph as quickly as the official performance figures suggest is possible. Still, it offers enough low-down pull and outright pace to pass slow-moving traffic on motorways and fast A-roads with ease.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

The X6 isn’t much more powerful than the Velar, but acceleration is noticeably more urgent, and its 0-60mph time was 1.5sec quicker. Both cars have eight-speed automatic gearboxes, but the X6’s is better tuned. It hesitates less when you pull away from junctions, and flicks between gears more responsively when you engage manual mode by pulling the paddles behind the steering wheel.

Neither car can match the outrageous performance of the SQ7, though. Despite it being the heaviest of our trio, its monstrous twin-turbocharged V8 propelled it to 60mph in just 4.5sec – a time many sports cars would struggle to match. The SQ7’s engine and gearbox work brilliantly together too, with the gearbox kicking down swiftly when asked and swapping gears smoothly when you’re just mooching about.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

The SQ7, which has standard four-wheel drive, also dominates in corners, where it genuinely handles like a car half its size and weight. Its steering isn’t the most feelsome, but it’s always precise and the car feels remarkably eager to turn in to corners. The clever active anti-roll bars (part of Audi’s optional Dynamic Pack) help prop up the SQ7’s vast body on twisty roads to prevent it from leaning over on to its door handles, as it looks as though it should. Thankfully, none of that comes at the expense of low-speed manoeuvrability.

The X6 feels rather ordinary in such esteemed company, but it handles quite well by wider luxury SUV standards. Its steering is more communicative than the SQ7’s but not as accurate, and there’s more body lean to contend with in corners. The X6’s slower steering means more arm work is required to thread your way around urban backstreets, too.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

The Velar is certainly the least comfortable with sudden changes of direction. Its body sways the most and its steering doesn’t tell you a huge amount about what the front tyres are doing. Hold your nerve, though, and it will grip the road for longer than you might think. The fact that it’s the smallest of our trio makes the Velar the most wieldy around town.

There’s more good news when it comes to the Velar’s ride quality. The car wafts along on its standard air suspension, soaking up most bumps remarkably well – especially at high speeds. The SQ7 rides in an even more sophisticated fashion, though, managing low-speed imperfections more adroitly and staying just as settled as the Velar on a motorway. In this company, the X6’s ride quality fails to impress – it’s the least composed over ruts and potholes and jostles you around the most at speed, although it’s still far from uncomfortable.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

Some tyre and suspension noise spoils the Velar’s otherwise peaceful interior at low speeds. The X6 and SQ7 are closely matched in town, both proving slightly quieter than the Velar, although the SQ7 is the most hushed at a steady 70mph cruise and has the smoothest engine. Meanwhile, the X6 has the gruffest engine and is the noisiest on the motorway, mainly because it generates the most wind noise.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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