TFSI 507PS Black Edition
Americans have a saying
no substitute for cubic
prove it to
yourself by taking a drive in Audis
latest 500bhp V8-powered 7-seater
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE, German carmaker Audi has ditched and switched the
SQ7's V8 turbodiesel powerplant for a more socially acceptable eight-pot, a
potent petrol-drinker guaranteeing not only a greener footprint but at the same
time that the big, ballsy, performance-oriented SQ7 continues to talk the torque
and serve up storming performance now accompanied by the deep-throated
urge that only a large-capacity petrol V8 can deliver (don't be surprised to
catch yourself selecting its Dynamic mode and driving with the window down just
to hear its gorgeously whuffley but hard-edged growl).
Slotted into the SQ7's engine room is a biturbo 4.0-litre petrol V8 which, used
as Audi's engineers fully intended, blasts this 2.3-tonne SUV from Bavaria off
the line to flash past the 62mph post in an astounding 4.1 seconds. Which, incidentally,
makes it quicker than Aston Martin's new £160,000 SUV, the DBX. Not only
does the SQ7 surge towards the horizon like a Hellfire missile but it doesn't
feel it ever wants to stop charging in fact it only does so when its
electronically restrained by the software restricting it to an autobahn-friendly
the record, officially the SQ7 returns 23mpg on the combined cycle more
or less what you'll get from any other hyper SUV. In the real world, and while
still enjoying the adrenaline-hit of its powerhouse performance, we recorded
an average of 22.1mpg over the course of our week's testing that tallies convincingly
with Audi's own figures. And that was without leaving it in its Efficiency mode
all week! For the record, the V8's high-tech efficiency aids include a cylinder
on demand system which, under low to medium throttle loads, temporarily deactivates
four cylinders to reduce fuel consumption.
into the SQ7s
engine room is a biturbo
4.0-litre petrol V8 that
blasts this 2.3-tonne SUV
from Bavaria off the line
to 62mph in an
astounding 4.1 seconds.
makes it quicker than
Aston Martins new SUV,
the £160,000 DBX.
Not only does the SQ7
surge towards the
horizon like a Hellfire
missile but it doesnt feel
it ever wants to stop
charging in fact it only
does so when its
by the software
restricting it to an
The V8 powering the SQ7 is also to be found in Audi's other large SUV, the SQ8;
in both cases they punch out 500bhp, which in anybody's book is a happy handful,
especially when it's paired with 568lb ft of torque. However, ensuring that
the SQ7's driver remains in total control of the power at all times is a fluent,
silky-smooth, eight-speed tiptronic autobox that serves up assured gear shifts
whether you're hard charging or loping lazily through the urban jungle.
Put your foot down anytime, anywhere, and the rip-roaring V8 comes alive, snarling
gleefully as it catapults the SQ7 down the road. But, however brutally you stamp
your right foot, you'll never hear the faintest chirp of complaint from the
285/35 22-inch Hankook rubber because adeptly managing the prodigious grunt
are numerous dynamic-enhancing driver assist technologies hidden under the SQ7's
skin to keep it all shipshape, including quattro permanent all-wheel drive with
self-locking centre diff, four-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension with
S-specific tuning, electromechanical progressive steering with speed-dependent
power assistance, and Audi's Drive Select system.
Taken together, these all make the SQ7 one of the best behaved driving performance
SUVs out there, and the way it grips and handles itself and don't forget
we're talking here about a 2.3-tonne seven-seater SUV is indeed impressive.
Turns out that you don't need the Starship Enterprise to boldly go because here
on Earth the SQ7 has got it covered.
Back, for a moment, to the stunning grunt… Where you really appreciate the huge
reserves of poke is when, for instance, you need to butt into a busy motorway.
In the SQ7 it's a laugh because just a squeeze of the accelerator will slot
you seamlessly and safely into the faster moving traffic. But do watch the speed
readout because what feels like 70mph inside the SQ7 in reality often turns
out to be closer to 100mph! So no surprise to learn that its 4.0-litre V8 is
the same as that used in Bentley's luxury SUV, the £163K Bentayga.
And just like the Bentley, the SQ7 will embarrass many true sports cars, blasting
nonchalantly past slower moving traffic whenever you have a mind to. Yet for
most of the time you'll find the SQ7 agreeably quiet, with the miles you've
covered always a pleasant reveal as you arrive, totally unruffled, at your destination.
Truly, the SQ7 does for driving what a private jet does for flying.
how much does it cost to become a fully paid-up member of the SQ7 club? £81K
to £100K; but while there are alternatives (the BMW X7, Mercedes-Benz GLS, and
Porsche's Cayenne) every one of them requires a similar entry fee. That said,
you'll never feel short-changed when you hand over your money for a SQ7.
feature offers you six
Efficiency, Comfort, Auto,
that lets you mix n
match the various
settings for the chassis,
steering, engine, and
it is performance
after then theres
mode (just nudge the
selector lever back from
Drive) along with a
manual mode using the
selector or paddle-shifters on the wheel.
an easy ride that
suits then Comfort
delivers; the SQ7s
suspension soaks up
the lumps, bumps and
potholes and its
as good as youll
All three SQ7 grades look (and, crucially, feel!) the biz, particularly
the Black Edition. Included is everything you need with a fabulous cabin offering
exceptional comfort courtesy of four-zone climate control, super sport seats
swathed in soft Valcona leather, top-grade comms, punchy sounds, and some eye-catching
22-inch alloy wheels.
Talking of eye-candy, unlike some in-you-face SUVs there's nothing toxically
masculine about the SQ7's looks and its sporty bodykit is subtly understated.
Sure there's more than a suggestion of muted aggression, but it's altogether
more urbane 007 than street fighter. Yes, the large air intakes at the nose
and the intimidatingly beefy octagonal grille make a statement, but it's all
in the nuances.
The Black Edition model, as its name implies, looks meaningfully broody thanks
to titanium black detailing to its grille, door mirrors, glasshouse trim, and
roof rails. Overall, though, the SQ7's image is less about posturing and more
about speaking softly while carrying a big stick.
Climb aboard and you'll find yourself in a tastefully and beautifully tailored
cabin. There's an abundance of space as well as soft-touch materials and silky
leather upholstery with sumptuous quilted seats that can be power-adjusted to
fit like a glove. For the driver, it's even better with a superb driving position
that makes placing this large SUV an absolute doddle even in tricksy traffic.
A great-to-grip flat-bottomed sports wheel with a tactile perforated leather
rim and foolproof multifunction controls adds extra hands-on satisfaction. A
very much appreciated feature is the predictive braking warning that alerts
you in advance when, say, you're approaching a 30mph zone from a faster area,
giving you time to lift off and brake gently in good time. The bonus is that
you won't be speeding when you physically pass the 30mph marker posts.
As you would expect, the SQ7's comms are impressive too, headed up by Audi's
Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display ahead of the driver. At 12.3-inches
wide there's room for everything you want to be displayed for easy viewing on
the move, and all easily configured to suit. The 3D mapping incorporates Google's
satellite view maps that, as well as playing on the driver's screen, can also
appear to your left on the 10.1-inch central infotainment touchscreen unless
of course you prefer to ring-fence it for its wide-ranging infotainment features.
The graphics on all three displays are crisp and superbly clear. Yes, three;
a third one, sited immediately below the main centre-of-dash display, is an
8.6-incher that, while leaving media and SatNav functions to the top screen,
runs things like the four-zone climate control (incidentally, from their seats,
rear passengers can set different nearside and offside temperatures to those
in the front cab). Wireless Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay are naturally
part of the package as too is a DAB radio, 180-watt sound system with a 6-channel
amplifier and 10 speakers including a subwoofer, and Bluetooth. What's good
about the SQ7's user-friendly tech is that you don't need to be a techie to
benefit from it and use it.
this kind of money you can be sure of a long list of kit being fitted as standard.
Highlights include top-end items such as the four-zone climate control, smart
keyless entry and start, a full leather interior with every-which-way power
adjustable sports front seats (including for the bolsters, under-knee extension,
and lumbar support, with memory recall for the driver), classy black oak interior
trim, adaptive sports air suspension, adaptive cruise control, and matrix LED
headlamps with LED daytime running lights and those sexy dynamic front and rear
behind the wheel
the SQ7 doesnt ever
feel its size.
With four-wheel steering
and sports-fettled air
suspension in its
dynamic arsenal the SQ7
exudes a confidence-
when hustling along
winding back roads
power-on exits out of
bends will have you
In fact, theres a whiff of
genuine hot-hatch in the
mix as, in spite of its
weight, the SQ7 feels
compact, athletic even,
as it hunkers down and
surges forward whenever
you goad it with the
There's also plenty of the less headline-grabbing but nonetheless must-have
stuff, such as one-shot windows, frameless rearview mirror, multi-view (including
3D overhead and bird's-eye) reversing camera and parking sensors as well as
a self-parking 'jockey' to do it for you (parallel and in bay), electric parking
brake with auto-hold, auto lites and wipes, automatic main/dip beam switching,
powerfolding heated and auto-dimming door mirrors, alloy pedals, and a set of
striking 22-inch black alloy wheels (with a captivating little detail: their
free-spinning 'four ring' centre emblems always stay level!).
'Safe as houses', they used to say. In the five-star EuroNCAP rated SQ7 that's
exactly how you feel, not just because of its strength and size but also its
numerous driver assistance systems. These range from Audi's reassuring Pre-Sense
that anticipates and warns of a potential crash and automatically brakes for
you (if you don't) to Electronic Stabilisation Control, lane-keeping assist,
full-speed adaptive cruise control, speed limiter, hill descent control, and
traffic sign recognition.
From behind the wheel the SQ7 doesn't ever feel its size: 7' 3" wide (door mirror-to-door
mirror); 5' 9" tall; and 16' 8" long). With four-wheel steering (at low speeds
this improves manoeuvrability while at faster speeds stability is enhanced,
particularly so during fast direction changes) and sports-fettled air suspension
in its dynamic arsenal, the SQ7 exudes a confidence-inspiring wieldiness when
hustling along winding back roads power-on exits out of bends will have
you smiling joyfully! In fact, there's a whiff of genuine hot-hatch in the mix
as, in spite of its weight, the SQ7 feels compact, athletic even, as it hunkers
down and surges forward whenever you goad it with the accelerator.
Audi's Drive Select offers you six driving programs: Offroad, Allroad, Efficiency,
Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic. There's also Individual that lets you mix 'n' match
the various settings for the chassis, steering, engine, and gearbox. If it is
performance you're after then there's the tiptonic autobox's Sport mode (just
nudge the selector lever back from Drive) along with a manual mode using either
the selector lever or paddle-shifters on the wheel. If it's an easy ride that
suits then you'll find that 'Comfort' delivers; in this setting the SQ7's air
suspension soaks up the lumps, bumps and even potholes and it's about
as good as you'll get in any performance-biased SUV.
This is without doubt a great sporting SUV and you can tell it's from the same
stable as its go-faster sister, the RS6 estate. The icing on the SQ7's road-holding
cake is the unrelentingly grippy quattro set-up that along with genuine 4x4
abilities means that come winter a blanket of the white stuff won't restrict
your driving pleasure.
rivals come close to matching the SQ7 for space, and chilling in its limo-like
middle-row chairs is a delight the perfect place to catnap while you're
whisked not just cross-country but cross-continent. The three second-row seats
can be individually slid backwards and forwards to suit, and the backrests adjust
through a wide range down to semi-reclined. As up front, there's bags of room
in all directions for everything from heads and elbows to feet want to
fully stretch your legs; then go ahead!
the rest of the SQ7,
its boot is larger than life
press the buttons in
the boot to powerfold
seats six and seven
completely out of the way
into the boot floor and
youll be faced with a
massive 705-litre holdall
(way more than you
could crush into most
of its rivals).
Drop down the middle-
row as well and you
commercially with the
resulting 1,890 litres of
there's ample width to seat three side by side and still maintain cordial relations
with your neighbours. Ensuring the ideal temperature is the rear cabin's own
(and independent of the front cab settings) two-zone climate, with plenty of
vents. Keeping you in place are long outer armrests and a wide central one with
pop-out cupholders. Views out through the large side windows are expansive plus
there are mesh seatback pouches and doors bins big enough to hold a regular
bottle of prosecco.
Entry and exit are easy courtesy of the big, wide-opening doors which, like
the fronts, have one-touch unlocking and locking. Isofix child seat fixings
are fitted to not just the middle row outer seats but to all six passenger places.
Full access to the third row is straightforward from either side of the SQ7;
seats six and seven are full-sized items that an adult could use but are seemingly
adored by youngsters who can't resist sitting in them.
Like the rest of the SQ7, its boot is larger than life press the buttons
in the boot to powerfold seats six and seven completely out of the way into
the boot floor and you'll be faced with a massive 705-litre 'holdall' (way more
than you could crush into most of its rivals). Drop down the middle-row as well
and you could moonlight commercially with the resulting 1,890 litres of cargo
Boosting usability further is a handsfree powered tailgate for unimpeded boot
access via a generously wide opening, a lip-free, seamless and perfectly level
loadbay floor, and at the press of another button in the boot
powered lowering of the SQ7's ride height and consequently the boot floor. Other
nice touches include a powered tow bar and a roller blind load cover that rises
up with tailgate as it opens and automatically closes as it shuts. Apart from
having somebody to carry your stuff to the car for you, loading and unloading
doesn't get any easier than this.
People often ask us the 'only car you'll ever need' question. A tricky one,
this. Some would say that there is no such thing as one car that's perfect for
every use and situation. That noted, Audi's versatile, ultra comfortable, seven-seating,
all-wheel drive sports SUV, the SQ7, is also wondrously quick, handles impressively
and is awesomely satisfying to drive. And that's more than enough to make it
the indisputable front-runner for 'the one'. ~ MotorBar
Audi SQ7 TFSI 507PS Black Edition
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 4.1 seconds | Test Average: 22.1mpg
Power: 500bhp | Torque: 568lb ft | CO2: 281g/km