Imagine if your sitting room could accelerate from 0-100kph in under five seconds… that pretty much sums up the Audi SQ7.
Audi’s flagship SUV has become more car like in its second generation guise. Its appearance has lost some curves and the seven seater looks more like an all road estate car. The downside is it exterior doesn’t appeal to the G Wagon lover inside me (and lets face it all of us!) but it does appeal to the family motorist in me as it is super easy to use and live with.
Okay it is a given that the range topping SQ7 is a luxurious option and that is because the Q7 3 litre diesel already does a great job. Only a lucky few with a few spare euros will get to enjoy SQ7’s effortless performance. Under the bonnet is a V8 but not a gas guzzling petrol unit rather a turbo charge diesel 8! This V8 diesel, the first V8 diesel to feature in the SUV sector, is a stunning addition to the Q7 range.
Power is ‘sufficient’ as a Bentley or Roller salemans would say, never being so vulgar as to say the actual figure. The V8 is shared with the Bentley Bentayga and in SQ7 form it produces 435hp and get this – 900nm of torque. Yes 900nm of real world pulling power does a great job of hauling the 2.33 tonne machine about the place. An 8 speed Tiptronic auto delivers creamy power to the Quattro drivetrain and of course there are selectable drive modes and the obligatory paddle shifters to suit any mood that takes you behind the wheel.
An active exhaust means the diesel V8 – V8 diesel?! it still looks wrong when I type, but boy does that engine sounds so right when you press the accelerator. SQ7 burbles at idle with a beautifully menacing tone and when you gun it the car takes off with giggle inducing traction. I know I’m stating the obvious but until you experience the joy of a big SUV under power you simply won’t get it and continue to condemn all big SUVs, overpriced dinosaurs.
SQ7 features technology that is right at the cutting edge. Its electric powered compressor (EPC) uses a newly developed 48 volt electrical system to spin up the twin turbo chargers. The result is turbo power delivery that feels lag free. As part of an optional pack SQ7 gets an electromechanical active roll stabilisation that helps minimise roll. It allows you can drive the high rise machine like a sports tourer with less body roll than the laws of physics would demand. Big brakes help scrub off speed but when braking hard you are reminded of the car’s bulk. SQ7’s power is delivered so well that you nearly forget that at some stage you will have to slow the beast down. SQ7 is an autobhan eater and there it makes a lot of sense. On Irish roads I found the vital act of stopping and the high demands placed on the front tyres and suspension acted as a natural speed limiter. SQ7 can scrub off speed quickly but it is only under braking that you are reminded that the five door is a big SUV – not a sports car.
As a family transport SQ7 is brilliant. Ease of access is a key factor. The low sills and wide opening doors make getting in and out effortless. All the toys feature in the beautifully appointed cabin – as you would expect. One luxury feature proved very useful, the electric powered 6th and 7th seats. Often it can be a reach to raise or lower the last row of seats but there is a button in the SQ7’s boot that does the job…. a luxury but it is a luxury car.
Audi quotes an average fuel consumption of 7.2 L/100km and a CO2 figure of 190g that means an annual road tax figure in Ireland of €750 – is highly commendable for such a big beast.
SQ7 is priced just north of €120,000 and as such will be a rare sighting on Irish roads. The big Audi has breathtaking performance with a sound that will keep the enthusiastic driver happy especially. Enthusiastic drivers should buy the optional ‘Dynamic Drive Package’ that adds quattro with a sports differential, all wheel steering and elctromechanical active roll stabilisation.
Audi SQ7, there is a lot to love.