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Driven: Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.

Driven: Audi SQ7
The Audi SQ7 is a proper battering ram of a vehicle. And we love it hugely as a result.


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Audi SQ7

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: Almost everything - including its outrageously good soundtrack and 900Nm of torque

Not so good: The price, and the fact the Q7 MkII still isn't the best-looking machine we've ever seen...

Key Facts

Model tested: Audi SQ7
Price: Q7 range starts from 50,060; SQ7 from 70,835, car as tested 94,650
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 diesel with EPC
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed Tiptronic automatic
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 190g/km (800 VED first 12 months, then 450 per annum next five years, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 33.6mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Power: 435hp at 3,750- to 5,000rpm
Torque: 900Nm at 1,000- to 3,250rpm

Our view:

When we first reviewed this colossus of a sports utility vehicle that genuinely merits the use of the word 'sports' in its title, we gave the Audi SQ7 four stars. Well, we're prepared to admit we were wrong... it's better than that. Much better. Indeed, were it not for the twin facts that it's still not an off-roader that, visually, we can 100 per cent get along with, or that with the desirable chassis kit fitted to it to make the SQ7 drive in its most staggering fashion, this Audi will cost you the 94,650 of our test vehicle, the truth is we adore this SUV so much that we'd be doling out full marks to it here if we were to let our heart rule our head.

The SQ7's hilarious ability to totally defy the laws of physics is no less astonishing after a week in its company on UK roads than it was when we threw it about on some French mountain passes at the model's launch. The sheer devastating haymaker blow of that 900Nm midrange torque isn't any the less gobsmacking, either, as you watch really quite powerful and expensive machinery receding into tiny little dots in your rear-view mirror on the motorway. And how on Earth have Audi's engineers, even with sound augmentation and all the other exhaust trickery that goes on these days, managed to make a diesel V8 SUV sound like some sort of 1960s American muscle car?! It defies belief!

Honestly, you might be an SUV hater. You might be an Audi SUV hater, thanks to being tailgated by multiple examples of various models while travelling past Slough on the M4. You might be an Audi Q7 SUV hater, because you think the German flagship is just too big and too ostentatious and too ugly. But, seriously, we reckon if you get a chance to have a go in the SQ7 with the 5,700 Driving Dynamics Sports Pack (DDSP) fitted - to recap, that consists of a torque-vectoring rear differential, four-wheel steering and a set of 'powered' anti-roll bars, the latter of which utilise the 48-volt secondary power system that runs the Electric Powered Compressor (EPC) on the mighty 4.0-litre V8 that completely eradicates turbo lag - then you'll be so mesmerised and thrilled by its handling and demonic soundtrack that you'll soon forget it's a 4x4 which costs as much as a serviceable three-bed semi in Cardiff. And you'll want one. Crave one. Quite badly, we might add.

There is simply no lean into corners in the SQ7, no matter how fast you throw the gigantic machine into the apex. No dive as you stand on the ludicrous 8,100 carbon ceramic anchors, braking as if you were Elwood Blues in a 1974 Dodge Monaco, about to perform his comical reverse backflip over some pursuing Illinois Nazis. No pitch as you step on the right-hand pedal and guffaw at the way 2,405kg of prime Teutonic SUV beef goes charging forward like the most rabid of hyper-hatchbacks, as if inertia was simply a feeble state of mind and not an immutable law of the universe.

The steering is wonderful, a facet that's both stunning and infuriating in equal measure - why can't Audi put racks as informative and communicative as this on some of its lower, more compact S/RS models, for goodness' sake?! The gearbox is brilliant. The engine is just majestic. The performance is magnificent. As such, we cannot envisage a situation where you would ever tire of the SQ7's simply gigantic repertoire of skills. Have we said that it's a perfectly fine cruiser, with a fluid ride and impeccable refinement if you drive it more like a diesel SUV ought to be driven? Well, it is. It even turned in 32.2mpg across 440 miles in which we regularly - and we mean regularly - enjoyed the full, intoxicating hit of 435hp and 900Nm working in tandem, and the giant Audi managed to achieve a hugely commendable 38.7mpg on a long A1/A14/M11 run. Like any Q7, the S model has seven seats in a cavernous cabin and, if you don't need to carry more than four passengers, it possesses a boot that looks like it will swallow Ikea flatpack furniture with consummate ease.

So, what's not to like? The SQ7 is a performance Audi that does everything a self-respecting performance Audi should do, but it just so happens to be more involving, rewarding and joyous to steer quickly than anything the company has churned out this side of a B7 RS 4 Avant or the stupendous R8. And it's a big, practical, comfortable family SUV into the bargain. Not cheap, granted, but the Audi SQ7 is one of the very, very finest fast SUVs going and one of our favourite barmy motors ever built. Try one sometime - we guarantee you'll be hooked within seconds.


Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S: Ballistic pace but the GLE 63 S is petrol-powered only, so it doesn't have that sort of all-round kudos of the SQ7. Also, the GLE is a five-seater, in regular or Coupe forms.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo: Second-gen Cayenne is now here and the chassis underpinning it is a Porsche gem, so it handles in a more sports car-like fashion than the SQ7. We still prefer the Audi.

Range Rover Sport SVR: Monster noise and surprisingly excellent dynamics, but you'd be surprised by how weedy its 680Nm feels in the face of the V8 biturbo diesel in the SQ7...

Matt Robinson - 11 Dec 2017    - Audi road tests
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2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.

2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.2017 Audi SQ7. Image by Audi.


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