The Audi SQ7: Crossing Continents

By Geoff Maxted on 30 July, 2018

This is the car you need if you want to cross continents in a single bound. Nothing else comes close. The Audi SQ7 SUV is a seven-seat vehicle that will carry your entire family and your dog. It is powered by a V8 twin-turbo engine that returns thirty-two miles for gallon or better, depending on how it is driven. Sounds like the ideal vehicle doesn’t it? So what if it’s a diesel? Does it matter? It’s mighty. Mighty powerful, mighty comfortable and I love it, mightily. The Audi SQ7 TDI is the German brand’s most powerful SUV to date.

The Modern V8 Diesel

The eight-cylinder special displaces 4.0 litres and it merits our attention. Alongside twin sequential turbochargers, the engine uses a special type of forced induction: an electrically powered compressor. Not a turbocharger, nor a supercharger, it is as described, a compressor, and it has one purpose – to eliminate turbo lag. It works, filling in as the turbos spool up.

I tested this by accelerating at speed in eighth gear without using kick-down. There was just a hint of hesitation before the car shot toward the horizon like the Millennium Falcon. Kick-down first, or use the manual gearbox option with the paddles, and you’re going faster than my credit card balance in my daughters’ hands.

On The Road

The car as featured here, fully option-loaded, costs £86,000 of our fluctuating UK Pounds and buyers should opt for the carbon-ceramic brakes to counteract the SQ7’s sheer momentum. Nevertheless, for such a big beast this SUV handles very well, the steering weighting up nicely as the speed increases. Drivers can choose comfort settings through the usual Audi ‘Drive Select’ feature, which in this case also offers a couple of off-road or all-road options. For cruising, Comfort is fine with the 8-speed automatic gearbox nestled into standard Drive mode.

Things change when Sport mode is selected on the gearbox and Dynamic on the suspension and steering settings. The engine emits a proper old-school V8 rumble that is quietly addictive. This builds as the throttle is floored and suddenly, amazingly, the driver will see the digital dial pass the legal speed limit like a hare past a tortoise. Astonishing; and it’s all down to the very special engine.

In fact, the paddles feel pretty much superfluous. In Sport mode the gearbox reacts instantly of its own volition. 429bhp should be enough for any gearhead and the shove from 900Nm of torque has to be felt to be believed. The sprint to 62mph from rest takes just 4.9 seconds, awesome for a car the size of Ben Nevis.

In The Audi SQ7, Comfortably

The brilliant Audi Virtual Cockpit offers navigation on the rising touchscreen and, if required, on the dashboard readout AND in the heads-up display. Highly adjustable sports seats, with sumptuous leather upholstery, keep everyone sitting pretty. As is well known, Audi interiors are second to none and no detail is overlooked. The dashboard is pleasingly understated. That’s a good thing. Honestly, you can’t fault it. In my opinion it is one of the best cars of its type on the road today.

Geoff Maxted