Audi SQ7 2020 review

20.09.2020 10:55

Audi SQ7 2020 review

What is it?

The US may be a bit of a shambles at present, but at least when it comes to cars - and specifically the type of fuel that goes into them - Americans are united in their preferences. Petrol, unleaded, gasoline: so long as it isnt diesel, theyll generally be pretty happy.

Audi claims that this is why it has ditched the mighty oil-burning V8 of its SQ7 in favour of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 that appears in everything from Audis own RS models to the Bentley Continental GT and more in between. What's it like?

On unnaturally smooth German roads, the SQ7 combines all of this to fairly tremendous effect. Rolling refinement and ride comfort on air suspension and 22in alloy wheels are practically immaculate, with the only notable intrusion being a very slight, very distant shuddering over lumpier surfaces at low speeds. Wind noise at pace is virtually non-existent, as is road roar - although whether this would continue to be the case on coarser British roads remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, theres a tremendously pillowy character to manner in which the SQ7 deals with rolling, flowing road surfaces. It smothers compressions while assertively remaining in control of its vertical movements, and secondary impacts barely register. It\'s a supremely comfortable car, one that shrinks long distances to such an extent that it feels like it would be capable of making a 10-hour stint at the wheel feel no more taxing than a quick trip down the road.

The cabin is as plush and accommodating as you would expect that of a large Audi to be. Theres masses of adjustment in both the seat and the steering column and visibility is good. And aside from a few slightly naff carbonfibre inlays on the dashboard and around the tops of the doors, the general look of the cabin is pretty smart, too, in the fairly sober, slightly monochrome way that seems to define the bigger, pricier Audis these days. Should I buy one?

At ?78,190, the SQ7 also makes a pretty strong case for itself as a value proposition - if such a thing can really exist at this end of the market. A V8-engined Porsche Cayenne GTS practically costs ?7000 more, and while the BMW X5 M50i is fractionally cheaper, its not available with a third row of seating.

The nearest BMW SUV with a petrol V8 and seven seats as standard is the X7 M50i, which will set you back at least ?92,975. And while the ?75,060 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 does come with seven seats, its six-cylinder mild-hybrid motor isnt quite as special as the Audis, and it doesn\'t quite as comfortably either.

As excessive as a 500bhp, seven-seat SUV undoubtedly is, its impossible not to be taken by the sheer breadth of the SQ7s talent. On the one hand, its a phenomenally capable and extremely refined long-distance tourer; on the other, it has the pace, the grip and the control to amuse and entertain when the road ahead gets a bit more interesting. The fact that it can do all of this and still have room to comfortably accommodate a family of seven (or a group of six adults) helps to add a further bit of additional justification to its existence, too.

Just be sure that you can stomach its regained appetite for fuel. We saw just 15mpg over the course of our test route, which is a wee way off the 24.1mpg average we got from the diesel when we road-tested it back in 2016.

Audi SQ7 TFSI 507 Tiptronic specification

Where Bavaria, Germany Price ?78,190 On sale Now Engine V8, 3996cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol Power 500bhp at 5500rpm Torque 568lb ft at 2000-4100rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 2265kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 4.5ec Fuel economy 23.3mpg CO2 276g/km Rivals BMW X7 M50i, Mercedes-AMG GLE 53