TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The Audi SQ7 is the fastest version of Audi’s excellent seven-seater Q7 SUV. This is the first time an S version has been offered in the Audi Q7 range, and it features a wide range of technology never before seen in an Audi road car. The SQ7 is available only with a 4.0-litre turbo-diesel V8 engine and is on sale now from $153,616.
- Performance. The SQ7’s 4.0-litre V8 has three turbochargers, and makes 320kW and 900Nm. For such a big and heavy car, it’s astonishingly quick, especially when overtaking on the highway. It can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds.
- Technology. Several brand new systems have made their road-going debut with the SQ7. First, there’s the electronic compressor, which assists two normal turbochargers to feed pressurised air to the engine. This equipment was previously only found on concept cars. There’s also a 48V electrical subsystem to run the most demanding components and a cutting-edge valvetrain in the engine to give better response and economy.
- Control. Audi is famous for Quattro, and the SQ7 takes things even further with an optional Dynamic pack that adds four-wheel steering and electromechanical roll stabilisation, to virtually eliminate any side to side tilting when cornering.
- Refinement. Few cars are as quiet and composed as the SQ7. It is luxuriously serene inside and comfortable over bumps in all drive modes thanks to sophisticated air suspension.
- Economy. Even with its massive power and performance, the SQ7’s diesel engine only uses 7.2L/100km on average.
- Price. There is an awful lot of stuff crammed into it, but even at this price the features that really make the SQ7 stand out are optional. It costs an additional $13,500 to buy the Dynamic package, which includes active roll stabilisation, four wheel steering and a limited slip differential.
- Steering. Having so many electronic systems between the driver’s inputs and the car’s actions means there’s some disconnection when pushing hard, particularly in the steering. It’s an extremely sophisticated car, though it’s most comfortable highway cruising, and less comfortable carving corners even though it can do it.
- Sound. V8s make an awesome noise, even this diesel one, but sadly it sounds better outside than inside in the SQ7’s case. There’s a system that activates in Dynamic mode to pump more of the engine note into the cabin, but it’s so well isolated that the real sound is still hard to hear. Sadly, that’s the trade off in a car that is so well insulated and quiet in all other circumstances.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
The BMW X5 M50d ($148,855) and Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic ($153,600) are the only other premium, diesel-powered, sports-oriented, seven-seater SUVs available, and both are worth looking at, though neither are quite as refined as the SQ7.
If five seats are enough, the Maserati Levante Sport ($159,990) and Porsche Cayenne S Diesel ($149,000) have diesel grunt and even more badge cred.
Petrol options include the Volvo XC90 T8 R-Design ($122,900) and Mercedes-AMG GLE43 ($133,616) and GLE63S ($190,615), though the Mercs are five-seater only.