Perfectly at home on Australian roads, the SQ7 puts the grand into grand touring.
Size, style and scintillating performance all come together in the SQ7 TFSI, which is just as happy cruising the city streets as it is carving up B-roads or hunkering down for the long haul.
24 April, 2023
It has a presence that is hard to ignore on the road and yet it certainly doesn’t crave attention
There’s nothing shy or retiring about the Audi SQ7 TFSI. From its significant proportions and road presence, to its cavernous interior and monstrous performance, it is a vehicle that makes a big impression. But to just call it big is to do it a disservice, because this is a vehicle that’s better described as grand in every respect.
Yes it certainly has the size to accommodate a large touring group (seven seats), but it does so with a luxury interior that wants for nothing and boasts technology to satisfy the most demanding passenger. It has a presence that is hard to ignore on the road and yet it certainly doesn’t scream ‘look at me’. It’s performance too is impressive by any measure, belying its size and appointment and delivering a level of handling and driver engagement that a vehicle of this size really has no right to deliver.
So, from a driver and a passenger’s point of view, the SQ7 is a good place to be, and that’s true whether you’re heading out to dinner, into the city for an important meeting, or striking out for the country loaded up with passengers, luggage and equipment.
Arriving here late last year, the latest iteration of the SQ7 ($164,100*) could have been designed specifically for the varied Australian lifestyle – from mountain bikes, golf clubs or surfboards on the weekend, to use for business or family life throughout the week. It takes the brand's proven large, luxury SUV formula of the Audi Q7 and takes it to new levels, endowing it with those attributes that make it an ’S’ model – most noticeably the performance of its 4.0 TFSI twin-turbo V8 powerplant with the suspension, steering and brakes to match.
The seamless power delivery, thanks in part to the electric compressor removing any hint of lag, means that the 4.0-litre turbo V8 delivers 373kW and a massive 770Nm from way down in the rev range and just keeping pulling. It hits 100km/h from a standing start in an incredible 4.1 seconds, on the way to a top speed that would separate you from your licence for a very long time if you weren’t keeping an eye on the digital speedo in the virtual cockpit.
But where this turn of speed is invaluable is in situations like overtaking on the freeway, which is effortless – and it comes in handy too in the cut and thrust of city traffic where the SQ7 again belies its size.
It hits 100km/h from a standing start in an incredible 4.1 seconds
In fact the SQ7 never fails to impresses with its spritely feel and sheer agility – yes, agility in a luxurious seven-seater
In fact the SQ7 never fails to impresses with its spritely feel and sheer agility – yes, agility in a luxurious seven-seater. The all-wheel drive feel of quattro goes without saying, while rear-wheel steering adds to the dynamic talents, angling the back wheels at up to five degrees, in turn tightening the turning circle to that of a Q3 and helping tuck the tail through tight bends. Add to the equation the Electronic Stabilisation Control that keeps the vehicle absolutely flat even cornering at real speed and you have a vehicle that ‘handles like it’s on rails’, to use a favourite expression. It’s a vehicle that absolutely shrinks around the driver to the point you forget you are driving a larger, SUV and not a small sports car – while the passengers revel in the vast, beautifully appointed interior.
Then there are the six-piston calipers on the huge disc brakes that are standard and do an admirable job in the stopping department. Or if you’re really serious about performance you can opt for 10-piston units and enormous 420mm carbon ceramic rotors – certainly not overkill for those who like their ‘spirited’ driving, and well in keeping with the performance of the SQ7.
But while the SQ7 certainly impresses as a true performance vehicle, it likewise hits the mark as a refined, luxury conveyance with impeccable road manners in any conditions and the level of technology and appointment you would expect from a top flight Audi model.
Executed to perfection, the interior features the likes of carbon fibre and Dinamica black headlining as well as an assortment of rich materials and modern finishes spread across the broad cabin. A head-up display and the aforementioned Audi virtual cockpit keep the driver informed of the car’s important functions, while the Audi dual central screens with haptic feedback control everything from the Audi Connect Plus functions, Navigation and Infotainment – including the superb Bang & Olufsen sound system – as well as the quad-zone ventilation to ensure passengers remain comfortable and connected throughout their journey.
The clean, spacious cabin imparts that feeling of calm and of being cocooned from the rest of the world, with outstanding sound damping and minimal road noice, even riding on the massive 285mm-wide 22-inch low profile tyres. The huge windows and the large, panoramic sky roof shower the interior with natural light though and allow passengers to take in the outside world while enjoying the ride and all of the facilities the SQ7 has to offer.
But while the SQ7 certainly impresses as a true performance vehicle, it likewise hits the mark as a refined, luxury conveyance
In this environment its sheer physical size is quickly forgotten, while out on a freeway it simply devours the kilometres
On those occasions though when you don’t have a vehicle full of passengers and it's just you and the right road, it is a vehicle that truly shines and absolutely demolishes the very notion of a large, luxury SUV. Its incredible turn of speed and the surefooted feel and handling make it a joy on winding roads – an environment in which its sheer physical size is quickly forgotten, while out on a freeway it simply devours the kilometres.
Suffice to say that safety and driver assistance systems are of the highest order, remaining ever vigilant but invisible until they are needed and then springing into action in milliseconds. Indeed, the SQ7 covers all bases with equal thoroughness, even the question of efficiency is addressed with the V8 powerplent featuring Cylinder on Demand technology, which temporarily deactivates four of the eight combustion chambers when not under load to minimise fuel consumption – seamlessly reactivating them in an instant when a burst of speed is required.
It’s a real ‘cake and eat it too’ type of vehicle, distinguishing itself on the luxury, practicality and performance fronts in equal measure. Given the varied lifestyles, road surfaces and driving situations, distances encountered Down Under, it certainly gives the impression it was designed with Australia in mind – a vehicle that delivers without compromise in any situation.
Learn more about the Audi SQ7 TFSI.
Want to ensure you always receive the latest news and features from Audi? Subscribe now to the Audi Magazine newsletter.