Audi SQ7 Review & Prices
The Audi SQ7 is a seriously fast version of the seven-seat Q7 SUV but, while it has the pace to match some hot-hatches, it doesn’t feel all that dramatic to drive and it is very expensive
Find out more about the Audi SQ7
The Audi SQ7 is like an uber-sensible friend who goes out and buys a particularly garish suit because someone told him he was a bit dull. Only in the case of the SQ7, you’ll find it sporting a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with 507hp, not a leopard-print three-piece.
Audi must have thought all that power was exciting enough on its own because the SQ7 doesn’t come with many visual tweaks to help you tell it apart from the standard Q7.
Sure, a few of the fake air intakes in the front bumper have been drilled out to let air actually reach the engine, but two of the SQ7’s four massive chrome exhausts pipes are just cheap fakes bolted to the rear bumper and its standard 21-inch alloy wheels are no larger than those on a mid-range Q7.
It’s a similar story inside, where the Audi SQ7 gets the same cabin as a Q7 with the addition of little more than some fancier sports seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Sure, you can add a bit of variety by picking a Vorsprung model with some grey oak wood trims and customisable interior mood lighting. But, the latter feels more like it belongs in a posh hotel lobby than a nineties neon rave, so don’t get too excited.
Watch: Audi SQ7 v Bentley Bentayga v Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 v Range Rover
This rather sensible theme runs throughout the SQ7’s interior – there’s ample space for lofty adults to get comfortable in the front and middle rows and, with the second row of seats slid all the way forward, there’s space for kids or small adults to sit in the very back.
With these rearmost seats flipped down, there’s room for much more luggage than you can squeeze in a BMW X5 M60i or Range Rover Sport, too, and it’s all dead easy to load thanks to the Audi SQ7’s wide boot opening and flat floor.
So, that’s all the boring day-to-day stuff dealt with, but what’s the SQ7 like to drive? Well, things start to liven up pretty quickly when you point the Audi SQ7 in the direction of a motorway slip road and hit the accelerator.
Its 4.0-litre V8 is the same as that in the Bentley Bentayga, and can hurl this huge SUV from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds. That’s serious hot hatch territory in a massive seven-seater that’s practical enough to put removal vans to shame.
Sadly, while your eyes are treated to some pretty clear signs that you’re approaching warp-factor 10, your ears will be none the wiser. Sure, when it’s in Dynamic mode, the SQ7 produces all sorts of convincing sports-car-rivalling rumbles but hit the button for Comfort and it becomes clear that these baritone burbles are just synthesised sounds being pumped through the car’s speakers. Shame.
The Audi SQ7 might look and feel like a practical seven-seater SUV on the inside, but lurking under its bonnet is an engine with enough power to out-perform some sports cars
However, this subdued nature is exactly what makes the SQ7 such a good motorway cruiser – albeit one that’s probably more at home on the autobahn than the A46. It’ll blast past slow-moving traffic with just a prod of the accelerator, yet its standard adaptive sports air suspension means it’ll soak up bumps and potholes just as well as a standard Q7.
The automatic gearbox does its thing without any jerky shifts or undue hesitation, too, and the Audi SQ7’s standard quattro four-wheel-drive system means it won’t be flummoxed by a light dusting of snow come winter.
The Audi SQ7 is quiet when you’re just cruising along, and you can get it with all sorts of driver-assistance systems to take the sting out of long drives. The light controls and optional surround-view camera system mean it’s pretty easy to drive in town but – and it’s quite a big but – this is all true of the most powerful version of the standard Q7. Sure, that car doesn’t deliver the same incongruous acceleration when you hit the throttle, but it could be yours for almost £15,000 less and it feels just as posh inside.
The choice is yours, then. If you want a big, practical seven-seater that’s pretty quick and packed with tech, get a standard Q7. If you fancy all of that but want to arrive a few minutes earlier (and you have some serious cash burning a hole in your pocket) then the SQ7 is worth a look.
See how much you could save by checking out our Audi SQ7 deals page, or browse the latest used Audi SQ7s and other used Audis for sale through our network of trusted dealers. Did you know you can also sell your car through carwow, too?
The Audi SQ7 has a RRP range of £90,280 to £108,230. However, with carwow you can save on average £6,575. Prices start at £84,193 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £1,077. The price of a used Audi SQ7 on carwow starts at £36,421.
Our most popular versions of the Audi SQ7 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|SQ7 TFSI Quattro Black Ed 5dr Tiptronic [Tech]||£84,193||Compare offers|
|SQ7 TFSI Quattro Black Ed 5dr Tiptronic [Tech Pro]||£86,979||Compare offers|
The Audi SQ7 sure isn’t cheap, but — and this is surely of enormous significance to any potential buyers — it’s a full £2,000 cheaper than the equivalent BMW X5 M60i (although the BMW does have slightly more power). The bad news is that it’s actually more expensive than the outgoing Mercedes-AMG 53 GLE, but then the GLE has considerably less power than the Audi.
That said, the Audi is about half the price of the Bentley Bentayga V8 S, which uses the same V8 engine, and it’s the same story when you compare Audi prices with those of the Lamborghini Urus, which again uses the same engine (Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini are all part of the VW Group, hence the engine sharing).
Possibly the biggest problem for the Audi is that the Porsche Cayenne V8 S is also cheaper, to the tune of some £8,000, and while it has less power than the SQ7, it’s unquestionably a car from an even-more desirable brand and equally unquestionably more fun to drive. The Audi is almost a second quicker to 62mph though, and is roomier inside than the Porsche. Oh, and the SQ7 is also around £30,000 cheaper than the Range Rover Sport with the equivalent power output, the P550e plug-in hybrid Autobiography.
The SQ7 is impressively fast and comfortable. It’s also more agile in corners than you might think, but not enough so to be truly fun to drive. It’s also a shame that so much of the V8 engine noise is actually fake
Somewhat surprisingly for a big, heavy, high-performance SUV, the Audi SQ7 is actually pretty comfortable over bumps around town, thanks to having standard air suspension. It actually floats along, with a genuinely luxurious ride quality. In spite of the fact that the SQ7 is also as big as a container ship, it does have rear wheel steering so it never feels too massive around town, and you can get it through tighter manoeuvres than you might expect. Great when you’re parking, or negotiating mini-roundabouts. The automatic gearbox isn’t the quickest thing when it comes to response time, but it is very smooth and that’s arguably more important in a car like this.
On the motorway
Clearly, any car that’s been as carefully designed to work on German Authobahns as the SQ7 is going to be just fine on British motorways. The effortless torque from the engine (770Nm of it) means that, even with the slightly slow-witted gearbox, you’re never short of an extra bit of shove to get past a slow-moving lorry, or to slot into fast moving traffic. The air suspension lowers automatically at higher speeds to make the SQ7 slightly more aerodynamic (which is slightly like putting a racing car wing on a barn door, but still…) but even in the lower setting, it’s never uncomfortable and those big tyres don’t cause too much road noise, even on rough concrete surfaces. Combine all that with the excellent front seats and you have an exceptional motorway cruiser. Aside from the fuel consumption…
On a twisty road
You really can push the SQ7, and push it hard. Accelerate through a fast corner and it just seems to find more and more grip to pull you through to the next straight. And then with a 4.1-second 0-62mph time, you’ll find that the next corner comes up pretty sharpish. Even in Dynamic mode, that air suspension remains supple so you’ll have no bother from typical British road surfaces.
Is it fun, though? Sort of. Getting a big, hefty SUV like this to go fast is always going to be fun, up to a point, but the SQ7 doesn’t have the sheer sportiness to compete with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne. That said, it does turn into corners sharply for a car this big, but you’re never unaware of how high up the centre of gravity is.
The brakes are pretty good, but it’s a shame that UK buyers don’t get the option of the more powerful carbon-ceramic brakes. It’s also a shame that the active anti-roll bar system, included on the old SQ7, is no longer available. You also can’t run the engine out to the limiter as the gearbox will automatically change-up, no matter what setting you’re in, and the stability control doesn’t turn all the way off. There are at least active engine mounts to stop any vibrations from the engine entering the cabin.
That 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 has masses of power and torque, and at first it sounds like it’s making all kinds of epic noises, but you soon realise that a lot of that noise is coming from the stereo — it’s fake V8 noise to make the Audi seem sportier than it really is, and that’s a disappointment. Still, it’s 100kg lighter than the old diesel SQ7 model (it’s still 2.2-tonnes though).
The SQ7 gives you loads of confidence on a twisty road, thanks to the traction of that quattro all-wheel drive system. You could, in theory, use that quattro system and the height-adjustable air suspension to take the SQ7 off-road, but who in their right mind is going to do that?
The SQ7 is pretty massive inside, and those sitting in the first two rows will be very comfortable indeed. Anyone in the third row is going to be cramped, though, but at least the boot is massive when you’re not using all the seats
Up front, the SQ7’s cabin is huge, so even the tallest driver will have no difficulty getting comfortable. There are big door bins which will swallow large bottles of water, and there’s plenty of space in the storage bin under the front seat armrest; you’ll find a wireless phone charger in there too. Annoyingly, the cupholders are a bit shallow and they have a lid on them that’s hinged the wrong way around, so you have to crane your hand a bit over the edge of the lid to get at anything. It’s not a right-hand drive issue, either — it’s the same in all Q7 models and we can’t work out why.
Space in the back seats
There is a lot of space in the SQ7’s back seats, and you can adjust what’s available thanks to rear seats that slide back and forth, as well as reclining. Although it’s a shame that the big, high-backed front seats reduce the visibility for those behind, it is very comfortable in the back. What about the way, way back though? The SQ7 is a seven-seater, and there is surprisingly decent space in the third row although it’s not what you’d call generous. If you want proper adult-sized third row seats, you’ll need to look at the more expensive BMW X7. It’s a shame, too, that the third row seats don’t get the gorgeous diamond-quilting for the leather that you’ll find in rows one and two.
Impressively, even with all seven seats in use, the SQ7 still has around 300 litres of useable boot space left, which certainly isn’t massive but it’s better than you’ll find in some others.
The third row of seats folds electrically, headrests and all, when you use the buttons inside the edge of the boot, and that opens up a whopping 704 litres of space. By comparison, a BMW X5 boasts 650 litres, but the five-seat Porsche Cayenne has 770 litres. Mind you, The SQ7 is still 150 litres less than you get in the standard Q7, mostly thanks to some S-specific stuff taking up underfloor boot space. Do some more folding and drop the middle row of seats, and you’ll have 2,050 litres of cargo space, which kinda turns this SQ7 into a leather-lined V8 van.
As with almost any Audi, the SQ7 has a handsome, well-made interior with an impressive infotainment system. It’s a little dark and hard-edged compared to a Range Rover, though
Audi has been renowned for its cabins for a long time now, and the SQ7 isn’t going to change that. Quality levels are excellent, but there is an argument that says that the black-and-chrome look of the interior isn’t as welcoming as the softer, warmer style of a Range Rover Sport. That’s partially compensated for by the S-spec high-back bucket front seats, which get gorgeous Bentley-style diamond quilted leather trim. Even the stubby little gear selector gets perforated leather, although we can’t imagine you’d be using it enough to get sweaty hands.
The SQ7 does get a very good infotainment system which is split across two screens. The upper screen looks after navigation, music streaming, and connected internet surfaces, while the lower screen takes care of the heating and air conditioning. Those air conditioning controls are a little more fiddly than proper buttons would be, especially when on the move, but you do get used to them. Both screens give your fingers a useful little haptic feedback when you press any ‘buttons’ which, again, feels weird but you do get used to that too.
The main digital instruments are really nice and clear, and this being the SQ7 you can call up an S-specific display which gives you a big rev counter, just like you get in the R8 V10 supercar. Mind you, it also gives you a lap timer, and who’s going to be timing laps in an SQ7, unless they mean laps of the M25?
The original SQ7 used a big V8 turbo diesel, and while it was quick, it could also be economical. Officially, it could do 30mpg, and you could even coax it to do 35mpg if you were really careful. This generation of SQ7 has switched to a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 which means your fuel economy is going to be… worse. Way, way worse. Audi officially claims that it’ll do 22.8mpg, but we averaged 17mpg on our test, and saw a low of 11mpg at one point. And that’s in spite of the engine’s ability to switch off cylinders to save fuel on light throttle openings. At least it comes, as standard, with a big 85-litre fuel tank.
You’ll be facing CO2 emissions of 281g/km, which means you’ll be paying the highest vehicle excise duty rate in year one, plus the £390 surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000 (and the SQ7 costs twice that, plus a bit). If you’re a company car buyer, the SQ7 is going to cost you between £520 and £640 per month in benefit-in-kind.
The standard Q7 gets a full five-star safety rating from the Euro NCAP independent crash tests, and that includes a 92 per cent rating for adult occupant protection, with an 86 per cent score for child occupants. Impressively, it also scores 71 per cent for its ability to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, which is a good figure for a big, heavy SUV.
Unfortunately, Audi has left some electronic safety aids on the options list. If you want a blind spot monitor, front and rear crossing traffic warning, and door exit warning, you’ll have to cough up £1,450 for the ‘City Assist Pack.’ As standard, you do get collision warning and automatic emergency braking – which also stops you pulling across a junction into the path of an oncoming car – lane departure steering, and radar-guided cruise control.
The SQ7 is a big, expensive Audi so it should be reliable, and that 4.0-litre V8 engine is used in loads of other cars, including many from Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche so any of its issues and problems should have been ironed out by now. The only worry, really, is wear and tear — this much power with this much weight equals a lot of tyres, brake pads, and brake discs being burned through, and you’d have to have some concerns for things like gearboxes and suspension parts in the longer term.
All Audis come with a standard two-year unlimited mileage warranty, which is boosted to a third year but with a 60,000 mile limit. You can upgrade that to a five-year warranty, but that will cost you more than £3,000 for a model like the SQ7.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.