2021 Audi SQ7 first drive review: Do it all, carry it all and be quick about it

Jeffrey Cuebas

Small more than a ten years back, if you wanted an Audi that could hit 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds, your local vendor would’ve had particularly 1 design to clearly show you: the company’s manufacturer-new R8 supercar, packing a 4.2-liter V8 and six-digit price tag tag. Currently, that same salesperson could unexpectedly wander you about to an 2021 Audi SQ7, if only to enjoy your cerebrum twist itself into a pretzel. Like Audi’s now-iconic mid-engined supercar, this manufacturer-new SUV has also arrived packing a TFSI V8 and a price tag tag that, certainly, can exceed six digits. 

Funny point, nevertheless: This three-row utility auto has a good deal more ability, torque and it receives greater gas financial state. See? As it turns out, 2020 is not all bad.

Consider it or not, the heavyweight crossover observed on these electronic internet pages would really give Audi’s initial-generation sports activities vehicle a really serious operate for its dollars from stoplight to freeway merge. Packing 500 horsepower and 568 pound-ft of torque from its 4.-liter twin-turbo V8, the SQ7 even has a vastly more ability-dense motor — the obviously aspirated 4.2-liter V8 in Ye (Not So) Olde 2008 R8 Coupe only mustered 420 hp and 317 lb-ft and that powerplant, good friends, was a landmark instant in metallurgy.

Currently, Audi offers a total vary of styles capable of trouncing the authentic R8’s general performance figures — most for substantially significantly less dollars. Of course, none are as incongruous as this 5,three hundred-pound SUV, let alone as capacious. The German automaker states this seven-passenger express can hit 60 mph in a scant 4.3 seconds — a tenth a lot quicker than the authentic R8 — and ability to a best speed of a hundred and fifty five mph on its 21-inch summertime tires. (Optional all-seasons convey a main v-max haircut, all the way down to one hundred thirty mph.)

Let me distinct my throat

These general performance and intake figures paint a visceral photo which is underlined — considerably — by a design-certain multi-method exhaust. Poke the starter button and the Q7’s V8 barks briefly in advance of immediately settling to idle. You can know right absent that this is not a garden-range four- or six-cylinder Q7, but even with SQ7’s more assertive tone, it is even now not especially vocal by default. 

We desire the massive V8 roar was a little bit more audible, especially from inside.


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To alter that, you can expect to have to cycle by means of the Push Pick menu. Placing the SQ7 into Sport opens up the exhaust valves even though amplifying other general performance characteristics like steering excess weight and transmission programming. Alternatively, you can contact up more seem precisely by tailoring the exhaust environment in the Unique method. The touchscreen preset for the loudest possibility is called Current, which reads a little bit like a grade-college suck-up all through attendance roll contact.

That ‘teacher’s pet’ imagery appears to be apt, due to the fact in spite of possessing a more strident soundtrack than its European counterparts (owing to different particulate filters), this SQ7 could arguably stand to be a little bit more vocal even now. General performance styles from AMG or Jaguar’s SVR are substantially more declarative inside and out and even BMW’s non-M specials can be, far too. Certainly, I know this is not an RS Q7, but in the absence of these kinds of a design, it’d be pleasant to have an even more socially reprehensible environment, if only to blow out psychological cobwebs on lonely winding roads. As it is, the V8 tends to make a fantastic seem, it is just a little bit far too muffled by the time it tends to make its way inside.

Extra complete general performance

Of course, Audi’s engineers haven’t just fitted the SQ7 with one hundred sixty five more horses and nearly two hundred lb-ft more torque than their next-most-strong Q7. There is a standard adaptive air suspension system that hunkers 15 millimeters decrease by default and, in spite of firmer tuning, the SQ7’s set up even now ably negotiates Michigan’s pockmarked roads (no necessarily mean feat thinking about the 285/40-collection reduced-profile Continental ContisportContact 5 rubber and 21-inch wheels). There is also more aggressive tuning for the eight-speed Tiptronic computerized and design-certain throttle mapping and digital security-nanny configurations.

The 4.-liter twin-turbo V8 makes a nutritious 500 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque.


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Probably most importantly, all SQ7s appear with all-wheel steering, a feature optional on lesser Q7s that provides up to 5 levels of rear-axle steering. Blended with the SQ7’s rear-biased 40:60 Quattro torque break up, this SUV is astonishingly nimble, be it hustling down a B-highway or jousting to get that very last early early morning parking location at Orangetheory. Though it even now feels like a massive auto, when pushed hard, the SQ7 does shrink all over you adequate to sense more like a midsize general performance wagon than a superior-ability SUV. (Fair adequate, as which is more or significantly less what most of these pavement-sure utility automobiles really are.)

1 point that doesn’t shrink when heading hard, even so, is gas intake. EPA estimates contact for 15 miles per gallon city, 21 highway and seventeen put together, but leadfoots will not come across it hard to send that determine significantly south.

Major, but not far too massive

This SUV’s adroit dealing with is also a remark on its (rather) modest footprint. The SQ7 stretches 199.six inches from its unique, mask-like, double-slat grille to its design-certain rear bumper. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLS580 spans a broad 205 inches and weighs about four hundred pounds more. The BMW X7 M50i compares likewise. It is only slightly shorter than the Benz at 203.3 inches and it is more than three hundred pounds heftier than the auto observed listed here. 

In actuality, even if it is for a longer time than its Porsche Cayenne platform-mate, the SQ7’s proportions yet support it sense substantially more wieldy than critical rivals. That feeling would likely have been improved even further if my tester had been outfitted with Audi’s optional Sport Package deal ($5,900), which involves 48-volt lively roll stabilization, a torque-vectoring rear sport differential and purple-painted brake calipers.

Except if you genuinely will need these third-row seats, you might be greater off leaving ’em folded flat.


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That claimed, the Audi’s smaller sized sizing also signifies it presents up a sizeable sum of third-row seating and luggage place to that same opposition. The SQ7 faucets out at sixty nine.six cubic ft of cargo area with its next- and third-row seats folded. Which is generous, but it is even now some 15 cubes shy of the GLS and a whopping 21 cubes shy of the X7 — it is nearly like the SQ7 is a whole class-sizing smaller sized.

If you never will need to make use of the SQ7’s instead-limited third row usually, it will not genuinely make a difference. You can even now be a great deal cozy inside, furthermore you can expect to be surrounded by some of the best, most-strong in-vehicle tech in the biz. Audi’s most current MMI Touch Response twin-touchscreen infotainment interface is listed here in power, as is Audi’s next-generation Digital Cockpit electronic gauge cluster. This components will take a minimal receiving utilized to, but it is properly configurable and pretty strong. 

Limited inside tweaks

The rest of the inside is not far too shabby, both. SQ7-certain touches are fairly minimal, but they consist of cozy and supportive sport seats wrapped in quilted Valcona leather. In a pleasant advancement, with best-flight Status styles, all those seats aren’t just heated, they are also ventilated (formerly if you wanted cooling on most general performance Audi styles, you had to revert to significantly less-grippy standard seats). There is a matching perforated-leather three-spoke wheel, nevertheless it is let down by the return of Audi’s tab-type paddle shifters. These plasticky-emotion switches have been all over for far too prolonged. 

On the furthermore aspect, it is truly worth noting that the Status spec also involves capabilities like twin-pane acoustic aspect glass, soft-close doorways and a driver guidance package deal with capabilities like adaptive cruise management, targeted visitors-indicator recognition, lane-preserve help and a head-up display.

Audi’s MMI Touch Response infotainment system and Digital Cockpit gauge cluster are some of the luxury segment’s best in-vehicle tech offerings.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Audi SQ7 pricing

You might be most likely wanting to know what all this tempo and posh expenditures, but initial, a quick clarification is in get. The Matador Purple SQ7 observed listed here is really a 2020 design, but it is 1 of only a small quantity of illustrations carrying this design 12 months designation (blame the coronavirus shutdown’s effect on production and shipping). As these kinds of, 2021 styles are also commencing to trickle into Audi dealers nationwide, sitting cheek-by-jowl with their 2020 counterparts. No matter of design 12 months, the SQ7 vary commences in Top quality In addition guise, effectively what would be a mid-rung trim on the standard Q7. The 2020 SQ7 line commences at $85,795 (which includes $995 delivery), even though 2021 styles ring up $two hundred larger. Stage up to Status trim and in advance of going to the options list, you might be hunting at $91,395 for a 2020 or $92,195 for a 2021.

My Status tester involves the aforementioned Matador Purple metallic paint ($595) as perfectly as handsome Carbon Vector inlays ($750) in the cabin. Incorporate in laser headlights ($one,650) and splurge on Audi’s killer Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system ($5,000) and you get $ninety nine,390 as examined. Which is definitely a ton of cash, but it is also more than competitive. Benz’s 2020 GLS580 commences at $ninety eight,795 shipped and which is in advance of a dizzying array of options. BMW’s X7 M50i is even more dear at $100,795 sans options (which includes vacation spot). Consider it or not, not only are the SQ7’s rivals greater and more high priced, they both of those have design ranges that prolong even further into the stratosphere thanks to AMG and Alpina.

To be fair, it’d be awfully hard to contact anything at all in this class a “deal,” even if the SQ7 is anything of a do-it-all, superior-general performance juggernaut, but for all those lucky adequate to be purchasing for SUVs in this uncommon air, the 2021 Audi SQ7 is truly worth a prolonged, hard glance.

With a bevy of options, this SQ7 expenditures just shy of $100,000, which is high priced, but really slightly more economical than most in this class.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

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