Audi is well renowned for producing some seriously fast saloons, estates and sports cars. More recently their quattro performance division has shown its capability to create super-fast diesel variants, notably the Audi SQ5. The SQ5 is a practical SUV that fulfils a role of functions for family and travel duties, yet unlike most SUV’s it offers a thrilling driving experience combined with decent economy. Its 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine produces a healthy 335 horsepower and 700Nm of torque, impressive figures for a turbocharged petrol engine let alone a diesel power plant.
With the success of the SQ5 Audi has waved its magic wand over its larger sibling the seven-seat Q7, to produce the SQ7. The performance statistics speak for themselves, at the heart of the SQ7 is a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel engine that produces an impressive 435hp and a staggering 900Nm of torque. Its two turbos work sequentially for improved low and high-end response. In addition to these it’s equipped with an electrically-driven turbo compressor that eliminates any turbo lag. The result is a seven-seat SUV that’s proficient to accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, before going on to an electrically limited top speed of 250km/h. The SQ7’s power is fed to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel-drive setup and an eight-speed triptronic automatic transmission.
Visually the SQ7 stands out from its regular Q7 siblings with the trademark aluminium door mirrors, it sits low on 20-inch five spoke alloys, although our test car had the optional 21-inch twin spoke alloy wheels fitted. There are some subtle SQ7 badges strategically placed to give you a clue that this is no ordinary Q7, the rear diffuser and quad exhaust tailpipes further aid this SUV’s sporty appearance.
Despite its immense size and weight (2.3 tonne) the SQ7’s chassis and air suspension work admirably well on motorways and twisty country roads. For motorway driving we set the car in Comfort mode from Audi’s drive select programme, it offers the right mix of comfort and economy for long-distance journeys. Once on twisty roads Dynamic mode offers an engaged driving experience for the driver, the engine note changes with a pleasant burble on tick over, with a noise more akin to a V8 petrol than a diesel on hard acceleration. The steering weight is accurately increased along with a stiffer ride and faster throttle response. The eight-speed triptronic transmission can be utilised in manual mode by using the gear lever or our preferred option, the steering wheel paddles. Gearshifts occur in split seconds with a seamless transition.
To prove just how capable the SQ7 is we took it for a few laps around Mondello Park’s National Circuit, it posted a laptime 1:07.6, to put this into perspective that’s faster around a lap than a Skoda Octavia RS, Ford Focus ST and a MINI Cooper S JCW. We will have an on-board video from our lap online shortly. In the real world SQ7 owners aren’t going to attend track days in their rapid SUV’s but it just goes to show what’s possible when the quattro sport division of Audi put their resources into a project.
The interior of the SQ7 is as you except for a vehicle of this price (starting from €120,270) well-appointed. There is fair sense of luxury throughout, with high-quality seating and switch gear. Audi’s virtual cockpit display as first debuted in the Audi TT offers the driver a multitude of information with ease through the steering wheel controls. Just some of the standard equipment includes, LED headlights, Audi connect, MMI navigation plus, virtual cockpit, electrically adjustable & heated valcona leather sports seats, 20” wheels and a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel. Our test car benefited from a host of additional extras, over €17,000’s worth to be precise. These included a glass panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, tech pack, tour assistance pack, ambient lighting and 21” alloy wheels.
Performance yearning drivers don’t have to settle for petrol power anymore, fast diesels are now a reality.
Engine Size 4.0-litre V8 turbodiesel
Fuel Type Diesel
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 4.8 seconds
Top Speed 250 km/h
Consumption (Combined) 7.2L/100km
CO2 Emissions 190g/km
Road Tax Band E €750
Base Price €120,270
Price as Tested €138,074