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

Minor more than a ten years ago, if you wished an Audi that could hit sixty mph in under four.5 seconds, your community vendor would’ve experienced just one model to show you: the firm’s brand name-new R8 supercar, packing a four.2-liter V8 and 6-digit selling price tag. Right now, that exact same salesperson may unexpectedly wander you about to an 2021 Audi SQ7, if only to view your cerebrum twist itself into a pretzel. Like Audi’s now-legendary mid-engined supercar, this brand name-new SUV has also arrived packing a TFSI V8 and a selling price tag that, of course, can exceed 6 digits. 

Humorous issue, even though: This a few-row utility car or truck has a good deal more power, torque and it receives greater gas financial system. See? As it turns out, 2020 is not all lousy.

Think it or not, the heavyweight crossover noticed on these digital webpages would truly give Audi’s initially-technology sports activities automobile a significant run for its income from stoplight to freeway merge. Packing five hundred horsepower and 568 pound-toes of torque from its four.-liter twin-turbo V8, the SQ7 even has a vastly more power-dense engine — the in a natural way aspirated four.2-liter V8 in Ye (Not So) Olde 2008 R8 Coupe only mustered 420 hp and 317 lb-ft and that powerplant, buddies, was a landmark instant in metallurgy.

Right now, Audi gives a entire variety of styles able of trouncing the unique R8’s general performance figures — most for considerably significantly less income. Of class, none are as incongruous as this 5,300-pound SUV, permit by itself as capacious. The German automaker claims this seven-passenger categorical can hit sixty mph in a scant four.3 seconds — a tenth quicker than the unique R8 — and power to a top rated velocity of 155 mph on its 21-inch summer time tires. (Optional all-seasons convey a main v-max haircut, all the way down to 130 mph.)

Enable me apparent my throat

These general performance and intake figures paint a visceral image that’s underlined — somewhat — by a model-specific multi-mode exhaust. Poke the starter button and the Q7’s V8 barks briefly in advance of quickly settling to idle. You are going to know ideal absent that this is not a backyard garden-assortment 4- or 6-cylinder Q7, but even with SQ7’s more assertive tone, it can be even now not particularly vocal by default. 

We would like the big V8 roar was a bit more audible, specifically from inside.

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To transform that, you’ll have to cycle through the Generate Pick menu. Putting the SQ7 into Activity opens up the exhaust valves when amplifying other general performance attributes like steering bodyweight and transmission programming. Alternatively, you can call up more seem particularly by tailoring the exhaust setting in the Personal mode. The touchscreen preset for the loudest choice is termed Present, which reads a bit like a grade-faculty suck-up for the duration of attendance roll call.

That ‘teacher’s pet’ imagery looks apt, since regardless of possessing a more strident soundtrack than its European counterparts (owing to unique particulate filters), this SQ7 could arguably stand to be a 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. Of course, I know this is not an RS Q7, but in the absence of these kinds of a model, it’d be nice to have an even more socially reprehensible setting, if only to blow out psychological cobwebs on lonely winding roadways. As it is, the V8 makes a wonderful seem, it can be just a bit far too muffled by the time it makes its way inside.

Far more finish general performance

Of class, Audi’s engineers have not just equipped the SQ7 with 165 more horses and almost 200 lb-ft more torque than their subsequent-most-powerful Q7. There is certainly a conventional adaptive air suspension technique that hunkers 15 millimeters decreased by default and, regardless of firmer tuning, the SQ7’s setup even now ably negotiates Michigan’s pockmarked roadways (no suggest feat contemplating the 285/40-collection reduced-profile Continental ContisportContact 5 rubber and 21-inch wheels). There is certainly also more intense tuning for the 8-velocity Tiptronic computerized and model-specific throttle mapping and digital protection-nanny configurations.

The four.-liter twin-turbo V8 creates a healthy five hundred hp and 568 lb-ft of torque.

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Maybe most importantly, all SQ7s arrive with all-wheel steering, a feature optional on lesser Q7s that provides up to 5 levels of rear-axle steering. Merged with the SQ7’s rear-biased 40:sixty Quattro torque split, this SUV is amazingly nimble, be it hustling down a B-road or jousting to get that last early morning parking spot at Orangetheory. Though it even now feels like a big car or truck, when pushed really hard, the SQ7 does shrink all-around you more than enough to sense more like a midsize general performance wagon than a substantial-power SUV. (Truthful more than enough, as that’s more or significantly less what most of these pavement-sure utility motor vehicles truly are.)

One issue that does not shrink when likely really hard, however, is gas intake. EPA estimates call for 15 miles for each gallon town, 21 freeway and seventeen combined, but leadfoots won’t obtain it really hard to send that determine substantially south.

Large, but not far too big

This SUV’s adroit dealing with is also a remark on its (fairly) modest footprint. The SQ7 stretches 199.six inches from its special, mask-like, double-slat grille to its model-specific rear bumper. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLS580 spans a wide 205 inches and weighs about 400 pounds more. The BMW X7 M50i compares equally. It is only slightly shorter than the Benz at 203.3 inches and it can be more than 300 pounds heftier than the car or truck noticed here. 

In simple fact, even if it can be for a longer time than its Porsche Cayenne system-mate, the SQ7’s dimensions nevertheless aid it sense substantially more wieldy than vital rivals. That feeling would very likely have been enhanced even even more if my tester experienced been outfitted with Audi’s optional Activity Package deal ($5,900), which involves 48-volt lively roll stabilization, a torque-vectoring rear sport differential and crimson-painted brake calipers.

Until you truly want these third-row seats, you might be greater off leaving ’em folded flat.

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That stated, the Audi’s more compact dimension also signifies it presents up a significant amount of third-row seating and baggage place to that exact same opposition. The SQ7 taps out at sixty nine.six cubic toes of cargo space with its second- and third-row seats folded. That’s generous, but it can be even now some 15 cubes shy of the GLS and a whopping 21 cubes shy of the X7 — it can be almost like the SQ7 is a whole class-dimension more compact.

If you do not want to make use of the SQ7’s alternatively-tight third row routinely, it won’t truly make any difference. You are going to even now be a good deal cozy inside, moreover you’ll be surrounded by some of the very best, most-powerful in-automobile tech in the biz. Audi’s latest MMI Touch Response twin-touchscreen infotainment interface is here in force, as is Audi’s second-technology Digital Cockpit digital gauge cluster. This components normally takes a tiny getting applied to, but it can be properly configurable and extremely powerful. 

Limited interior tweaks

The relaxation of the interior is not far too shabby, both. SQ7-specific touches are rather small, but they involve cozy and supportive sport seats wrapped in quilted Valcona leather-based. In a nice enhancement, with top rated-flight Status styles, all those seats usually are not just heated, they’re also ventilated (beforehand if you wished cooling on most general performance Audi styles, you experienced to revert to significantly less-grippy conventional seats). There is certainly a matching perforated-leather-based a few-spoke wheel, even though it can be permit down by the return of Audi’s tab-design and style paddle shifters. These plasticky-emotion switches have been all-around for far too extensive. 

On the moreover facet, it can be really worth noting that the Status spec also involves options like twin-pane acoustic facet glass, comfortable-shut doorways and a driver support bundle with options like adaptive cruise handle, visitors-indication recognition, lane-preserve support and a head-up show.

Audi’s MMI Touch Response infotainment technique and Digital Cockpit gauge cluster are some of the luxury segment’s very best in-automobile tech choices.

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Audi SQ7 pricing

You are probably questioning what all this tempo and posh fees, but initially, a brief explanation is in order. The Matador Pink SQ7 noticed here is truly a 2020 model, but it can be one of only a tiny selection of illustrations carrying this model calendar year designation (blame the coronavirus shutdown’s affect on creation and transport). As these kinds of, 2021 styles are also starting to trickle into Audi dealers nationwide, sitting down cheek-by-jowl with their 2020 counterparts. No matter of model calendar year, the SQ7 variety commences in Premium Furthermore guise, in essence what would be a mid-rung trim on the conventional Q7. The 2020 SQ7 line commences at $85,795 (together with $995 shipping), when 2021 styles ring up $200 bigger. Step up to Status trim and in advance of browsing the alternatives checklist, you might be looking at $91,395 for a 2020 or $92,195 for a 2021.

My Status tester involves the aforementioned Matador Pink metallic paint ($595) as perfectly as handsome Carbon Vector inlays ($750) in the cabin. Add in laser headlights ($1,650) and splurge on Audi’s killer Bang & Olufsen 3D audio technique ($5,000) and you get $99,390 as tested. That’s certainly a ton of money, but it can be also more than competitive. Benz’s 2020 GLS580 commences at $98,795 shipped and that’s in advance of a dizzying array of alternatives. BMW’s X7 M50i is even more expensive at $one hundred,795 sans alternatives (together with vacation spot). Think it or not, not only are the SQ7’s rivals greater and more pricey, they both have model ranges that prolong even even more into the stratosphere many thanks to AMG and Alpina.

To be truthful, it’d be awfully really hard to call something in this class a “cut price,” even if the SQ7 is a little something of a do-it-all, substantial-general performance juggernaut, but for all those lucky more than enough to be shopping for SUVs in this rare air, the 2021 Audi SQ7 is really worth a extensive, really hard seem.

With a bevy of alternatives, this SQ7 fees just shy of $one hundred,000, which is pricey, but truly slightly more inexpensive than most in this class.

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