RE: Audi SQ7: UK Review

Monday 10th April 2017

Audi SQ7: UK Review

Diesel is dead, long live the (mega) diesel!



The Audi SQ7 is a very interesting car. From its 435hp twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 diesel and 48V-driven 'Electrically Powered Compressor' combination to the 4.9-second 0-62mph time there's plenty to arouse PH interest. Even it is, ultimately, just a very fast diesel Q7.

Let's deal with that elephantine aspect first. I've always considered the Q7 the very embodiment of the brand's less favourable qualities. Owners, feel free to join the comments thread and tell me I'm full of it. But it's always struck me the key motivation for buying a Q7 is arriving in an Audi showroom and saying "I just want the biggest one". In the case of the SQ7 you can now extend that to "the biggest AND fastest one", like that makes it any more palatable.

Let's face it, you'll not be buying it on looks. Much as I didn't like what the original Q7 represented I could at least accept its successful upscaling of Audi design and values. This new one though? The grille looks disproportionately large, the overhangs ungainly and the previously clean shape seems to have gained all sorts of unwelcome surface 'detailing' and heavy handed sculpting. But it presumably fits the bill for those who just want as much Audi as they can get. Unless interior space is a priority; for all its ginormous external proportions there's not quite as much room inside the cabin or boot as you might expect.

Not going to miss it...
Not going to miss it...
Stay on target
Anyway. Off the anti-Q7 soapbox. What about that fascinating engine? It is genuinely amazing, however the shifting favour against diesel manifests itself in coming years. I'll work on the basis you're probably not tickled by the idea of an eff-off V8-powered SUV if tree-hugging features highly on your list of favoured recreational pursuits though. Because if you want a large, family friendly SUV with an Audi badge on the nose and more than adequate power, then the regular 3.0 TDI is up to the job.

No, if you're looking at the SQ7 it's for reasons more than just fuel economy and range. This is a properly rapid car. Not 'rapid for a diesel' or 'rapid for an SUV', just rapid full stop. Whatever it looks like and whichever pump it fuels from that's got PH merit.

Like the previous V12 TDI Q7 this is one of those 'all about the engine' cars that geeks like us can appreciate too. The cylinder count and configuration are a sound start but the addition of the Electrically Powered Compressor to the two exhaust-driven turbos gives it astounding punch. The EPC's job is to prime the induction charge before the turbos have spooled up, the way the boost gauge shoots up before you even deploy the throttle offering the first sense of what it's up to. Suitably awoken throttle response is razor-sharp, the V8's 664lb ft from barely more than tickover making a mockery of the SQ7's bulk. Acceleration is angry, quite frankly, and that sub-five 0-62 time feels a conservative estimate. Nor does that rate of progress abate either.

It's a fantastic engine, no doubt about that
It's a fantastic engine, no doubt about that
Smarty pants
There's some really clever stuff going on here too. This is the first time Audi Valvelift System has been used on a TDI engine and it uses variable opening of the exhaust valves to control the sequential turbos. At low revs one exhaust valve remains closed, gases directed to the 'active' turbo as Audi has it. Above 2,000rpm and when the loads dictate the second valve opens to wake up the second turbo. Before any of this has happened, of course, the EPC has already been on the case.

And it sounds great too. There is a 'sound actuator' in the exhaust system but from the outside there's enough V8ness to suggest fakery plays only a supporting role. Suffice it to say even the tickover rumble inescapably signifies the SQ7's intent. Given it costs nearly £20K more than an S Line 3.0 TDI you'd rather want that though.

Making sense of all this performance is a chassis fully stocked with all the latest gizmos, on the assumption that you're willing to pay the additional £5,700 for the Driving Dynamics Sport Pack. Box ticked, that 48V network operates the active anti-roll system (given it utilises up to 885lb ft of torque you can appreciate why it needs the electrical grunt) and there's also four-wheel steering, all of this and more adjustable via the modes in the Audi Drive Select. Also included is Audi's trick torque vectoring Sport Differential for the rear axle, experience from our S4 Avant long-termer suggesting this can have a transformative effect on the way fast Audis go round corners. This lot on top of the standard air suspension, multi-mode dampers and all the rest. Yes, an awful lot of tech for a family-friendly SUV.

Tech does an admirable job against the weight
Tech does an admirable job against the weight
No need to apologise
And means you can drive it in a suitably unapologetic manner, should the mood take you. While it hardly shrinks around you the combination of four-wheel steering helping you on turn-in and the Sport Differential deploying that incredible power and torque on corner exit you've got a machine that can get around corners way more quickly and dynamically than you'd credit. Nobody will love you if you drive it thus - not your passengers and certainly not your fellow road users. But it's undeniably impressive. And the deployment of that incredible urge is never less than shocking.

As a package it's a typically polished affair too, Audi's mastery of tech and the presentation thereof all top notch. Well, mainly. Does anyone actually use touchpads on the move? I can barely use them when stationary but the MMI interface is awkward to use unless you play by the rules. And the semi-autonomous driver aids are about as 'smart' as the motorways they're intended to conquer. Put it this way, having the cruise control try and accelerate you back to 70mph when you set it at 55mph for a temporary restriction is scary. When it then clocks the signs and brings you back to an obedient 50 you then get trucks on your back bumper flashing their lights in your mirror in a most un-Audi like role reversal. Who'll be brave enough to contest a fine on the basis that their car's cruise control overrode their input and automatically increased the speed to beyond the posted limit? Good luck with that one but it'd be a fascinating case study to follow.

You'll have got the gist now by sure. This is a big, fast Audi. An interesting one, if not necessarily a commendable one. And possibly spectacularly mistimed if the tide really is turning against diesel. For those with an eye for technical intrigue though a car with plenty to occupy your curiosity. And I mentioned it was fast, right?


AUDI SQ7
Engine
: 3,956cc V8 twin-turbo diesel (with electric compressor)
Transmission: 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 435@3,750-5,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 664@1,000-3,250rpm
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 2,330kg (unladen)
MPG: 39.2 (NEDC combined, on 20-inch wheels)
CO2: 190g/km (20-inch wheels) 199g/km (as tested on 21-inch wheels)
Price: £72,020 (£96,320 as tested inc. Tofano White paint £675; Black Valcona leather with sports seats £2,000; 21-inch Tornado wheels £500; head-up display £1,350; Tour Pack £1,705; Parking Pack Advanced £1,500; red brake calipers £500; Advanced Key £950; memory function for driver/passenger seats £550; Driving Dynamics Package £5,700; Audi Matrix LED headlights £950; ambient lighting pack £280; Trailer Pack £1,300; power adjust steering column £400; sports steering wheel £150; panoramic glass roof £1,700; rear side bags £350; Carbon Atlas inlays £800; heated/powered/dimming mirrors £200; Bose 3D sound system £1,100; Audi Entertainment Mobile £1,180; Audi Phone Box £450)

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photos: Autocar]

Author
Discussion

martin12345

Original Poster:

40 posts

22 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
The problem with this car is it's engine !! - who in their right mind is going to be willing to keep this thing on the road when it is ~10 years old. 2 turbo's, electric compressor, 2 EGR systems, Ad-blue injection, 2 DPF's and 8 common rail injectors plus their pump. There is about £10 to£20k of kit on this engine to deliver the performance and let it be legal. If you compare this with the kit on a petrol engine delivering similar performance (either V12 or V8 twin turbo) there are so just many huge bills that are going to arrive to keep it on the road that everything like this is going to end up as scrap

Technical master piece - yes. Sensible - not in any way, shape or form

Of course all of this is a combination of CO2 legislation and "my willy is bigger than yours" between the german engineers at BMW, Audi and Merc. If you want a fast car, stick to petrol and with turbo's if you have to

Rant over!

sleepera6

4,247 posts

30 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Love this thing and I hate diesels!

CS Garth

1,651 posts

38 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Another vulgar chav chariot for those who aspire to be nouveau riche and thus wish to adorn themselves with the trinkets of the tasteless on tick

FN2TypeR

5,582 posts

26 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
I'd rather have a Volvo XC90 T8, even if it isn't as quick, tbh - they look better (imo) and the interior is fantastic, plus, despite the engine configuration, it isn't powered by diesel.

numtumfutunch

2,703 posts

71 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
martin12345 said:
The problem with this car is it's engine !! - who in their right mind is going to be willing to keep this thing on the road when it is ~10 years old. 2 turbo's, electric compressor, 2 EGR systems, Ad-blue injection, 2 DPF's and 8 common rail injectors plus their pump. There is about £10 to£20k of kit on this engine to deliver the performance and let it be legal. If you compare this with the kit on a petrol engine delivering similar performance (either V12 or V8 twin turbo) there are so just many huge bills that are going to arrive to keep it on the road that everything like this is going to end up as scrap
You beat me to it

Our daily hack is 14y old and looked after by the local spanner monkeys for jobs I cant do myself

I have no idea who will keep an SQ7 going in 14y time for sensible money


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Plug Life

846 posts

24 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Another ribald NOx bomb from the VW Group.

Downward

944 posts

36 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Surely anyone spending £97k on a 4x4 is just going to go straight for a Range Rover.

Krikkit

12,972 posts

114 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Saw one of these on my weekly commute, the way it moves for such a massive thing is nothing short of mesmerising. An SVR is just as quick, but makes masses of noise doing it, this was nearly silent.

philmots

4,472 posts

193 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
FN2TypeR said:
I'd rather have a Volvo XC90 T8, even if it isn't as quick, tbh - they look better (imo) and the interior is fantastic, plus, despite the engine configuration, it isn't powered by diesel.
Just what I was thinking, or if the budget could stretch I'd have an SVR.

ZX10R NIN

11,524 posts

58 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
I like this engine it's no less complicated than the Hot V Mercedes use, same with BMW petrols are no less complicated these days.

The thing is if you want a tour de force SUV then there's only one option & it's this:

https://www.pistonheads.com/news/ph-americancars/j...

martin12345

Original Poster:

40 posts

22 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
These things are just wrong in the "big picture"
(forget whether people like SUV's - if they want to travel high up and feel secure with 4WD and they can afford it then that's their business)
What's wrong (as I said before) is the "mega power diesel"

Not only is it wrong from a sustainability point of view (destined from an early death due to complexity) but even the CO2 arguement is highly likely a load of h***e s***t as well

The energy consumed in developing and then manufacturing these technical white elephants is enormous and then the sales are tiny
Whilst from an engineering point of view managing to get ~40 mpg from a Q7 on the NEDC test is a piece of genius

a) In the real world they will be down in the low 30's or high 20's
b) Vast amounts of CO2 will have been generated creating them
c) Their NOx emissions will be horrendus (or it's drink Adblue like a fish which needs CO2 to make adblue in the first place)

Honestly, for this type of "flagship" model, a good old fashioned 6 or 7 litre V12 makes so much more sense at just about every level (including whole life CO2 (or energy) consumption)
It's just a stupidity of marketing and it's probably one of the last of it's breed thank goodness

The marketing thinking will have been "people like buying 2.0l TDi's because of low cost of ownership like SUV's and they , how do we make TDI & SUV look "sexy", I know, let's win Le Mans with a TDI and then put really powerful TDI in our biggest and most expensive SUV. No one with any sense will buy one but it doesn't matter because we'll hardly sell any and we'll make it so expensive that even with a small number of stupid people we won't loose too much money overall and it'll be cost effective marketing"

Yes, it really is that cynical

Well times up !! Le Man is cancelled and the powertrain du jour is petrol/hybrid (slightly more rational if you care about whole life CO2) and we won't see many more of these "choclate tea pot" mega-diesels because the americans (and more importantly) the chinese rightly won't have them due to emissions

Sorry, lied before when I said "rant over" - needed to have a 2nd go !!


Phil Dicky

5,303 posts

196 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
philmots said:
FN2TypeR said:
I'd rather have a Volvo XC90 T8, even if it isn't as quick, tbh - they look better (imo) and the interior is fantastic, plus, despite the engine configuration, it isn't powered by diesel.
Just what I was thinking, or if the budget could stretch I'd have an SVR.
I totally agree on both counts, the SVR for the noise alone, my neighbour has one, its evil lol

Alucidnation

8,861 posts

103 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
4.9 ish to 60 in a luxo maxi-barge.

Gotta be worth it for the grin factor.

FN2TypeR

5,582 posts

26 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Phil Dicky said:
philmots said:
FN2TypeR said:
I'd rather have a Volvo XC90 T8, even if it isn't as quick, tbh - they look better (imo) and the interior is fantastic, plus, despite the engine configuration, it isn't powered by diesel.
Just what I was thinking, or if the budget could stretch I'd have an SVR.
I totally agree on both counts, the SVR for the noise alone, my neighbour has one, its evil lol
Good call on the SVR, I hadn't considered that. lick

Kenny Powers

1,416 posts

60 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Very impressive machine. I'm mot really a fan of the looks, but that's fine - there are other cars to choose from. I couldn't afford one anyway, but fair play to those who want one and can have one.

Anyone want some ketchup to go with those chips? biggrin

V10Ace

232 posts

26 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
CS Garth said:
Another vulgar chav chariot for those who aspire to be nouveau riche and thus wish to adorn themselves with the trinkets of the tasteless on tick
Your comment really Show's just how awful your life must truly be....

Please try to enjoy your Sunday, the Sun is out.. ;-)

Funk

19,848 posts

142 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
martin12345 said:
The problem with this car is it's engine !! - who in their right mind is going to be willing to keep this thing on the road when it is ~10 years old. 2 turbo's, electric compressor, 2 EGR systems, Ad-blue injection, 2 DPF's and 8 common rail injectors plus their pump. There is about £10 to£20k of kit on this engine to deliver the performance and let it be legal. If you compare this with the kit on a petrol engine delivering similar performance (either V12 or V8 twin turbo) there are so just many huge bills that are going to arrive to keep it on the road that everything like this is going to end up as scrap

Technical master piece - yes. Sensible - not in any way, shape or form

Of course all of this is a combination of CO2 legislation and "my willy is bigger than yours" between the german engineers at BMW, Audi and Merc. If you want a fast car, stick to petrol and with turbo's if you have to

Rant over!
Weirdly this was pretty much my first thought.

Often just because you can doesn't mean you should... This will fall in value faster than it'd fall off a cliff!

MajorMantra

681 posts

45 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
I'm too lazy to compare prices, but who in their right mind wouldn't have an RS6 Avant instead of this?

SS54

5 posts

29 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
Not a fan. They are just too big for UK parking spaces and UK roads. Followed one the other day and it was braking hard for every bend in the road, just in case a similar sized truck was coming the other way. They drive into the local M&S carpark, but three minutes later drive out again having failed to find two spaces next to each over, that they can park in the middle of. I do not understand why folk have to buy something so huge, when they probably only use the size once or twice a year. Better to have a smaller more economical car and just rent a mini bus, the few times its needed, or simply go in two cars.
The cost with some extras is probably close to 100k and in less than ten years will be worth 10k, or less when they are banned from town centres.
Their only advantages are intimidating other road uses and coping with speed humps.

Huegelmonster

3 posts

19 months

Sunday 9th April 2017
quotequote all
I would consider paying audi not to build this