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Review: Audi SQ7

Driven May 2016

Review: Audi SQ7

Wow. An S version of the Q7? Are they serious?

Well, they are. We have driven a living, breathing, thundering, angry example of it. The Audi SQ7 is real.

 

So what are the S bits?

A 4.0-litre V8 diesel, a…

 

… No. What? Diesel?

Well, the SQ5 was a diesel. Audi’s LeMans cars are diesel. As long as it’s not an R8 or any of the RS Audis, we wouldn’t get too knotted up over a diesel, high performance Q7.

 

Okay. So the details please…

Yes. So the Audi SQ7 is powered by an all-new 4.0-litre V8 diesel. It makes 432bhp and an enormous 900Nm of torque. There’s an eight-speed tiptronic automatic and of course, all wheel drive.

 

That’s a lot, right?

Definitely. The SQ7 goes for the horizon like any human would charge towards a rainfall of currency notes. And with Audi’s Drive Select set to Dynamic, the engine sounds like an angry, caged beast that’s been denied its scheduled meal.

Surely, the Q7 can’t handle all that S power…

Which was true of the old generation Q7. This writer has driven a Q7 with a 6.0-litre V12. Serious power. Serious torque. But in a car that behaved like it had dumbbells rolling on its roof. With the new Q7, Audi has lightened and tightened a lot of this gigantic SUV. And that lightness and tightness makes its way to the SQ7.

 

So the SQ7 is good around turns?

Quite. It’s not a sportscar. There is a bit of lean when the SQ7 turns in, but it’s negligible. Then, there isn’t that substantial transfer of weight to the back when you accelerate and that similarly substantial transfer of weight to the front when you brake. Essentially, giving this Q7 the S treatment does not make it behave like a wrestler performing a ballet.

 

What else is new?

A 48-volt independent battery.

 

Huh, a what?

You see, all cars have the standard 12 V battery… for ignition, in-car entertainment… the works. The SQ7, in addition to that also has a 48 V battery that powers the on-road, adaptive electronics. Like instead of hydraulics, the SQ7 uses electrically-powered roll-stabilisation, which is lighter, nearly zero maintenance and more effective.

 

Wow. And so the normal battery doesn’t have to bear the brunt of all this?

Exactly. Audi also maintains that this kind of a dual system could hold another solution in the future to a mild hybrid system.

 

Great. But will the SQ7 come to India?

Audi has, in the past, teased vehicles like the SQ5 as a possibility for India, but that never came in. But  for the SQ7, the company is pretty firm, will come to the country.

 

But it’s not a Porsche Cayenne beater, the SQ7…

True. But it occupies this fine line between luxury, performance and practicality. The engine sounds good, the dynamics are pretty sorted, being a diesel it has a 900-1000km range on a full tank, and it’s the kind of car you wouldn’t have to restrict yourself from using over long drives on Indian roads.

Hmm. And pricing?

You know the drill by now. It’s too early. But the SQ7 will be here. It’s not going to be cheap. But it sure is one of a kind.

 

Verdict:

A capable, all round, luxury barge that isn't afraid of the sprint and curves.

 

Specs:

3956cc, V8 turbo-diesel, 432bhp, 900Nm, 8A AWD, 0-100kph: 4.9 secs (claimed), Top speed: 250kph, 2330kgs



Sriram Narayanan

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