Last year, Audi debuted the new SQ7 TDI, a triple-turbocharged V8 diesel-powered performance SUV. It’s one of the most beastly SUVs on the market and is currently the only diesel-powered one. It’s an astonishing vehicle, one that is able to pack impressive performance and impeccable luxury into a practical and relatively fuel-efficient package. However, it isn’t Audi’s first go-around in the monster-diesel-SUV segment. Its first was the Audi Q7 V12 TDI.
In this recent article from Top Gear, they were able to get both behemoth diesel SUVs together to see which is best. Is it the old-school V12-powered psychopath or the more modern and high-tech beast?
I guess that really depends on what you want from these cars. The Audi Q7 V12 TDI is a dinosaur, with its monster, fuel-sucking V12. It also handles like a V12-powered dinosaur, as it’s heavy, sloppy and cumbersome. Despite that, though, it’s a very charming car. The V12 is as smooth as you’d expect an Audi V12 to be and the tidal-wave of torque that comes with it is addictive. It’s also very comfortable and luxurious and has hilarious options, like a polished wood trunk floor.
By comparison, the Audi SQ7 TDI is far more high-tech, far more agile and, overall, better to drive. Its 4.0 liter triple-turbocharged V8 isn’t as interesting as the 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12 of its predecessor, nor does it make as much power (427 hp and 664 lb-ft compared to the V12’s 493 hp and 738 lb-ft). Though, thanks to the SQ7 being lighter, it’s quicker than the Q7 V12. It also handles with far more precision, thanks to such high-tech kit as four-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars.
When it comes to actually driving both cars, the Audi SQ7 is better. It’s sharper, faster, more dynamic and more capable. However, it lacks the charm and the wonderful oddness of the Q7 V12. Objectively, the SQ7 is the better car but I can tell you which one I’d rather own and it has a wooden trunk floor.