Cars like the Audi SQ7 TDI provide a ton of intrigue. The idea of having a seven-seat SUV with all of the luxury one could ask for, while also having monstrous power and sports car speed, is extremely appealing. That’s exactly what the Audi SQ7 is. But such cars are quite strange and rare, begging the question if they actually work well in practice, running around in everyday life. So Auto Express has just spent a few thousand miles with it to see what it’s actually like to own.
Their verdict is pretty overwhelmingly positive. There are many detractors of the SQ7, as they question its worth. Is having a nearly 500 hp diesel SUV necessary? According to Auto Express, yes.
Let’s start with the fun stuff. Underneath the hood is a 4.0 liter triple-turbocharged diesel engine that develops 435 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque. When paired with its eight-speed automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive, the SQ7 is capable of 0-60 in about 4.9 seconds. By comparison, that’s faster than a Porsche Cayman and Jaguar F-Type V6 S. And the SQ7 weighs over 5,000 lbs and can seat seven.
Where the SQ7 gets even more interesting is how it makes that power. As previously mentioned, the V8 turbo-diesel has three turbochargers, but one of them is not like the others. The third turbo is actually what Audi calls an EPC (Electrically-Powered Compressor). So it’s essentially an electric turbocharger that can work on its own at zero rpm, without the need for exhaust gasses to spool it. Because of this, it provides an extra little bit of torque at very low rpm, helping the SQ7 deliver smooth and linear power. It also helps the big SUV fire off the line with devastating force. It accelerates far more violently than an SUV of its size should.
Don’t think all of its fancy tech is limited to the engine, though. That EPC is powered by a 48-volt electrical subsystem that’s run on a lithium-ion battery stored under the trunk floor. That same 48-volt system also runs the electromechanical anti-roll bars. In a nutshell, these anti-roll bars stiffen up through corners to provide flat, even handling but loosen up while driving normally to provide a comfortable ride. It’s quite clever the way it works and it’s the same system used on the Bentley Bentayga. This, coupled with as-standard air suspension and the SQ7 ride with surprising aplomb, regardless of how it’s being driven.
Throw in the fact that it’s incredibly luxurious, packs insane technology and can seat an entire family in supreme comfort and the Audi SQ7 TDI looks like it could be the ultimate everyday car. At least AE thinks so.