Jeremy Clarkson reviews the 2017 Audi SQ7 TDI

Big, powerful and luxurious SUVs seem to be all the craze nowadays, especially in Germany. Audi, Mercedes and BMW have all released several monstrously powerful SUVs that serve almost zero purpose. To pack the performance punch they’re looking for, they need to compromise off-road capability as well as practicality. That makes them worse at being SUVs. And, because they’re so big and heavy, they’re still not great performance cars, despite their monstrous power figures. So they’re not really good at being either thing, never mind being good at both things. According to Jeremy Clarkson, the Audi SQ7 TDI is no different, despite Audi’s best efforts.

Look at the spec sheet of an SQ7 and your head might start to spin. It’s a dizzying array of technologies, acronyms and numbers that explain the madness that is the SQ7. Its 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 diesel also packs something Audi calls an EPC. That stands for electrically powered compressor and it’s basically an electric turbocharger. It is capable of electrically spooling up, providing boost without any turbo lag. While that’s brilliant, it’s not really necessary. However, it does give the SQ7 a massive 429 hp and a mammoth 663 lb-ft of torque. That means 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

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Audi SQ7 TDI

It also has a special anti-roll bar system, which stiffens them up on one side through corners, to keep the big SUV upright and disconnects them when going straight. It’s mightily impressive and very effective, but also rather useless. In fact, according to Clarkson, it’s all rather useless.

If someone wants a massively powered V8, they’re not likely to want an SUV or even a diesel. If someone wants a practical SUV with space and luxury, they like don’t car that it has a million torques. So this car really doesn’t have a market. Audi knew this, obviously, and built this as a niche vehicle with a very small clientele base in mind. However, it’s fascinating that Audi put all of this impressive technology and performance into a car that basically no one will buy. Or will they?

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Audi SQ7 TDISo Clarkson has a point. But he also fails to see the enthusiast side of things. Why do people buy anything? Because they want it and it’s cool. To car enthusiasts, the Audi SQ7 is cool because it’s mad. It’s useless and amazing at the same time and there’s something so appealing about that. The idea that the Audi SQ7 can burn most sports cars at red lights yet also return good fuel economy and carry seven people in supreme luxury is so beguiling. Yes, it’s ridiculous and expensive (about $88,000), but if I had the money, I’d buy one.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.