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- Highs Impressively quick acceleration, athletic chassis, high-end cabin with room for seven.
- Lows Isn't particularly fuel efficient, options quickly escalate to a six-figure price tag, all-digital dash layout may irk some drivers.
- Verdict If there's an intersection between performance and practicality, the SQ7 is likely it.
If the standard Audi Q7 isn’t exciting enough for you, the high-performance SQ7 derivative might be what you are looking for. This more powerful version of Audi’s three-row luxury SUV comes standard with a twin-turbo V-8 engine putting out 500 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. It also looks a bit more aggressive than the base models and has different suspension tuning to help it handle better. Like rivals such as the BMW X5 M and Mercedes-AMG GLE-class, the SQ7 offers a high level of luxury to complement its sportier character, with plenty of standard and optional creature comforts.
What's New for 2021?
A heated steering wheel is now standard. And if you opt for the Executive package on the Premium Plus trim, additional leather trim is now included.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We would choose the more expensive Prestige trim so that we can get the SQ7’s $5900 S Sport package, which adds desirable performance enhancements such as a sport rear differential and Audi’s Active Roll Stabilization system. This brings the SQ7’s price close to six figures, but the extras are well worth the money.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The SQ7 has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine with 500 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque that it shares with the mechanically similar, two-row SQ8 SUV. That sounds like a lot, and it is: this is the same engine found in the even higher-performance RS Q8, and it only gives up a bit of power and torque in this application. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission, and at our test track, the SQ7 snapped off a zero-to-60-mph time of just 3.5 seconds. Despite its performance potential, the SQ7 still effortlessly doubles as a family SUV, delivering a faultless ride. Handling is nothing short of heroic considering that it's a veritable heavyweight; it tackles curvy roads effortlessly and rarely feels unsettled.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA rates the SQ7 at 17 mpg combined, 15 mpg in the city, and 21 mpg on the highway which is about as thirsty as you would expect for a V-8–powered SUV. On our 75-mph highway fuel economy test, the SQ7 nailed its rating and delivered 21 mpg. For more information about the SQ7's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The SQ7 offers the same practical interior as the Q7, but with a few special touches including sportier seats with different leather trim. A third row of seats is standard equipment on the SQ7, as it is in the Q7, making it a speedy seven-passenger family hauler. Cargo space is limited behind the third row as it is in the Q7 but drop those seats and the second-row chairs and the SQ7 will likely hold the same 25 carry-on suitcases we were able to fit in the regular Q7.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Q7 received a refresh for 2020 that included a new touchscreen infotainment system, and the SQ7 shares this same setup. Three digital screens dot the dashboard, one serving as a reconfigurable gauge display, another handling navigation and entertainment, and a third providing access to vehicle settings and climate control. Depending on how you feel about physical controls versus touch-sensitive ones, the SQ7's cabin may delight or infuriate.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Audi offers basic driver-assistance aids as standard on the SQ7, but more advanced tech will cost extra. For more information about the SQ7's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The SQ7 will be covered by the same warranty as other Audi models, and includes:
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Audi SQ7
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$99,390 (base price: $80,995)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 in3, 3996 cm3
500 hp @ 5500 rpm
568 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.8-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Continental ContiSportContact 5 SUV, 285/40R-21 109Y AO
Wheelbase: 118.0 in
Length: 199.6 in
Width: 76.6 in
Height: 68.6 in
Passenger volume: 138 ft3
Cargo volume: 14 ft3
Curb weight: 5311 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.5 sec
100 mph: 9.1 sec
130 mph: 16.8 sec
150 mph: 28.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.0 sec
1/4 mile: 12.0 sec @ 113 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 151 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 155 ft
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 14 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 21 mpg
Highway range: 470 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/15/21 mpg