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
- Premium Plus: $85,995
- Prestige: $92,195
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.
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 Audi claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
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. We’ll update this story with test results once we get an SQ7 into our office for our own 200-mile highway fuel-economy test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The SQ7 has 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, meaning this is a speedy seven-passenger family hauler. Cargo space is limited behind the third row as it is in the Q7, but drop those seats along with 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 will have 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
While neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have completed crash testing on the SQ7, the regular Q7 model received five stars from NHTSA and performed well in IIHS’s battery of tests in 2019. Audi has not yet shared which safety features will be standard and optional on the SQ7, but we expect the SUV’s suite of driver-assistance aids to mirror that of the Q7’s. 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
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles