Audi SQ7 review (2016-present): models and trim levels

The Audi SQ7 is a high-performance variant of the Q7 SUV, offering luxury and sporty driving in a practical overall package

The Audi SQ7 is the high-performance version of the Audi Q7 SUV. It’s a seven-seater large family car but thanks to the big and powerful engines fitted under the bonnet, plus tuned suspension and four-wheel-drive, the SQ7 is very fast.

There are different versions to consider if you’re thinking about buying an Audi SQ7. Models made between 2016 and 2020 used a diesel engine - but it was a special engine and worthy of the SQ7 badge thanks to clever turbocharger technology that gave it incredible performance. The 4.0-litre eight-cylinder diesel motor officially returned over 35mpg fuel economy, too, so you could have your cake and eat it.

Newer (2020-on) versions use a petrol eight-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers to boost power and responsiveness. It’s a more conventional setup for a performance car, but these versions feel sportier to drive because the engine likes to be worked hard and sounds great. Performance is astonishing as well - 0-62mph takes just 4.1 seconds, which is nearing supercar acceleration. For a really heavy SUV, that’s incredibly impressive.

After all, the SQ7 retains the Q7’s traits of being comfortable to drive, very roomy inside and packed with high-tech equipment. It has seven seats, a big boot and a high-quality interior, as well. Not bad for a 500hp-plus performance car. High-power SUV rivals include the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Should I get an Audi SQ7?

Very fast and powerful
Petrol and diesel options are excellent
Practical and high-quality interior

Very expensive to buy and run
Not very nimble around corners
Less practical than a normal Q7

The Audi SQ7 is a very niche car. It offers the performance - and running costs - of a sports car, but with the practicality - and unexciting drive - of a family SUV. It sits in an odd middle ground because fans of sporty driving aren’t likely to enjoy driving it, yet people who just want to get the kids to school probably don’t want the high fuel costs of such a large engine compared with the less powerful models in the range.

Yet if you want to carry seven people long distances very quickly in relative comfort, it’s worth considering. It’s cheaper than some of the alternatives, including the BMW X5 M, and works really well as an everyday car if you can stomach the costs. It’s also really, really fast in a straight line.

Audi SQ7 (2016-present): models explained

Audi SQ7 diesel

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Audi SQ7 petrol

Audi SQ7 front three quarters view

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Audi SQ7 diesel

The Audi SQ7 built from 2016 to 2020 used a 4.0-litre eight-cylinder diesel engine that produced 435hp. It used a special type of turbocharger that was designed to reduce lag, which means it feels very powerful and strong from very low engine speeds. Even from practically a standstill, it offers loads of muscle and this means acceleration is very swift.

The diesel SQ7 goes from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds, which is faster than most hot hatchbacks and even rivals sports cars in a straight line. It’s no sports car in the corners, due to its size and weight, but the fast acceleration will put a smile on your face.

This model actually makes more sense to us than the petrol alternative. Not only is it cheaper to purchase - because it's a bit older - it’s also cheaper to run and should be able to easily reach over 30mpg fuel economy on a long trip, which is impressive for something so big and heavy.

Audi SQ7 petrol

Audi SQ7 models built after 2020 use a 4.0-litre eight-cylinder petrol engine. This motor is more powerful than the diesel and has over 500hp, though it’s doesn't offer quite as much punch from very low engine speeds. This engine allows the newer SQ7 to go from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds, which is astonishingly fast for a car of this size.

Acceleration at full throttle is something to experience, but it’s a rare treat because you’ll be breaking the speed limit before you know it. Like the diesel SQ7, this version is not really up to much around bends, though. It’s more expensive to buy and run than the diesel, so you’ll have to really love the wonderful V8 petrol engine noise to choose this one.

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Which Audi SQ7 to buy: trim levels

Audi SQ7 side view
TrimEquipmentDeals
Audi SQ7From £44,948: All versions of the SQ7 are well equipped. Even the base model comes with 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, digital dials, sat-nav, sports seats in leather and adaptive air suspension.
Audi SQ7 Black EditionLimited stock: Black Edition adds 22-inch alloy wheels, sportier-tuned air suspension, black styling trim details on the outside and polished oak on the inside. There’s also four-zone climate control in this model.
Audi SQ7 VorsprungLimited stock: The top trim level comes with 22-inch alloy wheels with a different design, plus upgraded LED headlights, ventilated front seats with massaging functions, a head-up display and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

 
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Best Audi SQ7 engine

The earlier diesel version of the SQ7, which uses an eight-cylinder motor with clever turbocharger technology, is our pick of the two versions on offer second-hand. The newer petrol motor is more powerful, faster and sounds better, but the diesel offers plenty of performance with better running costs.

The official fuel economy of this model is more than 35mpg, which is really impressive for a large and powerful 4.0-litre engine. It’s great for long trips and yet can still accelerate faster than many sports cars. It’s better-suited to this large and heavy SUV than the newer petrol unit.

Both versions use four-wheel-drive to boost traction when accelerating and a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox, so there’s no dilemma there.

Best Audi SQ7 model for…

Audi SQ7 interior view

There are really only a couple of choices to make when shopping for an Audi SQ7. The main one will be whether you want an older diesel model or a newer petrol model - you can read more about that in the sections above.

The second decision will be about which trim level to go for. Let’s take a look at some of the best options according to a range of situations, from the best value model to the one you should avoid.

Audi SQ7 diesel: Stick with the normal SQ7 in diesel form for the best value - a 2016 or 2017 car will be the cheapest to buy, and since these models are all diesel, they’re more affordable to run as well.
Audi SQ7: The best model for families is the same as our best value choice. There’s really no need to go any higher than the base trim level for the SQ7 because it’s already so well equipped, and all versions come with seven seats.
Audi SQ7 Black Edition: The current petrol model in Black Edition trim is no faster than the other models in the range but it does come with a sportier tune for the air suspension, so it should be slightly better around corners.
Audi SQ7 Vorsprung: The Vorsprung trim level is the most expensive you can get, and so we’d avoid this version. It’s not very good value and lesser models have all the equipment you really need.

 

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Audi SQ7 rivals

BMW X5 M

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Range Rover Sport SVR

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Porsche Cayenne Turbo

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The Audi SQ7 is a rival for other high-performance SUVs. It’s quite a niche market but there’s still loads of choice available. The best option is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, which is fantastic to drive considering its size, and the second-best option is the BMW X5 M, which is also better to drive than the Audi SQ7.

The Range Rover Sport SVR is another option, or you could consider the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63, both of which use a petrol V8 engine that sounds better than the V8 in the Audi.

If the engine noise is only an annoyance to you, the electric Tesla Model X is a different option. It’s just as fast, if not faster, than the options above, but it does so with power coming from electric motors rather than a conventional engine.

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Audi SQ7 practicality: dimensions and boot space

Audi SQ7 boot view

Audi SQ7 dimensions

The Audi SQ7 isn’t significantly larger than the Q7 it’s based on, but both are just over five metres long and just under two metres wide, making them pretty big overall. This means it can be tough to fit the SQ7 into UK parking spots and down tight roads, but it’s not impossible. Other performance SUVs such as the BMW X5 M are also very large.

There’s loads of space inside as a result. There are seven seats, plus tonnes of headroom and legroom for passengers inside. The rearmost seats are even large enough for adults, though only kids will be comfy on a longer trip because of the low seat bottoms.

CLICK TO READ OUR FULL STORY ON AUDI Q7 DIMENSIONS

Length 5,067mmWidth 1,970mm
Height 1,743mmWeight 2,270kg

 

Audi SQ7 boot space

While the normal Audi Q7 has 865 litres of boot space, the SQ7 model has a reduced area of 705 litres. This is still a very impressive amount of space, however, and it means the SQ7 is one of the most practical cars of its type.

Fold the rear two rows of seats down and you'll have 1,890 litres of space to play with in the SQ7. While this isn't as large an area as in the biggest SUVs, it's still a pretty expansive space and outsizes all but the largest cars on the road.

CLICK TO READ OUR FULL STORY ON AUDI Q7 BOOT SPACE

Seats up 705 litresSeats down 1,890 litres

 

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Audi SQ7 reliability

The Audi SQ7 has a unique engine in the Q7 range, so it might cost a bit more on parts to maintain, but there’s no reason to think it would be any less reliable than other Audi models. Complex parts such as air suspension are common on pretty much all the SQ7’s rivals, so it should be on par with other similar models when it comes to reliability and maintenance costs.

The 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey showed that Audi doesn’t impress its customers as much as it could do, however. It came in 23rd place out of 29 car makers - a poor result but not a huge amount worse than BMW and Mercedes, which also came in near the bottom of the pack.

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Audi SQ7 warranty

The SQ7’s warranty is very standard - it covers the car for three years and with a mileage limit of 60,000 in the third year (the first two years have no mileage limit). All of its rivals have identical, or close to identical, amounts of warranty cover.

You can also buy extended warranties from Audi with new models. There are two packages to consider, one that adds four-year cover for up to 75,000 miles and another that adds five-year cover for up to 90,000 miles. Considering the cost of the SQ7, they’re well worth considering for the extra peace of mind.

3 years60,000 miles

AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £643 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON USED CAR WARRANTIES

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Used Audi SQ7: should I buy one?

Audi SQ7 rear view

If you’re not sure about the Audi SQ7 then it might not be the best option, because it sits in a compromised middle ground between other models. If you really want the practicality, luxury and high-quality interior of the Q7, but aren't concerned about having the fastest version then the normal models are every bit as good as the SQ7, and there are even powerful petrol and diesel options within the standard Q7 range.

Yet, if you want a fast and sporty car then other, smaller models are much better options. An Audi RS6, for example, is just as fast but also much more enjoyable to drive and just as practical. However, this is assuming you don’t need the seven seats. If you do need seven seats and want the performance available in the SQ7, it’s a worthwhile option. Just be aware that it’s not a huge amount of fun to drive if the road isn’t arrow-straight.

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Best Audi SQ7 deals

Audi SQ7 diesel

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Audi SQ7 petrol

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Audi SQ7 Black Edition

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Choose an earlier model SQ7 for the best combination of purchase price and running costs. These versions have diesel engines and so are cheaper to run than the newer petrol versions, but they’re almost as fast and just as practical.

The newer petrol models do have a place, though - the engine sounds great and is incredibly powerful. This means if you want the most powerful and fastest version, a newer petrol car in Black Edition trim might be the one to go for.

The normal SQ7 is still really well equipped, though - it’s better value overall. While it doesn’t have as much kit as the Black Edition, the smaller alloy wheels ought to help make it a bit more comfortable as well, with less metal and more rubber between you and the road.

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*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:

PCP representative exampleAPR rates available
Cash price £12,000APR 7.90%Value of loanFrom
Fixed monthly payment £218.12Annual mileage of 8,000pa£25,000+6.9%
Total cost of credit £2,755.55Term 48 months£12,000-£24,9997.9%
Optional final payment £4,285.79Loan value £12,000£8,000-£11,9998.9%
Total amount payable £14,755.55Deposit £0<8,0009.9%

 

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.
 

Last Updated 

Friday, December 17, 2021 - 08:45

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