Primary Navigation Mobile

Audi Q7 SQ7 review

2016 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0
” Audi’s seven-seat supercar-slayer – now with a 500hp V8 petrol engine “

At a glance

Price new £88,065 - £91,060
Used prices £56,692 - £73,815
Road tax cost £600
Insurance group 49
Get an insurance quote with Mustard logo
Fuel economy 22.6 - 22.8 mpg
Miles per pound 3.3
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types


Pros & cons

  • Immensely fast
  • Loads of space
  • Surprisingly comfortable
  • Thirsty when thrashed
  • Expensive to buy
  • Vast dimensions

Written by Luke Wilkinson Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 20 October 2022


The Audi SQ7 has been around since 2016. When it was launched, it was powered by a hugely torquey 4.0-litre V8 diesel but, for the SUV’s facelift in 2020, Audi decided to swap that engine for a 507hp 4.0-litre V8 petrol in a bid make it more appealing and to sell more cars in the United States.

The new V8 is the same unit found in the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Continental GT, albeit with a bit less power. However, all three cars share the same basic eight-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel drive system. And, because it’s a petrol engine rather than a diesel engine, the updated SQ7 is around 100kg lighter than the original car. That makes a difference in the bends.

There is a downside, though – the new petrol engine is rather thirsty. Audi tried to make it frugal by fitting clever cylinder deactivation technology that can shut down four of the engine’s eight cylinders to achieve a claimed WLTP fuel economy figure of 23.2mpg. But the system doesn’t work if you’re lead-footed.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear three quarter rolling shot, red car, leafy road
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear three quarter rolling shot, red car, leafy road

It can easily manage 27mpg on the motorway but, if you tickle the throttle too often, that figure will tumble into single digits. We saw as little as 7mpg after a particularly spirited drive. Fuel economy is equally meagre around town, too.

However, fuel economy is a little less relevant here because the SQ7 isn’t a car you buy with your head. If you were being smart with your money, you’d buy the standard Q7. Probably the plug-in hybrid model at that, too, which has a long enough electric range to get the school run done without burning a drop of petrol. You buy the SQ7 because you want to be entertained – and we reckon it can deliver that in spades.

What’s it like inside?

Massive. The driver and the passenger have loads of headroom, stacks of legroom and a billiard table-sized central armrest to share. The build quality is great for the most part, although we’re not sure about the piano black plastic Audi has used to trim the centre console. We reckon it’ll look quite tired once it’s had a couple years’ worth of keys dragged across it. Our test car already had a few marks.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - dashboard and front seats, grey leather upholstery
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - dashboard and front seats, grey leather upholstery

The dashboard also has one too many touchscreens on it for our liking. The 10.1-inch infotainment screen is fine, but the climate control screen below it is too tricky to use on the move. Because it’s mounted so low, you need to look down at it to adjust the temperature – and that means taking your eyes off the road for few seconds. Knobs and buttons would have been a lot better.

Those in the back don’t have much to complain about, though. Six-foot adults enjoy a good three inches of headroom and there’s so much space in the footwells, you could stretch out even if you’re wearing clown shoes. The rear seat back reclines, too, which takes the strain out of longer journeys.

The third row is tight, but it’s manageable. Unlike lowlier seven-seat SUVs such as the Skoda Kodiaq and the SsangYong Rexton, the SQ7’s rearmost seats are also electrically operated. They rise out of the boot floor at the touch of a button, which is sure to amuse children and big kids alike.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear seats, grey leather upholstery, diamond hatch stitching
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear seats, grey leather upholstery, diamond hatch stitching

Leave the back row of seats in their holsters and you have a gigantic 705 litres of boot space. Granted, that’s 65 litres less than you get in the standard Q7 and 45 litres less than the BMW X7, which looks like a point off for Audi. Trust us, though – 705 litres is enough. Our weekly shop barely filled a corner of the SQ7’s boot.

What’s the engine like?

It’s a riot. Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine produces 507hp and 770Nm of torque, so a flex of your big toe is enough to overtake almost anything short of a McLaren 720S. Its character is a lot different to the old diesel engine, too. Peak torque doesn’t arrive until 4,000rpm for the new petrol V8, compared to a lazy 1,000rpm with the old diesel. That means you need to wring the engine out for the best results – but it sounds great, so that’s no hardship.

The SQ7 is far quicker than it has any right to be. It’s a 2.2-tonne seven-seat SUV that can get from 0–62mph in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 155mph. In a straight line at least, it’ll outstrip thoroughbred sports cars like the Lotus Emira, Porsche 718 Cayman and Alpine A110.

Acceleration is visceral and comical in equal measure. Floor it with the chassis in comfort mode and the SQ7’s nose rises like a speed boat getting on a plane. Then, once the turbos have spooled and the eight-speed automatic has found the correct gear, you’re fired towards the horizon like a missile.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - front three quarter rolling shot, red car, leafy road
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - front three quarter rolling shot, red car, leafy road

It isn’t the most refined thing in the world – in fact, the automatic gearbox can get a little flustered if you unexpectedly ask for maximum throttle from a crawl – but it’ll never fail to make you smile.

Considering how highly strung the engine is, it’s surprisingly refined at a cruise. When you’re not hammering it, the V8 recedes into the background, stifled by the SQ7’s generous sound deadening. Wind and road noise is well-suppressed, too – which is impressive given how enormous the alloy wheels are and how blunt the styling is.

What’s it like to drive?

We were surprised by how well the SQ7 manages its weight. You couldn’t call it agile – heck, if you park it too near the school gates, its sheer mass will pull infants into its orbit – but Audi’s adaptive air suspension controls the body with admirable precision.

The chassis is supported by a 48-volt electrically operated anti-roll system, which jacks up the outside wheels through the corners to keep the body flat. Couple that with the four-wheel drive system and you’ll find you can take corners far quicker than physics should allow. Sport mode quells the oh-so-amusing speed boat sensation when accelerating, too.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - front cornering shot, body roll, handling test
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - front cornering shot, body roll, handling test

And it gets better. When you’re finished tearing around your local B-roads and start driving with a little more care, the chassis breathes out and relaxes into the road. The SQ7’s ride is effortless which, again, is very impressive. Most manufacturers (including those from Audi’s Volkswagen Group sister brands) struggle to achieve the same level of refinement with such large alloys and low profile tyres.

Just don’t buy an SQ7 for pottering around town. We used the car during a weekend in London – and it was a stressful experience. It was perfectly comfortable, but narrow roads with parked cars on both sides are challenging to squeeze through and width restrictors are barely navigable. You never get waved out of a junction, either. Thankfully, the first two problems are mitigated by a standard 360-degree camera. Sadly, there’s nothing on the options list to change people’s opinion of you.

What models are available?

The SQ7 has a three-tiered trim structure. The basic car costs a shade over £78,000 and comes with 21-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, privacy glass and aluminium exterior trim. The cabin features electrically adjustable and heated leather sports seats, two-zone climate control and a 10-speaker stereo with a subwoofer. There are Isofix points in all five rear passenger seats, too.

Black Edition cars are priced from around £82,000 – and upgrades over the standard SQ7 are mostly cosmetic. They include a set of 22-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, gloss black badging and titanium black replacements for the radiator grille, brightwork, door mirrors and roof rails. The cabin also gets some polished oak trim and a four-zone climate control system.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear cornering shot, body roll, handling test
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear cornering shot, body roll, handling test

The flagship Audi SQ7 Vorsprung costs a whopping £96,760. That sounds like a lot of money but, when you compare it to the £160,000 you’ll spend on a mechanically similar Bentley Bentayga, it almost looks like a bargain. Especially when you read through the spec sheet.

Standard equipment includes power-closing doors, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated and massaging front seats, heated rear seats in the second row, a head-up display and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system. You even get a self-parking function which can automatically steer the car into parallel and end-on spaces. All the driver needs to do is hold a button on the dash. We’ve tried it – and we were astonished by how accurate the system is.

The Audi SQ7 is a very complete package overall. If you’re a keen driver, but only have space on the driveway for one car, it’s well worth a look for its ability to thrill you, keep you comfortable and haul your family around. Just weigh up whether you can shoulder the fuel costs first. Now click through to the next page for our verdict on Audi SQ7.

Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear light detail shot, dusk lighting
Audi SQ7 review (2022) - rear light detail shot, dusk lighting

Review contents