The SQ7 has a more aggressive look than the standard Q7. The S-specific bumper has larger air intakes, and standard 21-inch wheels give this thing some great curb appeal — as do the quad exhaust tips. Those who want a broody look can opt for the Black Optic package to add a darker vibe to the grille, mirror housings, door blades, window surrounds, bumper details and roof rails.
The heart of the SQ7 is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that growls to life on startup. This is the same engine used in the aggro RS Q8, but it’s detuned here to “only” produce 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. All that grunt gets down to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Audi equips the SQ7 with an adaptive air suspension and rear-axle steering, and an optional torque-vectoring rear differential really helps this 5,291-pound SUV hustle. On the road, the SQ7 hunkers down and handles like a boss, feeling like a much smaller, more nimble car. Audi’s active roll stabilization tech helps here, too, as do grippy summer tires. My only complaint is that the steering feel is really light — a common trait across all new Audis.
As for straight-line speed, Audi says the SQ7 can scoot to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, and freeway merging is a breeze thanks to tons of low-end power. Of course, fuel economy takes a hit here, but it’s pretty much on par when compared to other performance SUVs. The SQ7 is rated at 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined, and during a week of testing, I see 19.3 mpg.
The SQ7 offers three rows of seats, but the way-back should be reserved for children only. I contorted my 5-foot, 9-inch frame back there and trust me, it’s not a place for adults. Fold the third row flat, however, and there’s lots of cargo space — 35.7 cubic feet, to be exact. That’s more than you get in rivals such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Genesis GV80.
The interior is full of soft-touch materials and leather upholstery, done up in red in my test car. All the luxury features you could ever want are here, too, including heated, ventilated, massaging front seats, as well as heated rear seats, LED ambient lighting and power soft-close doors.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster runs on a 12.3-inch display and it’s one of the best systems in the business, especially thanks to Google satellite view maps. The rest of Audi’s infotainment system lives on two stacked screens on the center console. The upper 10.1-inch display is used for functions like navigation and media, while the lower 8.6-inch screen runs the climate control and other functions. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, too.
For 2022, full-speed adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are standard. My tester has a few optional features, as well, including intersection assist, which can monitor cross traffic and make sure you don’t try to turn left at an oncoming car.
Of course, all this power, luxury and tech is expensive. With all the bells and whistles, my tester costs $106,390 including $1,095 for destination — nearly $20,000 more than the base MSRP. That includes the $5,000 Prestige pack and $5,900 Sport pack, the latter of which is how you get the active rear differential.
What else is out there for that price? If you can live with just two rows of seats, the BMW X5 M50i and Porsche Cayenne S are up there in terms of power, but I like the SQ7’s interior and tech better. If you don’t need V8 power, the Genesis GV80 and Mercedes-AMG GLE53 are options, but they aren’t as exciting.
Expensive as it can get, the 2022 Audi SQ7 is a rip-roarin’ SUV that sacrifices nothing in the way of comfort or convenience features. Forget about the third row, and this is a great-driving, luxurious SUV that’ll satisfy your need for speed.