Friday, September 16, 2016

Audi SQ7

In the not too distant past, when the first-generation Q7 didn't had a high-performance model, they once offered a V12 variant, which is by no means one of the rarest attempts to create a V12-powered SUV, a breed unknown to many. That diesel-powered V12 Q7 was a rare breed for the privileged few and treated it to be a super SUV in its own right but sadly, like dinosaurs, it was extinct. In today's Q7, you don't expect to have a big diesel engine to be bolted to it but instead, a much milder, yet menacing, version has stepped in and it wants to capture the essence from its prehistoric predecessor, except for every single detail.

2017 Audi SQ7
2017 Audi SQ7

This is the brand new Audi SQ7 and this semi-high performance full-size crossover SUV is just one of the main reasons why performance is becoming a new normal, especially when it's diesel-powered. Sure, despite big setbacks facing today's diesel engines because of today's headlines but the new SQ7 really despises the setbacks and, in return, it does taking cases seriously on the road.

Behind its athletic styling inside and out, the SQ7 is powered by a brand new 4.0L V8 TDi engine with the world's first electric powered compressor. While it produces less than the old Q7 V12, 435HP and 900Nm compared to over 500HP of power and 1000Nm of torque, it's quicker to 100kph compared to the old Q7 V12, 4.8 seconds versus 5.5 seconds while top speed limited to 250kph, couple that to its lightweight construction, 8-speed automatic gearbox, and signature quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Although as strong as a beefed-up Russian female bodybuilder, its average fuel consumption of 7.4L/100km really means it's surprisingly frugal of a semi-high performance SUV of that size, well-fit for a family vehicle doped for perfection.

Because it's lighter and quicker than the old Q7 V12, you might think that the SQ7 handles better than the old Q7 V12 and the answer is...slightly improved. It maybe lighter compared to the old Q7 V12 thanks to its extensive use of lightweight materials as demonstrated on the normal model but there's still a hint of mildness when you drive it like a sportscar. If it gets understeer, you'll be having a big expression of dragging a very heavy object from point A to point B and when that thing drops on your foot, even when you're wearing shoes, you'll be amputated...quickly. 

Although you'll going to need a lot of force to corner it in the event of understeer, the SQ7 really ups the challenge for those who aren't afraid to say "challenge accepted" and if they get it right, the SQ7, despite the bulk, is a potent competitor compared to sports SUVs, including the Porsche Cayenne or even the Bentley Bentayga.

The price of this hunk of diesel greatness? It starts at 89,900 Euros and that's less expensive compared to the heavyweights, including the Bentley Bentayga. Despite the high-price tag, the new SQ7 really is a potent successor of the old Q7 V12, even though it has a smaller V8 diesel engine, and if drivers get things right to master this diesel behemoth on the road, feels like this day will never end and they will have more fun going places in a semi-high performance SUV that despite its size, it remains a fun family car full stop.

Photo: Audi AG

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