2021 Audi SQ7

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2021 Audi SQ7 Test Drive Review: Adequately Aggressive

by Jake Lingeman

If you start the 2021 Audi SQ7 SUV on a cold morning, the 500-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 rumbles to life with a gravelly, metallic thumping sound that will wake the neighbors. But before we could get some video of the "feature," it quickly settled into a quiet idle. And that's what you'll get from Audi's biggest grocery-getter, an incognito muscle car masquerading as an SUV.

The SQ7 does battle against the new breed of luxury super SUVs, mainly those of the German persuasion. Sizewise, it sits between the competition's midsize and large offerings but is technically closer to midsize rivals like the Mercedes-AMG GLE-Class and BMW X5. Against these, the SQ7 brings more to the table than just a potent engine. Three rows of seating, performance suspension, and more tech than you could ever truly use make this worthy of being considered one of Audi's flagship passenger vehicles.

Read in this review:

8.4
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2021 Audi SQ7 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 SQ7?

The 2021 Audi SQ7 has very few changes to speak of over the SQ7 from 2020, with the only updates being the inclusion of a heated steering wheel as standard on the Premium Plus trim and the Executive Package for the entry-level model now includes the leather package. The 2020 Audi SQ7 was an all-new model, so the fact that there weren't many changes isn't a downfall.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent power outputs
  • Confident handling characteristics
  • Plush, luxurious interior
  • Comfortable and supportive seating
  • Third row is cramped
  • More expensive than rivals
  • Cargo capacity could be better

Best Deals on 2021 Audi SQ7

2021 Audi SQ7 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
4.0T Premium Plus quattro
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$85,000
4.0T Prestige quattro
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$85,000
See All 2021 Audi SQ7 Trims and Specs

2021 SQ7 Exterior

2021 Audi SQ7 Frontal Aspect Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Rear Angle View Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Front Angle View Audi
See All 2021 Audi SQ7 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 199.6 in
  • Wheelbase 117.9 in
  • Height 68.5 in
  • Max Width 77.6 in
  • Front Width 66.1 in
  • Rear Width 66.6 in
  • Curb Weight 5,291.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Navarra Blue Metallic +$595
  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect +$595
  • Florett Silver Metallic +$595
  • Glacier White Metallic +$595
  • Matador Red Metallic +$595
  • Barrel Brown Metallic +$595
  • Night Black
  • Orca Black Metallic

2021 SQ7 Performance

2021 Audi SQ7 Side Angle Driving Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Side Perspective Driving Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Engine Audi

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

As you know, you can't make a 5,300-pound SUV carve corners like a sports coupe. But the SQ7's suspension tightens considerably in those more aggressive modes, which also add heft to the steering. That makes for a surprisingly nimble three-row SUV with rear-wheel steering that angles in with the front wheels at high speeds and in the opposite direction during low-speed maneuvers. In the sportier modes, the Audi barely leans around corners, and the lift and dive are more muted as well.

Even with the heftier steering in dynamic mode, there still isn't a lot of communication from the road to your hands, but at least the steering wasn't numb AND slow. When driven sportily, the SQ7 hits bumps and potholes harder than we'd like, but the bright side of the disconnect is that those bumps don't jerk the steering wheel around. Honestly, even in a super SUV like this, you don't want full Mini Cooper levels of feedback anyway. No one is taking this to a track for more than one exhibition run.

2021 SQ7 Interior

2021 Audi SQ7 Dashboard Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Gauge Cluster Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Central Console Audi
See All 2021 Audi SQ7 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 39.9 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.8 in

2021 SQ7 Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Audi SQ7 Back Seats Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Trunk Space Audi
2021 Audi SQ7 Maximum Trunk Space Audi

2021 SQ7 Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 SQ7 a good car?

The Audi SQ7 handled everything we threw at it for a week, on and off the road. It sounds fantastic on start-up, and when the 500-hp twin-turbo V8 sings, it's like nothing else. Throw in the fact that it feels as comfortable as any luxury cruiser when in its softest mode, and we have a winner.

What the SQ7 really has going for it is its tweener size. Despite its sales numbers (the Q is outsold by the Lexus RX more than three to one and the Mercedes GLE two to one) it does fit the buyer who needs a little more space than a midsize SUV, but not too much more. Think two kids, but a lot of activities.

Now, if one wants power, they can get more from either of the other German marques. The X5 M50i undercuts it in price by a few thousand dollars too, with 23 more ponies. But that shouldn't be the deciding factor. It's been true for a while that of the three German super sleds, Mercedes feels the most luxurious, BMW feels the sportiest and Audi is in the middle. If balance is what you're looking for, this Audi does it best.

Check out other Audi Q7 Styles

2021 Audi SQ7 Comparisons

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Porsche
Bentley Bentayga CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Audi SQ7500 hp15/21 mpg$88,500
Porsche Cayenne Turbo 541 hp14/19 mpg$129,900
Bentley Bentayga 542 hp15/24 mpg$187,600

2021 Audi SQ7 vs Porsche Cayenne Turbo

The Porsche Cayenne and Audi SQ7 go head to head for the attention of deep-pocketed buyers in this segment. Of course, the Cayenne Turbo is considerably more expensive than the Audi, but its 4.0-liter V8 produces slightly more power to boot. The Porsche also boasts a stunningly minimalist interior, so they are tied in that department, although the Audi is more practical with three-row seating, while the Porsche can be equipped with four individual bucket seats. But where they differ most is in their driving dynamics - the two may share MLB Evo underpinnings, but the Porsche handles sweeter and is sharper overall, while the SQ7 is a little softer, despite being a semi-performance model. The Cayenne is notably smaller than the Audi, so if practicality is your main goal, the SQ7 wins.

See Porsche Cayenne Turbo Review

2021 Audi SQ7 vs Bentley Bentayga

The Bentley Bentayga costs more than double the price of the SQ7, but is it worth it? The Bentayga's 542-hp V8 is slightly more powerful than the SQ7 and Bentley produces far more truly luxury-focused vehicles than Audi does. That being said, the SQ7 is plush and filled with expensive materials and tech. We prefer the Audi's interior in terms of the dual-screen set-up and the performance bits on the inside, but the Bentley is noticeably more comfortable. If you're shopping with a family in mind, the SQ7 is the better choice because it offers more space and seating for up to seven, despite being marginally shorter. However, the Bentley is in a truly different league from a luxury perspective, and if you want to feel like you're driving a cloud, the Bentayga can't be beaten.

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