Audi SQ7 TFSI Black

Edition

Audi SQ7, front
Audi SQ7, side
Audi SQ7, rear
Audi SQ7, interior
Audi SQ7, gear lever
Audi SQ7, engine
Audi SQ7, boot
Audi SQ7, badge

THERE'S quite a choice of large seven seater cars now on the market - but not many as quick as Audi's rocket-ship-like Q7.

Powered by a 4.0-litre V8 engine it boasts 500 bhp and is hardly your typical family school run car - particularly with its £85,000 price tag.

But with this car it's definitely a case of you get what you pay for.

And in this instance you get space and power in equal abundance.

With the latest SQ7 Audi has opted to drop its beefy V8 diesel in favour of a V8 twin turbo petrol engine - a complete reversal of what it's done with its V6 powered SQ5 model.

And while you obviously lose out on economy - although this is helped by a cylinder on demand system which closes down four of the eight cylinders on a light throttle - you gain in the performance stakes and the refinement.

The seven-seater Q7 is about as macho as cars come. With its high stance, deep imposing grille and swept back headlights it certainly has plenty of road presence.

Deep side skirts, 22-inch alloys and stylish cuts in the metal along each side enhance its muscular design while at the rear the V8's quad tail pipes announce that this is a mean machine.

When it comes to the interior it's upmarket and businesslike with top class quilted leather upholstery, electrically adjustable and heated front seats as well as - in the case of the car driven here - a full length opening glass sunroof (a £1,850 extra).

Passengers sitting in the middle row seats enjoy limousine-like legroom and these seats will slide backwards and forwards in case you need to increase space in the luggage area.

The two third row seats are really only for small children because of the restricted legroom, although you could squash in two adults for a short hop, to the local pub.

And I liked the fact that when you open any of the doors at night the Audi five rings badge is projected onto the pavement. A nice little bit of theatre.

A central touchscreen gives access to everything including Google Earth satellite navigation, the car's multiple driving modes and checking what's behind you via a rear view camera when reversing.

The extensive driving mode choice includes offroad, allroad, efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual settings as well as the option to raise or lower the height of the car.

Get behind the wheel and the SQ7 feels big. Some large cars have the ability to feel like your average family hatchback but the SQ7 looks big and feels big.

Having said that it's highly manoeuvrable despite its size thanks in part to its all-wheel-steering which at low speeds turns the rear wheels by up to five degrees in the opposite direction to reduce the turning circle.

On the road there's never any lack of superpower even in efficiency mode and the all-wheel-drive quattro system ensures it all reaches the road with no sign of wheelspin.

The eight speed tiptronic auto box is seamless and changes down in the blink of an eye when you put your right foot down hard. Use the paddles behind the steering wheel for even more sportier driving but beware - this is a seven-seater that thinks it's a two-seater sports car and the performance is blistering, with 62 miles per hour coming in a whisker over four seconds.

At the same time there's that spine tingling classic V8 roar you don't really expect from a big SUV.

The ride is superb whether you are pottering through the city or pressing on with haste across country thanks to the S-specific adaptive air suspension.

If you're used to a high performance sports car or hatchback but now need the space of an SUV and are fearing the potential lack of exhilaration don't worry. The SQ7 will give you the space you need - and still put a smile on your face.

FAST FACTS

Audi SQ7 TFSI Black Edition

Price: £84,915

Mechanical: 500bhp, 3,996cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via eight speed tiptronic gearbox

Max Speed: 155 mph

0-62mph: 4.1 secs

Combined MPG: 22.8

Insurance Group: 49

C02 emissions: 281 g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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