By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – If ever there was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it was the 2021 Audi SQ7.
A three-row crossover, though when standing next to it, had the silhouette of a station wagon. It was still sleek, distinctive, and stylish at almost 200 inches long.
But that didn’t have anything to do with its wolf personality. The first time we started the SQ7, the engine growled to life. That was the wolf.
Under the hood was a four-liter turbocharged V8 that made 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. It had an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The vehicle could be manually shifted via the stalk or the paddles.
It really didn’t matter. The vehicle motored down the road with authority. It was smooth, it had multiple drive modes and a five-link independent air suspension fore and aft that smoothed out the rode, kept the vehicle level and prevented nosedive or lift no matter the power or the brakes applied.
The Audi SQ7 could get from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds which is downright swift for a three-row crossover with all-wheel drive. It had a top speed that was electronically limited to155 mph, and it had all-wheel steer.
It could also tow 7,700 lbs., and the SQ7 got 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined. When we started it up, we noticed that it had a range of more than 400 miles. That was kind of surprising, given the mpg it got. But the spec sheet said it had 22.5-gallon fuel tank. That is where the range came from.
All this power was wrapped in an alluring package of sheet metal. The Singleframe® grille made the SQ7 standout. It had what Audi has branded HD Matrix designed LED headlights that included DRLs.
At night, the automaker’s technology enhanced illumination created a sight path that was deep and wide, which is probably why the LED headlights were not adaptive.
Make no mistake, Audi is a luxury brand, and as a designer told us once you convey luxury in the interior. It is a lesson that Audi had taken to heart. The SQ7 had carbon fiber trim which Audi has labelled Caron Vector and there was a lot of it, emblazoned across the breadth of dashboard as well as the center console.
The interior was digital, save a volume knob for the audio system. The instruments had a multiple digital screen that was capable of a three-way split. Climate control and infotainment were all digital screens. The power front seats, heated and cooled, were controlled by an avatar on the climate control screen.
Inside the console were two USB jacks and the wireless charging pad and an SD card. What’s more, the top of the console, or the arm rest was adjustable. There was a 12V plug tucked away in the front cupholder.
Quilted leather branded “Rotor Gray” with rock gray stitching adorned the interior. The dash was black, the carpet was black, so was the headliner. But there was plenty of light due to the panoramic roof.
And we have to say the $5,000 premium sound system was thumping.
We got into the second row and were surprised by a space that could accommodate three people sitting abreast. There were two USB jacks and a 12V plug back there as well. And there were heated seats and controls for the rear climate system.
The SQ7 had manual privacy screens on the rear side windows. But everything was not to our liking. We thought it was an involved maneuver to get the second-row seats to fold forward and do whatever they were supposed to do to provide access into the third-row seats. It should not be that involved.
The liftgate was power as were the third-row seats. Push a button and the backs folded onto the seats. Push another button and they unfolded.
In addition to the carbon fiber package, the LED headlights, and the audio system, our 2020 SQ7 had the sport package. It was comprised of active roll stabilization, quattro sport active rear differential, which provided torque to the wheel that had the most grip.
We were told that our SQ7 had a sticker of $105,290 and that it was a “tad more” for the 2021 model. That didn’t bother us whatsoever.