Audi SQ7 4.0 V8 TFSI quattro on-tour across Germany : Flight Risque
2022 Audi SQ7 4.0 V8 TFSI quattro on-tour across Germany : Flight Risque
STORY Deyna Chia
PHOTOS Audi / Deyna Chia
Germany - When the missus said she wanted to take the family on a driving holiday across Germany, our brief (and list) was rather straightforward as far as transportation for a few weeks of overland travel was concerned.
It had to be large enough to seat five adults (my eldest is nearly 6ft tall), accommodate three full-sized suitcases, is manoeuvrable and agile enough to traverse underground parking and mediaeval towns, but most importantly, has four-wheel-drive (for the wintery conditions).
After a hasty poll over WhatsApp, the intercontinental, mega-mile-munching Audi SQ7 4.0 TFSI quattro seemed to tick the most, if not all of our boxes.
Our two week trip would take us from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Gappa) and back, then north-west to Nuremberg, Ingolstadt, Frankfurt, Cochem, Cologne, Ruthenburg in Germany, then onwards to Roermond in The Netherlands and back again.
All in, we'd cover just under 2300km, or roughly 1.5 months the average mileage covered by cars in Singapore.
Day 1 - Munich to Gappa, Gappa to Mittenwald
We picked up the SQ7 at the well-appointed Audi Conference Center located at Terminal 1 of the Munich Airport. In typical Audi fashion, the cockpit layout and location of buttons (physical and sensor screen) were intuitive and ergonomic, and most importantly, the seat-heating buttons were in plain sight.
Firing up the 507hp/770Nm 4.0l biturbo V8 was an aural pleasure, with the exhaust erupting in rapture before simmering down to a deep, bassy bellow. As we headed southwest via the A95 towards Gappa, we quickly got acquainted with the fire-breathing nature of the SQ7.
Kickdowns were met with a huge wallop in terms of both sight and sound as the V8 soundtrack resonated throughout the cabin. Audi claims that the SQ7 will blast from 80-120km/h in just 3.8secs and we whole-heartedly agree.
However it cruises sublimely too, because with the throttle kept steady at cruising speeds, the SQ7 was happy purring along. We noticed how the cabin was particularly hushed at speeds of up to 180km/h, so the kids could chat and play without having to raise their voices.
Even though it was shod in 22-inch tyres, the road irregularities were hardly felt or heard. Kudos to Audi engineers as the ride was luxurious, yet communicative in its sportiness.
Day 3 - Gappa to Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany, via B179 through Austria
One of the most scenic routes during the trip saw us driving through the German and Austrian ski-resorts. With the weather turning cold, the 60+km commute saw ambient temperatures drop to 1.5˚C.
With the surefootedness of Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive, the SQ7 inspired confidence even when the wet roads narrowed and became twisty. This was ably complemented by the car's Active Lane Assist, which alerted (via vibrations in the steering wheel) the driver whenever either front wheel ventured past the lane markings.
With its relatively linear throttle response and seamless power delivery, the SQ7 was extremely well-behaved in such slippery conditions.
Day 4 - to Nuremberg via Munich
Stopping by the renowned Hofbräuhaus am Platzl in Munich for lunch, we parked underground, which featured a typical max-headroom of 1.8m. Good thing then that the SQ7 is 1.75m tall, with air-suspension that can be raised or lowered.
With four-wheel steering, manoeuvring in carparks was a cinch, even with its 5m length and 2.2m width (with mirrors unfolded).
Just like Singapore, there seemed to be 'revenge' roadworks on the German highways. The 170km drive on the A9 from Munich to Nuremberg would be our first taste of roadworks, where traffic in both directions were diverted to occupy either the north or south bound sides.
This meant that three-lane wide roads were now spliced into four-lanes, or two per direction. Lanes were barely 2.1m wide in some sections and we felt the girth of the SQ7 in these situations, especially when attempting to pass heavy goods vehicles.
Day 5 - Audi Forum, Ingolstadt
The kids enjoyed visiting the Audi Forum (aka Audi Museum Mobile) in Ingolstadt. Covering three floors, it starts on Level 3 with examples of the founding brands (the four rings in the logo): Wanderer, Horch, Audi and DKW (motorcycles).
Located on Level 2 were examples of the Audi models that left an indelible mark in the motoring industry, like the Audi Sport Quattro, as well as a vertical carousel of actual Audi race cars including Le Mans, DTM touring cars, and the Quattro Rally Car.
On display on Level 1 was the Speed of Light exhibition, which runs from 18th Nov 2022 till 4th June 2023. The exhibition features in chronological order, Audi's use of automotive lights beginning with the Audi Type C with acetylene headlights from 1919, to the 2014 Audi R8 LMX with laser high beams, before wrapping-up with the AI:CON concept car.
The front and rear of the AI:CON consists of hundreds of triangular pixel segments functioning as fully-digitised display surfaces to be used as a means of communication with other road users, to enhance safety.
The museum is a must-visit for Audiphiles and receives over 400,000 visitors a year. As a guide, it took us a little more than two hours to complete the viewing.
Day 7 - Frankfurt to Cochem
The 170km drive via the A3 and A48 featured 6km of hilariously twisty 1st and 2nd gear corners from Wirfus to Klotten, reminiscent of some roads in Pahang, Malaysia. The road was surprisingly dry, which allowed us to drive more enthusiastically.
The 2.3-tonne SQ7 surprised us with its precision and agility, which do a great job of masking its kerbweight, while the stiff chassis and active anti-roll bars effectively nullify body roll.
With 770Nm delivered from just 2000rpm, we quickly lost sight of following traffic. Pretty impressive stuff, considering the SQ7 was carrying five of us and all our baggage.
Day 12 - Cologne to Rothenberg ob der Tauber
Our drive from Cologne to the picturesque Rotherberg covered 410km via the soggy A3. Even in such slippery conditions, generous application of the throttle met with consistent, unbroken acceleration.
Not once did the tail wag or front end go light even in sections with visible water ponding. This inspired ample confidence and reduced driver fatigue to get us safe and sound to our destination.
The Audi SQ7 got the family vote as the 'funnest' and most flexible road-trip rocket we've enjoyed to date. Like the four rings in its badge, the SQ7 circled all the right elements for us in terms of quality, comfort, performance and safety.
Unlike highly-strung 2.0-litre pocket rockets, the SQ7’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8's devastating 507hp/770Nm allows for effortless overtakes to the accompaniment of that glorious vee-engine baritone burble.
As far as we're concerned, the SQ7 is a lot of car for the money (just under S$550k with COE), because only a handful of seven-seater cars can propel its occupants in comfort from 0-100km/h in just 4.1secs and boast a top speed of 250km/h (this is electronically-limited, meaning it can go faster!).
Driven without abandon on derestricted stretches of the Autobahn, the 85-litre fuel tank will quickly run dry, but we started to leave it in Efficiency and maintained a steady 150km/h on the highways, which let us achieve an admirable 12.5l/100km!
Besides, it was far more satisfying to conserve these 'fuel credits' for the winding roads, where we could unleash the V8's explosive performance with no worry about taking a hit to the average fuel consumption.
True to its Q-car credentials, the SQ7's aesthetics are understated and almost 'sleeper' even, with only those 'in-the-know' able to pick out the differences that elevate it above and beyond the regular Q7 – an easter egg we really appreciated, especially since it let us surprise sportier machines on the Autobahn.
Audi SQ7 4.0 TFSI quattro
Engine 3996cc, V8, twin-turbo
Transmission 8spd Tiptronic auto
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Consumption 13.3l/100km