The SQ7 is not the first performance SUV to bedazzle us with a substantial engine.

There are by now a plethora of other examples – and yet only a couple that we’d recommend wholeheartedly.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
I don’t like the way the steering loads up in Dynamic mode. It’s like fighting the car into corners at times. But knowing Audi, I’m sure you can tune every control weight to your personal taste

The rest are typically undone in this section, where, in order to successfully incorporate sports car levels of performance in a high-sided machine, manufacturers have been forced to make ugly dynamic compromises that fatally handicap the reward of driving them day to day on UK roads.

It is the broadening of this mediation between comfort and handling that much of the SQ7’s optional chassis cleverness is devoted to achieving. And, much as they were with the Bentayga, the results are impressive.

Certainly you don’t need to know the technical details of the adaptive air suspension or the active roll control systems to know that the car is effortlessly good at the kind of imperious ride and well-mannered cornering that ought to be contradictory in an SUV that weighs the same as two Audi A3s.

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Being on slightly smaller wheels than the Bentayga we tested earlier in the year, the SQ7 might actually marginally exceed the Bentley’s comfort levels – meaning that the isolating quality of its mostly steadfast aloofness is right from the top drawer.

Totally impervious it isn’t, but any intrusion on your state of relaxation is tempered by the car’s unlikely accuracy at the next corner.

It is here where the beefed-up electrical supply and cost-option cleverness of those active anti-roll bars collude to resist the kind of flabby body movements that ought to naturally result from the syrupy ride quality you were treated to the moment before you started turning the steering wheel.

But the really striking thing is how organic and progressive this all feels. There’s no marked transition from pliancy to poise; rather, the SQ7 seems – in its Comfort setting and at seven-tenths – unruffled, supple, candid and very wieldy.

And by being all these things at once, it manages to make assimilating the V8’s boundless energy seem almost effortless.

The steep undulations and extreme cambers of the Hill Route are notoriously unkind to heavy SUVs, to the extent that even the technological prowess of the SQ7 failed to tame it.

Quite often the persuasiveness of a chassis’ apparently tacked-down composure proves its undoing.

Because the SQ7’s ungainly steering relays little — if any — feedback in its Dynamic setting, there’s a tendency to throw the car around based on its preternatural lateral balance alone. That’s fine for brisk road driving but insufficient when at nine-tenths on a proving ground.

As such, the SQ7 is prone to coming unstuck at the front as the effort to contain its mass becomes too much for the tyres.

Given the right camber, coming off the power at this point can cajole the car into tightening its line to the point where a degree of correctional lock is required — but you’ll need to have switched out the traction control entirely in order to encounter this.

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