► Petrol-powered SQ7 driven► Less torque, more noise
► A successful transplant?

Now this is just getting confusing. Audi’s range of S models are flitting between diesel and petrol power at the drop of a hat, it seems, with the hottest version of the Q7 the latest victim/beneficiary [delete where appropriate] of a powertrain heart transplant.

Gone is the epic torquey twin-turbo V8 diesel, replaced by one with the same configuration but drinks from the green pump rather than the black one.

Eh? Why’s that?

When asked about it, Audi’s spokespeople told us it was because they want to sell it (and the coupe-SUV SQ8 sibling) in the US market – a market that has held disdain for diesel for far longer than Europe has. In order to make that happen, Audi made the switch to petrol, using the same engine block as that used in the likes of the S8, RS6 and RS7 siblings and hotter RSQ8 – albeit in a less powerful tune.

audi sq7 tfsi (2022) review: a change of heart

So, the SQ7 TFSI now uses a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 that makes 500bhp and 568lb ft of torque (compared to 429bhp and 664lb ft of the diesel version), good for a 0-62mph sprint in just 4.1 seconds (that’s faster than an Aston DBX, facelifted Bentayga V8 and Porsche Cayenne GTS) and a limited top speed of 155mph.

Claimed fuel economy figures (as expected) drop from 29.1mpg for the diesel to 23.3mpg for the TFSI petrol, and CO2 emissions rise from 255g/km to 276g/km. The SQ7 was already thirsty but switching to petrol has made it even more so, even if the engine has cylinder deactivation tech. As part of our week-long loan in the UK, we drove 200 mostly motorway miles with four passengers and luggage and averaged 27mpg on a lightly trafficked quick run.

audi sq7 tfsi (2022) review: a change of heart

Standard kit includes Audi Sport-tuned air suspension and rear-wheel steering, with SQ7 Vorsprung models benefits from the 48v active anti-roll technology we’ve come to know well. European models can also be specced with carbon ceramic brakes, but UK ones can’t.

What differences does that new engine bring?

Save for the additional wedge you’ll need to set aside for more regular fuelling, the most noticeable difference after the first few miles is the noise. While the SQ7 TDI had a character all of its own, the gravelly diesel din plays second fiddle to the torque it provided. With the TFSI, the burly petrol V8 noise is much more welcome; it’s deep and muscular, burbling away at low revs. Poke the bear that lies within in faster roads and it growls, barks and even clears its throat with pops n’ bangs on downshifts, making the experience that little more exciting than before. An AMG or JLR V8 offers even more theatre, though.

audi sq7 tfsi (2022) review: a change of heart

Along with the fruity engine note, the other largest change is the power band. That hard-hitting diesel applied all of its torque from just 1000rpm, pulling like a freight train essentially from a standing start. This new TFSI unit needs 2000rpm to apply its 568lb ft – less torque than before, but still more than enough.

The SQ7 TFSI is not slow, helped by the extra power over the diesel and the fact it’s more than 100kg lighter, and the engine feels more flexible despite the power band changes. Using a petrol V8 makes it more rewarding to change the gears yourself via the paddles on the steering wheel, for example.

Anything else to note?

Our UK loan took in a trip to the Lake District, which emphasised just how big this 2.2-metre wide SUV feels on tighter roads – obvious really, but it really does feel like you’re breathing in most of the time, and simply keeping pace with smaller cars at a modest pace can be tricky, despite all the V8 shove that’s so satisfying to exploit when you find space.

audi sq7 tfsi (2022) review: a change of heart

Less obvious but important to note given the size is the emergency braking system – it activated numerous times during parking and when we reversed for a bus on the Kirkstone Pass, presumably because it mistook greenery for a solid object. It’s abrupt, frustrating and doesn’t half make you look daft. At least you can turn the intrusive lane-keeping system off with a push at the indicator stalk.

The flipside to this girth is the handy seven-seat practicality. The second-row slides back and forth manually, and the seat backs recline. They also fold flat and then roll forwards (providing the front seat isn’t pushed far back for a tall driver) to provide access to the +2 seats in the rear, which electrically motor up from the boot floor. They’re tight for adults, but fine for kids, with access helped by very low sills as you climb aboard.

With all seven seats deployed the boot shrinks hugely from the generous 705 offered with just five seats in place – the space has to come from somewhere, after all, but just remember there’s no obvious place to store the rear parcel shelf either.

audi sq7 tfsi (2022) review: a change of heart

Our test car wore 21-inch alloys – the smallest available – but on standard air suspension the ride and refinement on UK roads is mostly serene. Poor surfaces can induce some patter, but the overwhelming impression is of a supple, well-controlled ride that rounds out the lumpiest of bumps, plus it’s all very hused at speed.

The SQ7 feels so big and comfortable that its capability when pushed harder is a genuine surprise – adaptive air suspension ably manages all the mass, while all-wheel drive really digs in and slings it through corners, helped along by rear-wheel steering.

Audi SQ7 TFSI: verdict

You ever hear those stories of people getting transplants and bits of their personality changing along with it? It’s kind of the same with the SQ7. It’s still a large, imperious, well-built and practical SUV that is all about covering ground at tremendous pace with little effort required from you.

That new heart has made the SQ7 a bit more of a lout under buttoned-up exterior – louder and more aggressive and likes a drink a little more than before. But you’re still impressed by its breadth of talents.

MOTOR'S NEWS RELATED

Join Road & Track and Car and Driver on Our Annual Car of the Year Tests

Check out today's coolest new cars alongside editors at Performance Car of the Year, Lightning Lap, and 10Best Awards.

View more: Join Road & Track and Car and Driver on Our Annual Car of the Year Tests

Satisfying Subaru SUVs That People Love Driving and Owning

Satisfying Subaru SUVs that people love driving include the 2022 Crosstrek The 2022 Forester is another Satisfying Subaru SUV that people love Don’t overlook the 2022 Outback for a stress-free driving experience Subaru makes a reliable and safe sport utility vehicle, but that’s not all. These Satisfying Subaru SUVs ...

View more: Satisfying Subaru SUVs That People Love Driving and Owning

Holiday Rambler Eclipse RV Debuts With Theater Seats, Drop-Down Loft

It’s available with three different floor plans.

View more: Holiday Rambler Eclipse RV Debuts With Theater Seats, Drop-Down Loft

Genesis prices 2023 G80 electric car at $81,000, expands EVs to more states

Genesis on Thursday expanded the breadth and availability of its electric car lineup on its path to becoming a fully electric automaker by 2030. The luxury brand’s newest car, the 2023 Electrified Genesis G80, will cost $80,920 (including a $1,095 destination fee) when it goes on sale in September. The ...

View more: Genesis prices 2023 G80 electric car at $81,000, expands EVs to more states

This C5 Corvette Turned Off-Roader Could be Yours For Small Bucks

Photo: Caleb Hodshire/Facebook Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette and off-road vehicles now have a golden opportunity to combine their two passions for a small amount of money. A tuning enthusiast in Illinois, who specializes in Corvette conversions, is selling on Marketplace a fifth-generation (C5) 1999 Corvette built to venture ...

View more: This C5 Corvette Turned Off-Roader Could be Yours For Small Bucks

Audi heads to F1, 2025 Cadillac Celestiq, 2023 Electrified Genesis G80: Today's Car News

Audi confirmed it will enter F1 for the 2026 season. The automaker will team with a thus far unknown chassis partner to provide power units that will be built in Germany and run on synthetic fuel. Alfa Rome announced it will split with Sauber, and all points sign to Audi ...

View more: Audi heads to F1, 2025 Cadillac Celestiq, 2023 Electrified Genesis G80: Today's Car News

Genesis expands GV60, an electric SUV, availability to four more US states

Where is the Genesis GV60 available to buy Electrek’s Take Now might be your chance if you’ve been waiting to buy the Genesis GV60 EV SUV. The Korean luxury automaker announced Tuesday that its flagship electric SUV, the GV60, will be available in four more US states starting in ...

View more: Genesis expands GV60, an electric SUV, availability to four more US states

Our Long-Term 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Is off to an Unforgettable Start

With our 668-hp, six-speed-manual sports sedan, the highs are high, and the lows are low.

View more: Our Long-Term 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Is off to an Unforgettable Start

Dodge goes electric in style | Autoblog Podcast #744

Tested: Best Car Vacuums for 2022

China: Power to the people or to the carmakers?

Tesla premium connectivity through Starlink V2 confirmed

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning strapped to dyno despite challenges

1983 DeLorean DMC-12 with 5,397 miles for sale

Numbers of Koenigsegg CC850s increase to 70 due to high demand

Tech Deep Dive: What Makes the New Porsche GT3 RS the Most Extreme 911 Ever

4 Terrible 2022 Subcompact SUVs That Consumer Reports Predicts Owners Will Hate

Xiaomi in talks with BAIC to produce electric cars, says Bloomberg

Audi Has Decided to Enter Formula 1 in 2026 After Much Speculation

North Dakota Swing Ahead For WoO: What To Watch For

OTHER MOTO NEWS