You know you’ve got a road trip on your hands when you’re forced to attach a roof box to a car the size of the SQ7.
It’s a bit like NASA deciding to build an outhouse on the side of its Vehicle Assembly Building. But even for a car of the Audi’s size, a snowboarding trip presents a challenge – especially when there are going to be five of you. Driving 12 hours with three a breast in the back means footwells have to be for feet, hence the aerodynamic hindrance attached to the SQ7’s roof.
Other sacrifices had to be made, too. The rear seat entertainment tablets had to come out (there was nowhere to put them when not in use, and anyway, conversation would have likely stopped dead). Plus we had to rotate the middle seat incumbent in the interests of fairness (even in the SQ7, the transmission tunnel limits leg room). With the boot full to bursting, we had to rely on the reversing camera for backing up – although the 360deg view on the car is so good that this becomes second nature almost by default.
Nevertheless, even with it stuffed like an après ski dessert bowl, the big Audi has a knack of letting you stretch out inside. None of us is under 6ft tall, and yet save for the poor chap whose turn it was to knock the transmission tunnel cubbyhole to bits with his size 11s, we all felt there was sufficient room for us not to feel hobbled by journey’s end.
To ensure the car wasn’t hobbled, Audi had previously fitted a set of winter tyres, which had the effect of making the SQ7 feel invulnerable in the way a Panzer tank driver must have felt fairly invincible. Sadly, France (in historically apt fashion) barely bothered to throw down the gauntlet, and unseasonably warm weather ensured that we had to go looking for the snow that adorns the photographs. Not the car’s fault, of course; its only blemish was the smell of warm brakes on a decline filled with hairpins. And for that, I think, we can forgive it. LUC LACEY