What is it?
The latest attempt by a premium brand to bundle a load of popular options into a bells-and-whistles special edition and boost profit margins. That’s the cynic’s view of the new Audi SQ7 Vorsprung Edition, at least. We can mock, but it makes perfect sense from a business perspective.
It’s a particularly shrewd move where the SQ7 is concerned. At just under £71k, the base car is already good value given that it offers the same high-tech powertrain and trick suspension as its platform-sharing sibling, the Bentley Bentayga diesel, but for almost half the price. That’s despite the Audi having two more seats and more up-to-date cabin tech.
So what does the Vorsprung Edition bring along to justify the extra £15,520 Audi wants for it? A long list of extras – that’s what.
Extras such as mammoth 22in wheels, matrix LED headlights, glitzy additional LED lighting inside and out, titanium black trim, sports seats in premium quilted leather, Alcantara headlining, a panoramic sunroof and even a leather upholstery package for the dashboard. A Bose 3D sound system, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and a head-up display, plus more driver assist systems than you can shake a stick at, complete the additions.
What's it like?
We’ve waxed lyrical about the standard SQ7’s seriously impressive all-round ability before, and thankfully the Vorsprung additions don’t dramatically alter that. Audi has just traded in the subtle aesthetics of the standard car for the more overtly showy look favoured by rivals, such as the Range Rover Sport.
The 429bhp 4.0-litre V8 diesel, with its two ‘hot inside vee’ mounted turbochargers and electrically driven compressor, continues to deliver the effortless pace we know and love. You’re acutely aware that the 2.3-tonne SUV is being walloped at the horizon at an astonishing rate of knots, but the linear power delivery makes it surge confidently, like a 747 on its take-off roll.
It’s not lightning-quick away from a standing start, partly due to the old-school torque converter drafted in to handle the immense 664lb ft of torque delivered from near-idle. But the way it gathers pace from, say, 30mph up to the national speed limit is staggeringly relentless. With the exhaust in its loud mode, it even does a half-decent impression of a burbling petrol V8.
But the SQ7’s other forte is in making smooth, near-silent long-distance progress, and that’s where one Vorsprung addition isn’t as welcome. Those huge wheels, wrapped in tyres with a neat anti-kerbing lip jutting out, introduce an extra degree of road roar into the cabin that isn’t there in the standard car. Not much, but you’ll likely have the radio up a notch or two louder to compensate.