Now that the borders have opened up, travelling to Malaysia is now very much back on the cards for many Singaporeans.
You could take the quick and easy route and book a Singapore Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur, which will get you there in under an hour (minus the time at the airport), or you could get a different sort of SQ experience by driving there in Audi's SQ7 SUV.
It might prove to be much more enjoyable than flying too, given that the SQ7 packs in the sort of power that could legitimately challenge the idea of which is faster.
Powering the SQ7 is a monstrous twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that churns out 507hp and 770Nm of torque, which is enough to send this gargantuan SUV from 0-100km/h in just 4.1 seconds. That's mind-bending physics any way you cut it.
More than just brute force though, the V8 engine is also amazing to listen to. Start the car up and the unit burbles to life, and the engine delivers the kind of aural pleasure that is sadly destined to go extinct once the era of electric cars descend upon us.
Prod the throttle to build up the revs and the throaty notes from the exhaust is enough to send a tingle down your spine.
Of course, all that power and noise does come with drawbacks, and that is of course the SQ7's thirst. Audi quotes a figure of 13.3L/100km, and over our four-day test drive we averaged around 15L/100km.
Bear in mind too that the SQ7's V8 only has an appetite for premium fuel, and with today's prices you're looking at nearly $300 to fill up its 85-litre tank.
Even if you make use of the exchange rate and refuel across the border, that's still nearly $100 out of pocket to top up the SQ7 in Malaysia, or about the same as what you pay to refuel a small car in Singapore.
Still, if you can afford half a million dollars for an SQ7 in the first place, it's unlikely that you'll flinch at those kinds of prices. In any case, it's well worth the money, because the SQ7 is more than just a V8-powered slugger of an SUV.
The car is undoubtedly big, but Audi has worked its magic to give the car some remarkably nimble handling, thanks to its all-wheel-steering system. Body roll is well controlled, and the quattro all-wheel-drive system gives the car plenty of grip and traction when you're cornering hard.
If you really want to go for it, there's the optional advanced suspension package that costs $26,880, and throws in active roll bars and a torque splitter for greater stability and even sharper handling, turning the SQ7 into a bona fide sports car slayer.
It sounds ludicrous, but then again this is the company that gave us a drift machine and a performance EV with three motors, among other wild stuff that Audi has given us through the years.
It's not all crazy all the time with the SQ7 though. When you're just settling down to a cruise, the SQ7 makes for a remarkably comfortable ride, thanks to the adaptive air sports suspension that's height adjustable.
Even in sporty dynamic mode, the car manages to cope with rough surfaces well, with the car smoothening out most bumps and undulations with ease.
The cabin is fairly straightforward Audi, with a layout that's familiar to anyone who's been acquainted to the brand. Sporty touches like the carbon fibre trim on the dashboard mark this out as a performance model, but otherwise there are no major surprises here.
Being quite a big car, there's plenty of space to stretch out, but as with most seven-seater SUVs, the third row is probably best reserved for small children or your worst enemies on long journeys.
Even then, the SQ7 probably makes for a better experience than having to squeeze in economy class. Its combination of barnstorming performance, entertaining drive and excellent comfort certainly makes it a tremendous cross-country companion.
If you can stomach the price and its thirst for fuel, the SQ7 is arguably the much more enjoyable SQ option.
|Drivetrain type||Petrol engine|
|Engine||3,996cc, V8, twin-turbocharged|
|Power||507hp at 5500rpm|
|Torque||770Nm at 2000-4000rpm|
|VES Banding||C2 / +$25,000|
|Price||$505,951 with COE|
|Verdict:||V8-powered Audi SQ7 packs monstrous performance, excellent comfort and an entertaining drive, at the expense of gigantic thirst|
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