Big and fast! new Audi SQ7 debuts with 429bhp diesel V8

3 Mar, 2016 9:40am Steve Fowler

Hot new Audi SQ7 Range Rover Sport rival features electric compressor and 900Nm of torque for 4.8sec 0-62mph time

Just days after Audi launched the sensible Q2 at the Geneva , Audi has unveiled the hottest version of its Q7 SUV line-up, the 429bhp SQ7. It will go on sale in May 2016 priced from around £70,000 with the first deliveries in August.

Featuring an advanced 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine, the SQ7 will get from zero to 62mph in 4.8seconds, just one tenth of a second behind the more powerful Range Rover Sport SVR. It also gets a healthy 900Nm of torque.

However, where the Range Rover can only manage a claimed average of 22.1mpg and 298/km of CO2, the SQ7 claims 38.2mpg and 194g/km of CO2. It also features an enlarged 85-litre fuel tank for a potential range of over 700 miles.

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SQ7: advanced turbo tech

The SQ7's all all-new V8 features twin turbocharging plus an electric-powered compressor to eliminate turbo lag. This compressor works alongside the two turbos in the lower rev range to boost off-the-line performance, and effectively makes it a tri-turbo engine.

The compressor means that 900Nm torque output is available from just 1,000rpm. For reference, the Range Rover Sport SVR produces 'just' 680Nm.

Rather than rely on exhaust gasses to develop its boost, as it is electrically-powered it will increase power in less than 250 milliseconds, which is why the less powerful V8 in the SQ7 is able to almost match the more powerful unit in the Range Rover Sport SVR.

To power the new electric compressor, the SQ7 features a 48-volt electrical system, which also powers the car’s electromechanical active roll stabilisation system. That’s controlled via a central unit that manages the shock absorbers, air springs, sport differential and all-wheel steering – all designed for quicker reactions to boost the big car’s handling. And because the 48-volt powered front and rear stabilisers (independently controllable) are oil-free they’re also maintenance free.

The new system means the installation of an additional 48v lithium ion battery underneath the boot floor, although happily it doesn't affect boot space.

The all-wheel steering means the rear wheels can turn by as much as five degrees – either in the same or opposite direction depending on road speed – while Audi claims that the SQ7 is the lightest SUV in its class, further boosting ride, handling and efficiency, as does the drag co-efficient of 0.34, an impressive figure for an SUV.

Audi SQ7 design tweaks

The SQ7 gets mild makeover, too, with its own grille, bumpers and mirror housings, plus side air intakes. LED lights are standard at the front and the back (with the option of Matrix LED headlights), while four rectangular tailpipes feature at the rear. 

Inside there’s the choice of two different styles of sports seats, with subtle and adjustable interior LED lighting, while Audi’s digital Virtual Cockpit is fitted with optional head-up display and a range of analogue dials, too. Audi’s top-of-the-line infotainment system is also standard controlled through the familiar MMI scroll wheel, with a Bang and Olufsen sound system featuring up to 19 speakers. 

The virtual cockpit instruments will be optional, with analogue needles as standard. Audi also says there are 24 driver assistance systems to help drivers, ranging from autonomous emergency city braking to active cruise control that will also control the steering in slow-moving traffic.

The SQ7 should arrive in the UK in August with prices in Euros equating to around £70,000, that’ll be £17,000 more than the current range-topping Q7, but Audi says the car features nearly £8,000-worth of extra kit over a base model.

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