Audi just released details about its all-new SQ7 TDI luxury utility vehicle, which packs a powerful diesel engine, advanced 48-volt electrical system, rear-wheel steering and much more.
Curiously, the four-ring brand didn’t showcase this product at the Geneva Motor Show, which just wrapped up yesterday. Somebody must have dropped the ball. In any event, this is the company’s first S variant of the Q7, which makes it pretty innovative, but what really helps it break new ground are the various “firsts” it’s loaded with.
The SQ7 TDI is powered by a 4.0-liter V8 diesel that puts out 435 horsepower and an astonishing 664 lb-ft of torque. Supposedly these figures make it the most powerful compression-ignition SUV on the market.
This TDI engine has been totally reworked and it features a slew of advanced technologies that bolster performance while simultaneously slashing fuel consumption. For starters, it features twin turbochargers mounted between the cylinder heads. They’re actuated sequentially, meaning one works at low and medium speeds for enhanced responsiveness and the other one kicks in at higher revolutions for greater power.
SEE ALSO: 2017 Audi Q7 Review
Controlling the blowers is Audi’s Valve Lift system, which is making its diesel debut in the SQ7 TDI. This technology varies how far both the intake and exhaust valves open, improving breathing and directing exhaust into the turbochargers. At low speeds, only one exhaust valve per cylinder opens, which guides all the flow into a single turbo. As more power is needed, the rest of the valves open, feeding high-velocity exhaust gasses to the waiting secondary turbo. It’s a clever arrangement, but it’s not all this engine offers.
It’s also augmented with a world’s first electrically operated supercharger. This third blower helps bolster low-end torque before the first turbo is fully awake, engaging in as little as a quarter of a second and spinning at up to 70,000 RPM.
All told, the SQ7 TDI should be able to accelerate from zero to 62 miles an hour in just 4.8 seconds. Its terminal velocity is 155 miles an hour.
An eight-speed automatic transmission is also part of the powertrain equation. It helps this luxury utility return an average fuel consumption score of 31.8 miles per U.S. gallon. Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential is also included.
One of the SQ7 TDI’s other ingenious tricks is its 48-volt electrical system, which is necessary to drive the supercharger. A compact lithium-ion battery pack provides the electron reservoir to power the blower and other hungry vehicle systems. Keep an eye on this technology, it’s one we’re going to see become very popular in the coming years.
Naturally, this SUV features a sport tuned suspension and can be ordered with wheels spanning up to 22 inches. Beyond this, there’s an optional driving dynamics package, which adds a sport differential, all-wheel steering and disconnecting stabilizer bars that feature three-stage planetary gearsets.
This last item is particularly interesting. While driving straight ahead the bars are disconnected to provide a smooth ride. But as soon as you chuck the SQ7 TDI into a corner they activate in an instant to suppress unwanted body roll.
The 2016 Audi SQ7 TDI is loaded with technology that makes it seriously quick yet environmentally responsible. It can be had with room for either five or seven passengers. It’s set to go on sale in Europe this spring; in Germany it should carry a base price of €89,990, which is about $99,000.
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