The Q7 is the latest in Audi's SUV lineup to receive the "S" treatment. In contrast to the regular Q7, the SQ7 boasts subtle badging, an aluminum outlined grill, and functional vents on the front fascia. In behind, the SQ7 boasts a rear diffuser with quad tailpipes.
Under the hood
The Audi SQ7 is powered by a brand-new, twin-turbo 4.0L V8 diesel engine. With 435 horsepower, a stupefying 664 lb-ft of torque, and a 0-100 km/h. time of 4.8 seconds, the SQ7 is the fastest and most powerful diesel SUV in production.
The SQ7 owes its seamless power to a world first: sequential turbocharging augmented by an electric compressor. You could almost refer to it as a "tri-turbo" setup. The first turbocharger deploys at startup through low and medium engine, helped by the electric compressor. The second turbocharger kicks in at higher speeds. Turbo lag is non-existent, since the compressor virtually eliminates any delay needed by the turbos to spool up. Even better: peak torque is achieved as low as 1,000 rpm.
At the pump
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Despite its outrageous performance numbers, the Audi SQ7 delivers an average fuel consumption of just 7.2 L/100 km (based on European cycle testing).
A 48 volt electrical motor derives its power from a lithium ion battery pack, which not only supports the electric powertrain compressor, but also an electromechanical active roll stabilization system. The active anti-roll system works with all four wheels independently, uncoupling for regular driving and re-coupling for spirited, twisty roads.
The SQ7 boasts the stability of a sports car thanks to all-wheel steering that at high speeds, turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts. But during regular driving, the rears turn slightly in the opposite direction to reduce its turning radius, making the 5.07m-long vehicle much easier to maneuver into tight parking spots.
On the street
Audi's Traffic Jam Assist will take over steering the SQ7 in slow moving traffic, guiding the car by radar sensors and cameras. Using lane markings and other vehicles as reference points, Traffic Jam Assist will apply gentle steering inputs to keep within its lane at speeds up to 65 km/h, applying brake and throttle when needed. Like other systems of its kind, it requires hands on the wheel after 30 seconds.
A pre-installed LTE module lets passengers use the SQ7 as a Wifi hotspot and lets owners remote lock and unlock, start, locate their vehicle and monitor its status, by using their cell phone or tablet.
In addition to the special "S" design cues, the SQ7 can be ordered with Audi's "Virtual Cockpit" featuring the customizable 12.3 inch colour display. Music aficionados can spring for a 1,920 watt Bang and Olufsen audio system that boasts 23 speakers – four of which are in the A-pillars, creating what Audi refers to as a "Virtual Stage".
While there are no Canadian prices available as yet, we can expect the Audi SQ7 to cost roughly 10-15 per cent more than the current Q7 - which tops out around $85,000. If spending close to one-hundred and a half large for a ridiculously overpowered SUV sounds ludicrous - consider this: it's one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. They'll probably sell every one they make.