In a world where SUVs are all the hype and electrification is catching on pretty quick, it would make sense if Audi would well be working towards pure electrification of their SUV lineup in the near future. Of course a sudden shift towards EV motoring may not work for a sizeable portion of the population, but from the looks of it Audi is slowly introducing the benefits of electricity into their latest production models. And in the case of the venerable Q7’s latest S model, it looks like its turbo-diesel powerplant gets an extra jolt of power as well.
As is parlance with Audi performance models, the SQ7 distinguishes itself from standard trim in a very minimalist fashion. A few badges sprinkled here and there, twin slats on the singleframe, Matrix LED Headlamps, a three-dimensional blade on the bumper, aluminum mirror accents, and a quad chrome-tipped exhaust are all the small details you’ll need to watch out for to identify the SQ7. This subtle aesthetic is set off with a set of 21-inch 5 double-V spoked wheels finished in gloss grey contrast to give it that extra presence.
While its exterior isn’t much to talk about, the powertrain of the SQ7 stays faithful to the tried and tested recipe – albeit with an electric twist. A 4.0L V8 bi-turbo TDI powerplant still takes center stage in the latest SQ7, pushing 435 PS with a whopping 900 Nm of torque on tap.The kicker here is the twin turbocharger system being supplemented with an electrically powered compressor (EPC) to force-feed air to the turbos during situations wherein the turbos may experience a little lag from off-throttle situations.
This means the compressor lends to an overall increase in response and effectively eliminating turbo lag at any given touch of the throttle. The EPC is powered with a 48-volt electrical subsystem coursing through the car. The engine then sends power to an eight-speed automatic transmission then towards the signature quattro all wheel drive system.
The latest SQ7 does more than just uprate the power. An adaptive air suspension system also finds its way into the new model, while the higher Vorsprung versions also get rear wheel steering which moves the rear wheels to a maximum of 5 degrees to further improve steering characteristics, stability at high speeds, and overall maneuverability.
The interior of the SQ7 features sport seats in Dark Valcona Leather with integrated head rests with ‘S’ stitching embossed on them. The seats, provided the SQ7 is specced in the upper Vorsprung trim, are also climate controlled and have pneumatic lumbar support as well as a massage function. Entertainment comes by way of MMI navigation plus, a system which includes touch-screen operation and delivers top-of-the-line connectivity as standard.
It features LTE Advanced, a Wi-Fi hotspot, natural voice control and the extensive Audi connect portfolio, offering benefits such as traffic information online, navigation with Google Earth, hybrid radio and the cloud-based Amazon Alexa voice service, all of which are integrated into the MMI operating system. All these features are shown with an S-specific display in the Audi virtual cockpit, there is even a performance view which places the rev counter front and center.
The Audi SQ7 TDI should be released in Europe some time next month. Prices have yet to be indicated.