Audi SQ7 debuts with electric turbocharger


Audi previewed their new Q7 at the Detroit Auto Show last year, and since then the world has been waiting for an updated SQ7. But rather stage a reveal at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show, Audi instead chose to pull the sheet off the new SQ7 at its headquarters in Ingolstadt. At first glance, the SQ7 looks almost identical to the Q7 which we saw last year. But look closer and you’ll see some subtle differences on the exterior, while there’s also plenty of new engine tech under the bonnet. Crucially, this is the first time Audi has decided to give the “S” treatment to its largest SUV.


As we mentioned before, there isn’t much visual difference separating the Q7 and SQ7 SUVs. At the front, Audi has given the SQ8 a new front grille, outlined in aluminium and with an aluminium segment blocking off the lower part around the number plate. As expected, there is also an SQ7 badge to one side of the Audi symbol. The headlights, hood and fog lights are the same as the Q7, although the fog light surround is now aluminium and with functioning corner vents. The aluminium treatment continues around the side, with aluminium side mirror housings, door bump panels and roof racks. The SQ7 also comes with a unique 5-spoke alloy wheel design.


What makes the SQ7 special in Audi’s “S” model lineup is the fact that its a diesel – see the little TDI emblem on the boot? The engine used here is Audi’s 4.0L TDI diesel that produces 324kW (435hp) and 900Nm (663lb-ft) of torque. As you might have guessed with these power figures, the engine is turbocharged – but not the way you might have thought. For a start, it has a total of three turbochargers – two are traditional exhaust powered compressors, while the third is completely electric. The two exhaust driven turbos are different in size, with the smaller one providing boost at lower RPM’s, while the larger unit takes over at higher RPM’s. The electric turbocharger works in coordination with both and is generally active at lower speeds. It runs on a 48-volt system and spools up almost instantaneously. This provides the boost the engine needs at low speeds without the annoying turbo lag associated with exhaust gas-driven turbos. All of this technology translates to a 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 4.8 seconds.


The inside of the new SQ7 looks largely the same as the standard model, with the occasional “S” twist here and there. The base model SQ7 will come with analog guages, while Audi’s 12.3″ virtual cockpit dash can also be optioned. The display mode can be changed with the controls on the steering wheel, but should include information about fuel usage, remaining mileage, tire pressure, and digital gauges for vehicle and engine speed. The SQ7 also comes with a pop-up infotainment screen, which can also be optioned with MMI navigation. It is operated via a glass touchscreen surface located just ahead of the shifter, which op of the dash. The SQ7 also comes with a Bang and Olufsen sound system that has 23 speakers and a 1,920-watt amp, or a Bose Surround Sound system with 19 speakers. With the Bang and Olufsen system, there are four speakers in the A-pillars, creating what Audi calls a “virtual stage.” The Bose system offers two speakers in the A-pillars to produce a “third dimension” effect.


As you can see, the interior of the SQ7 is rather luxurious. The images we have here clearly include some options – like that Alcantara headliner, for instance. The interior can be configured and individualized quite easily because of the two-piece design of the interior. The SQ7 is offered with design selection “Kodiak” Brown, which includes a full leather interior with contrasting stitching, the black Alcantara headliner, sports seats plus, and luxury velour floor mats. A two-piece trim stripe of Sono aluminium and carbon twill copper is exclusive to the SQ7. As you can see from the images we have from Audi, this interior has some aluminium inserts, specifically around the door handles, the foot rest, and the pedals. Matte gray inserts are used across the width of the dash and on top of the centre console. The seats themselves are partially quilted.

The Audi SQ7 will go on sale mid-year, with pricing and full specifications to be confirmed closer to the launch date.