Hot on the heels of the brand new Q2, Audi have unveiled the monstrous SQ7 at their Ingolstadt HQ in Germany.
What Are We Talking About?
We’re talking about a lot. A hell of a lot. Power is rated at 429bhp, whilst the torque is at a ridiculous 663lb ft, all of this coming from a brand new 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine. In case you were wondering that’s 94bhp and 74lb ft of torque more than the 4.2-litre V8 diesel in the old Q7 – a considerably heavier beast. The result of this increased power is 0-62 mph in just 4.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph. For it to get there though, the SQ7 needs three turbos.
Three Turbos… How Does That Work?
Unlike the 3.0-litre inline-six found in equivalent BMWs, the Audi unit does not have three conventional turbos. Instead, one of them is an electric compressor whilst the other two are exhaust gas driven. The latter pair work in sequential process and are big and small in size. Thus the small turbo takes care of lighter throttle loads, whilst the larger one helps out under heavier loads. Where the electric compressor comes in, is to supposedly eliminate turbo lag. By increasing the amount of air going through the induction system, the compressor ensures the turbo is already up to speed and ready to hit maximum pressure whenever the power is needed. Clever stuff.
A final party trick is that the two exhaust gas driven turbos both sit within the V of the engine, meaning shorter gas paths and faster responses. A big engine it may be, but certainly not a lazy one.
So Lots Of Instant Power Then, But Can It Handle The Twisty Stuff?
The signs are promising. As well as being significantly lighter than all its rivals, the SQ7 has some fancy suspension bits to complement the myriad of turbos. For example, when cruising along the motorway or off-roading (really?), the anti-roll bars decouple. However, when blasting along one’s favourite B-road, they are recoupled and twisted against each other. Sounds a little sadistic but the end result is less body roll and a sharper drive.
Other gizmos include an optional sport differential on the back axle, plus an all-wheel steering system which promises to make the car more stable at high speed. It does this by turning the rear wheels inward or outward, depending on the vehicle’s speed, by up to five degrees.
OK, So When Can I Buy One?
The SQ7 should hit UK showrooms by August, with prices starting at around £70,000. That’s £14,000 cheaper than the equivalent V8 Range Rover Sport. Factor in the lower fuel consumption (38.2 to 22.1 mpg) and lower tax costs (£265 to £505), and the current class leader may well have something to worry about.