Audi has launched a new performance version of its largest SUV, called the SQ7 TDI. Due to launch in the UK this Autumn, the German brand’s latest sporty off-roader comes with a mild-hybrid diesel powertrain, a range of chassis upgrades and a host of styling and technology revisions. Prices for the new model will start from around £76,400.
The Audi SQ7 TDI is powered by the same biturbo V8 diesel engine as the new Audi SQ8, producing 429bhp and 900Nm of torque. Like the German brand’s performance coupe-SUV, the SQ7’s engine is also fitted with a 48-volt electric compressor, which assists the two turbochargers when they’re off-boost.
• Fastest SUVs in the world
The compressor is fed by the same 48V lithium-ion battery pack which underpins the SQ7’s mild-hybrid system. Comprising a belt-driven alternator starter and an energy recuperation system, it can power the performance SUV at speeds up to 14mph and recover up to 8kW of energy under deceleration.
Audi says the SQ7 can dispatch the 0–62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. It should also be reasonably efficient, with the German firm claiming economy figures of 37mpg and emissions ratings of around 200g/km of CO2.
The engine feeds its power through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a sport differential to all four wheels. Through fast corners, the differential actively distributes the engine’s power between the rear wheels, which Audi says helps to reduce understeer.
Chassis upgrades over the standard Audi Q7 include uprated brake discs, larger calipers and sport air suspension. Larger diameter carbon ceramic brakes are available as an optional extra, as is Audi’s active electromechanical roll stabilisation system and all-wheel steering.
Audi claims its all-wheel steering system makes the SQ7 easier to manoeuvre. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn up to five degrees in the opposite direction to the front, which reduces the car’s turning circle. At higher speeds, the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction, which Audi says improves stability.
From the outside, the new SQ7 receives Audi’s usual S-line treatment, with 20-inch alloy wheels, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, larger side-skirts, aluminium-look mirror caps and the brand’s trademark chromed quad exhaust tips.
• Best SUVs to buy 2019
Inside, the new SQ7 features a pair of leather and Alcantara trimmed sports seats, stainless steel pedals, aluminium trim, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and an 8.3-inch infotainment system with support for Amazon Alexa, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Carbon fibre interior trim inlays are available as an optional extra, as is a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system, four-zone automatic air conditioning and a customisable ambient lighting package. Elsewhere, the SQ7 is optionally available with Matrix LED headlights and a soft-close power assist function for its doors.