The latest in Audi design, engineering and digitalisation know-how has brought the updated Audi SQ7 TDI right up to speed with Vorsprung durch Technik in 2019, but the high performance seven-seater has remained true to its roots in one area that will please devotees of maximum displacement – the 435PS biturbo V8 diesel engine remains the star attraction in the newcomer, which is due to become available in the UK from August ahead of first deliveries in the autumn.
Pure diesel power: Biturbo V8 with electrically powered compressor
The 4.0-litre biturbo TDI backs up its 435PS output with a 900 Nm wall of torque available between 1,250 and 3,250 rpm, enough to catapult the SQ7 TDI from rest to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and to take it to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.
The 48-volt electrical subsystem feeds an electrically powered compressor (EPC) that assists the two turbochargers whenever the load demand from the accelerator is high while the available energy in the exhaust gas is still low. In this case, it supplies the fresh air, which is important for combustion. As a result, the tremendous torque is available instantly at any time – when accelerating from low speeds and particularly when starting off. The EPC is integrated into the intake air tract. A compact electric motor accelerates its compressor impeller to up to 70,000 revolutions per minute in 250 milliseconds. In the exhaust system, two actuators modulate a full eight-cylinder sound.
S-specific adaptive air suspension, all-wheel-steering and quattro drive
A quick-shifting eight-speed tiptronic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive slickly convey the immense power of the 4.0 TDI onto the road. The standard S-specific adaptive sport air suspension and progressive steering, whose ratio becomes increasingly direct as the steering angle increases, create excellent driving dynamics, and in Vorsprung versions standard all-wheel steering makes the large SUV even easier to handle. The system turns the rear wheels by up to 5 degrees in the opposite direction at low speed to maximise manoeuvrability, and at higher speeds turns them slightly in the same direction to promote stability.
Impressive look: the exterior design
The Audi SQ7 TDI combines the recently updated design of the Q models with added S-specific details. It stands apart from the base model with its twin slats in the Singleframe, exterior mirror housings in aluminium look, and the four characteristic exhaust tailpipes with round, chrome trims. The blade in the bumper has a three-dimensional shape, and the underbody protection at the rear looks even more rugged. The look is set off by Matrix LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and dynamic front and rear indicators, and by 21-inch cast aluminium wheels in 5-double V-spoke design in contrast grey with a gloss-turned finish.
In Vorsprung versions the headlamps are upgraded to HD Matrix LED units including laser light, and a Titanium Black styling pack adds a titanium black finish for the grille surround, door mirrors and roof rails combined with a high gloss black finish for the window surrounds. Larger 22-inch 5-V-spoke aluminium star design wheels also make even more impact. Behind both wheels, brake discs measuring 400 millimetres in diameter at the front and 370 millimetres at the rear are fitted, with callipers finished in black and featuring an S logo. These are also optionally available in red.
Sporty performance: Interior and equipment
The interior of the Audi SQ7 TDI features super sports seats upholstered in dark Valcona leather with integrated head restraints, S embossing, rhombus stitching and pneumatic lumbar support adjustment. In the SQ7 TDI Vorsprung these are also climate controlled and feature a massage function.
Soft Alcantara door inserts and brushed aluminium inlays complement these, as do the illuminated door sill trims bearing the S logo and the pedals, footrest and loading sill protector finished in stainless steel brightwork. A contour/ambient lighting package can be specified at extra cost to illuminate the elementary design lines and the surfaces in 30 adjustable colours..
MMI navigation plus, which includes touch-screen operation, 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, bringing benefits such as traffic information online, navigation with Google Earth, the hybrid radio and the cloud-based Amazon Alexa voice service, which is integrated into the MMI operating system. All features are shown with an S-specific display in the Audi virtual cockpit. There is also a performance view, which places the rev counter in the centre.