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It is owned by BMW. It’s in Mercedes’ possession. Land Rover, too, has one. But what about Audi SQ7 ? No. In this aspect, it has been a touch tardy. We’re talking about a full-size SUV that’s been injected with so much testosterone (figuratively speaking, of course) that it thinks it’s a sportscar. Examples are the BMW X5M, Mercedes-Benz GLE AMG, and Range Rover Sport SVR.
The Audi SQ7 is the Q7 all the way, excluding a few tech changes in the suspension, brakes, and engine areas; identical chassis, roughly the same length and width, and a comparable appearance. It’s no surprise that the car’s press presentation avoided discussing design, which is unusual for Audi SQ7 presentations. The new blue tint and, of course, a new, more dramatic-looking front bumper are the cosmetic differences between the SQ7 and the Q7. Its design isn’t as bold as those found on M or AMG cars, but it’s clear that this isn’t your average Q7.
Aside from the changing tyre design and size, the headlamps, bonnet, front fenders, and even the side profile are all carried over from the normal Q7. When viewed from the back, the storey is the same. The SQ7 has the same taillights, tailgate, and, in fact, the same back bumper as the Q7. The main cosmetic change is that the SQ7 has chrome-tipped quad pipes instead of the Q7’s regular two exhaust outlets.
Even though the Audi SQ7 is an SUV, it does not allow you to sit in the sky. It’s also simple to get in and out of. But it’s the SQ7’s design, quality of materials, and rich feel to everything you touch that really sets it apart. Even in terms of design, it is a significant improvement over the previous Q7. The interiors appear to be more spacious and relaxing, and the SQ7 is loaded with goodies.
Audi SQ7 new virtual cockpit replaces classic analogue dials with a configurable high-resolution screen. You can have the usual speedometer and tachometer dials on it, as well as driver information such as fuel economy and distance travelled; your whole music collection; or the map with attractively presented turn-by-turn direction directions.
There’s also a head-up display (with satnav navigation, which is really useful in a foreign country), four-zone climate control, and a simple and logical high-end MMI system. The front seats in the SQ7 are ventilated and have electric adjustment for not just height and fore-and-aft movement, but also side bolstering. It also includes three rows of seating, plenty of storage, and, considering its outside proportions, plenty of accommodation for up to six people. It also features a good-sized boot.
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The style, interiors, equipment, and spaciousness are all secondary considerations for the new Audi SQ7, which is all about performance. First and foremost, it gets a completely new diesel engine; yes, the SQ7 only comes with a diesel engine. It’s a 4.0-liter V8 engine with a couple of clever turbos. It makes use of two typical turbochargers that are powered by exhaust gases. However, before these turbos reach maximum boost, the SQ7’s new engine uses an electric powered compressor (or EPC) to supply denser air to the cylinders to reduce turbo lag.
Meanwhile, the two typical turbos are installed in a sequential order, with the smaller turbo coming on boost before the larger one (there for outright power). At roughly 1000rpm, the smaller turbo, which runs on gases from only one exhaust valve per cylinder, is spinning. At 2500rpm, the larger turbo kicks in. The latter is powered by gases from the second exhaust valve, which has stayed closed for the time being.
The end result is a peak torque figure of 900Nm and a maximum power output of nearly 430bhp. On the road, this translates to a kick-in-the-back acceleration from a stop, as well as a similarly rapid response in kickdown mode, regardless of the SUV’s speed. The new engine also sounds great. It doesn’t have the same emotional pull as high-revving petrol V8s, but it may still make you smile.
Furthermore, it is a highly honed engine that is eager to reach its 5,000rpm redline. The SQ7’s diesel V8 goes flat out towards the limiter wall, bashing off it, upshifting via its 8-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, and then racing back to the limitation wall, unlike most diesels, which start tapering off near the rev limiter. It’s quite wonderful.
The engine is just one aspect of the SQ7’s allure. Its underpinnings also make advantage of smart technologies. The Audi SQ7 features a novel 48-volt electrical subsystem that operates independently of the usual 12-volt electric architecture seen in all other production cars. The 12-volt system continues to handle all of the essentials, while the 48-volt system – which is powered by a separate 13kw lithium-ion battery – is limited to only two tasks. The first step is to turn on the EPC in the engine before turning on the conventional turbos. Working the electromechanical anti-roll bars is the second.
These anti-roll bars function similarly to clever hydraulically adjustable anti-roll bars. The ones on the SQ7, on the other hand, are faster, have less losses, and are more environmentally friendly because they don’t have any oil that needs to be disposed of. The concept behind these adjustable anti-roll bars is to give the SQ7 a more comfortable ride in a straight line by reducing the torque required to twist the bar, giving the suspension more pliancy and movement.
When it comes to cornering, however, the torque required to twist these bars varies depending on the steering angle and lateral forces at play. When a result, as the lateral forces increase, the torque required to twist the bars increases as well. As a result, the SQ7 has a fairly flat stance when cornering.
Not only that, but there’s more. The SQ7 also has four-wheel steer and a torque-vectoring sport differential. The SQ7 corners as if it were a much smaller car, with quick turn in and higher corner speeds thanks to the four-wheel steer. When a corner occurs, the sport differential kicks in, distributing the appropriate amount of torque to the wheels with the best traction. It’s no surprise that the SQ7 doesn’t feel like an SUV around a set of curves.
In a few months, Audi will launch the Audi SQ7 in India. When it is released, the SQ7 will include the majority of the features shown in the car shown above. It will only be available in a seven-seat configuration. In terms of technology, four-wheel steer, a sport differential, and electromechanical sway bars are all available as package add-ons on foreign models. In India, we hope Audi SQ7 includes this as standard equipment, as it, along with that lovely diesel engine, makes the SQ7 a more appealing proposition than the normal Q7, despite the SQ7’s hefty price tag of over a crore.