RHD 326kW/900Nm Q7 flagship available in August
Standard spex include S-specific cabin and shell
All-wheel drive with sport differential, all-wheel steering
Another pioneer has joined the right-hand Audi luxury sport utility range: the SQ7 TDI is the first ‘S’ version under the badge and is the first series production car to have electric turbo compressors to banish turbo lag.
Good news is that it will be in South Africa in the first half of 2017, so read on to find out more…
Supporting two sequentially activated turbochargers, the EPC system helps to generate unparalleled engine power in the class. Audi explains: “The V8 TDI-powered Q7 flagship is able to deftly deploy it thanks to a chassis bolstered by state-of-the art electromechanical active roll stabilisation.
“The integration of both systems is made possible by a powerful new 48V electrical sub-system – another new tech being launched with the car – and will be the springboard for other revolutionary technologies in Audi models.”
As it is electrically driven and so independent of the high-speed exhaust flow required by a conventional turbochargers, the EPC brings its force to bear on the four-litre, eight-cylinder, TDI in less than a quarter-second.
“The benefit,” Audi says, “is felt immediately the accelerator pedal is depressed.”
As the exhaust-gas velocity catches up two sequentially activated conventional turbochargers take over.
The system makes 326kW/900Nm and consequently makes the SQ7 TDI the most powerful turbo-diesel sport utility vehicle on the market. It’s performance? An astonishing 4.9sec to 100km/h, top (limited) speed of 250km/h.
Even more astonishing is the big car’s claimed New European Driving Cycle fuel-consumption: 7.24 litres/100km, with consequential CO2 emissions of 190g/km.
Also new on the 2016 SQ7 is a sequential-lift system on the engine’s exhaust valves, of which there are two per cylinder. Simply put, each cylinder discharges through both though the gas flows through separate channels in a dual-flow manifold. Each gas flow spins one of the two sequentially activated turbochargers.
One valve remains closed at low to intermediate load/engine revolutions to direct the entire exhaust flow to the “active” turbocharger. When engine revs increase to 2200-2700 rpm each second exhaust valve is opened to spin the second turbocharger.
Power for the supporting electric compressor comes from a 48V electrical sub-system – also new for Audi – whose energy comes from a separate 48V lithium-ion battery under the boot. It has a peak output of 13kW and is connected to the normal 12V electrical system by a DC/DC converter.
ALL-WHEEL STEERING AND ‘SPORT’ DIFFERENTIAL
The 48V system also powers the SUV’s electro-mechanical roll -reduction system built into the suspension which not only prevents excessive roll at speed through curves in the road but also reduces any tendency to understeer.
Even more new stuff: for the first time on a Q7 a ‘sport’ differential (cost option) controls torque-split between the rear wheels.
All-wheel steering – handy for low-speed manoeuvring – is another option.
Visual cues to identifying an SQ7 TDI include a unique radiator grille, aluminium finish on the side air-inlets, mirror housings and door inlays, diode headlights with a double-arrow appearance and four rectangular tail pipes.
The three rows of leather-clad seats take seven people and the 235 litres of boot space can be expanded to 1890 if the power- folding third row of seats is dropped. The tail hatch also has power operation.
Also standard on the SQ7 is what the automaker describes as a ‘virtual cockpit’; so are a smartphone interface and MMI Navigation, an embedded SIM card to bring internet-based Audi Connect services to the car at no additional cost and without the need to insert a separate data-only SIM as was previously necessary.
Google Earth mapping, Google Street View, news, weather, online traffic, flight and train information as well as local fuel prices and entertainment options are among the features displayed on the 19cm MMI monitor and the 31cm ‘Virtual Cockpit’ display.
Audi Connect infotainment is offered on a three-month trial basis or for three years with an optional technology package is specified which also includes the Audi ‘phone box’ for wireless phone connection to the car’s antenna, inductive charging and a head-up windscreen display for the driver.
The ‘connect portfolio’, Audi says, also includes a new permanently active element known as Audi Connect safety & service which summons help from emergency service or roadside assistance at the touch of a roof lining-mounted button or automatically after a serious collision.
Other extra-cost options include 22″ wheel rims, curve-following Matrix diode headlights, S Sport seats and a choice of audio system from either Bose or Bang & Olufsen, the latter offering as much as 1920W of sound power.
A buyer can also choose from 24 driver assistance options. The predictive efficiency assistant, for example, provides additional information in the instrument cluster to help the driver save fuel; adaptive cruise control with ‘traffic-jam assist’ relieves the driver in slow traffic by taking over steering on well-surfaced, clearly marked, roads.
For guidance only in South Africa, prices in the UK start at the equivalent of R1.3-million.