Automotive

Audi decrees death to lag with electrically turbocharged SQ7

Audi decrees death to lag with...
The SQ7 will hit 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds
The SQ7 will hit 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds
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The SQ7 is fitted with an electric compressor designed to cut turbo lag
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The SQ7 is fitted with an electric compressor designed to cut turbo lag
With the optional sports differential, the SQ7 uses torque vectoring for improved handling
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With the optional sports differential, the SQ7 uses torque vectoring for improved handling
Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight speed dual-clutch gearbox
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Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight speed dual-clutch gearbox
Audi has worked to create a V8 with V6 style emissions
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Audi has worked to create a V8 with V6 style emissions
The car's active anti-rollbars mean it should offer a comfortable ride on rough roads, but also be able to handle itself in the bends
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The car's active anti-rollbars mean it should offer a comfortable ride on rough roads, but also be able to handle itself in the bends
Rear wheel steering is fitted for a stable ride at high speed, but sharp turn in at low speeds
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Rear wheel steering is fitted for a stable ride at high speed, but sharp turn in at low speeds
A special sound generator augments the car's V8 rumble for the occupants
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A special sound generator augments the car's V8 rumble for the occupants
A central controller manages to car's suspension elements as a unit for a cohesive package
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A central controller manages to car's suspension elements as a unit for a cohesive package
The SQ7 has been built to the same exacting standards as regular Q7s inside, albeit with a bit more carbon fiber trim
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The SQ7 has been built to the same exacting standards as regular Q7s inside, albeit with a bit more carbon fiber trim
With so much torque, you could load this to the brim with cement or lead and the Q7 would still handle it
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With so much torque, you could load this to the brim with cement or lead and the Q7 would still handle it
We're not sold on white leather as a trim, but the seat quilting looks fantastic
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We're not sold on white leather as a trim, but the seat quilting looks fantastic
Rear seat passengers can be treated to tablets attached to the headrests if mum and dad are worried about being pestered on the annual trip to the snow
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Rear seat passengers can be treated to tablets attached to the headrests if mum and dad are worried about being pestered on the annual trip to the snow
Audi's impressive virtual cockpit system features here, as does upgraded MMI
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Audi's impressive virtual cockpit system features here, as does upgraded MMI
Expect a decent rumble to come from here
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Expect a decent rumble to come from here
Audi has become experts at making interiors feel special, and the Q7's is no different
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Audi has become experts at making interiors feel special, and the Q7's is no different
Beside the small diffuser, there's nothing to set the SQ7 apart from its more mundane brethren
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Beside the small diffuser, there's nothing to set the SQ7 apart from its more mundane brethren
The new Q7 is much more handsome car than its bloated predecessor
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The new Q7 is much more handsome car than its bloated predecessor
With 900 Nm on tap, the Q7 would be perfect for towing a boat or campervan. We don't expect many to actually do that, though
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With 900 Nm on tap, the Q7 would be perfect for towing a boat or campervan. We don't expect many to actually do that, though
Audi's LED headlamps are powerful and attractive
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Audi's LED headlamps are powerful and attractive
The SQ7 will hit 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds
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The SQ7 will hit 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds
Without turbo lag, the car should offer lightning access to its monstrous power
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Without turbo lag, the car should offer lightning access to its monstrous power
View gallery - 21 images

As tightening emissions regulations push car manufacturers towards turbocharging across the range, there are two words that make the world's car enthusiasts nervous: turbo lag. Audi thinks it solved that problem with its new SQ7, which packs an electric compressor in with two traditional turbochargers.

At the core of the Q7 S is a 4.0-liter turbodiesel V8, packing 320 kW (435 hp) and a chunky 900 Nm of torque between 1,000 and 3,250 rpm. This translates to a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 4.8 seconds on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

The SQ7 is fitted with an electric compressor designed to cut turbo lag
The SQ7 is fitted with an electric compressor designed to cut turbo lag

The key to the big Audi's impressive acceleration is an electric compressor placed in air flow downstream of the car's intercooler, nice and close to the engine. The compressor wheel can spin at up to 70,000 rpm without needing exhaust gases to drive it, which means boost is available in under 250 milliseconds at low revs.

The system draws its power from a 48-volt electrical subsystem, specifically designed to support the electric compressor and active anti-rollbars. A 48-volt lithium battery is integrated into the existing 12-volt system through a DC/DC convertor.

There's more turbo trickery in the car's motor to back the electric compressor up. The two traditional turbochargers nestled in the engine's "vee" are arranged sequentially, with exhaust gases flowing through one compressor at low speeds, and the second turbocharger kicking in at higher engine loads. Audi says this provides lag free response all the way across the rev range, and linear power delivery.

With 900 Nm on tap, the Q7 would be perfect for towing a boat or campervan. We don't expect many to actually do that, though
With 900 Nm on tap, the Q7 would be perfect for towing a boat or campervan. We don't expect many to actually do that, though

Despite its heavyweight performance, the Q7 doesn't drink like one of the big boys, with a claimed combined fuel use figure of 7.4 l/100km (31.8 mpg).

Cars with four rings on the bonnet don't always win accolades their handling prowess, but Ingolstadt's engineers have worked hard to make sure the Q7 can back its big power up with a stable chassis. Although the standard, passive setup should be able to handle itself just fine, we'd be ticking the box to have the car fitted with Audi's networked suspension system, which uses a central controller to manage active anti rollbars, springs and dampers.

The most impressive element of the car's suspension system is the electromechanical active anti-roll system, which has a small electric motor is hooked up to a three stage planetary gearbox. There are two separate sides to the stabilizer, which can be disconnected for a more supple ride on rough roads and then connected and stiffened up when the owner wants to get sporty on a smooth mountain road.

We're not sold on white leather as a trim, but the seat quilting looks fantastic
We're not sold on white leather as a trim, but the seat quilting looks fantastic

In a move that would look familiar to anyone working at Porsche, the Q7 S has even been fitted with a rear-wheel steering system that can steer up to 5 degrees for a more stable ride at high speed, and a sharper turn-in at low speed. Also contributing to the car's improved handling is an optional sports differential that uses torque vectoring on the rear axle.

With all of this impressive chassis and engine technology you'd think Audi would have gone to town on the car's styling, but as has become standard, the stylists have kept things simple – inside and out. Aside from 20-inch wheels, a unique diffuser and silver mirror caps, the Q7's styling is largely unchanged, while the interior is the same gorgeous, understated design that won us over in Detroit.

All up, the SQ7 will set you back €89,900 (£69,474/US$98,886) before you start ticking boxes on the option sheet.

Source: Audi

View gallery - 21 images
4 comments
Michael Wilson
this sounds much like a streetable version of the 2.0 liter 450hp engine Volvo showed off a few short years ago.
MikeW
Hello! What have the auto engineers been doing. cleaning out their pocket protectors? I had this idea back in the late 1960s for my motorcycle and it worked fine. An electronic controlled turbo should have been a no-brainer for decades.
sk8dad
When I read "electrically controlled anti-roll bars" I thought "active suspension" ...wishful thinking I guess.
Marc Stinebaugh
No kidding, MikeW. I also had this idea when I was a teenager. I still remember all the idiots who told me "That's stupid" or "It won't work", just like so many other ideas that are now commonplace. This is a no-brainer, it's like engineers can't come up with the most commonsense ideas first, and would rather develop the same old turd into a better turd before moving on. So ridiculous!