This huge seven-seater SUV is claimed to be the UK’s fastest and most powerful diesel SUV on the market.
It is the first series production car to incorporate an electric powered supercharger with two sequential turbochargers. The supercharger, or compressor as Audi calls it, is powered by a 48-volt electrical sub system although the vehicle retains its normal 12-volt electric power supply for other functions throughout the vehicle.
Essentially the supercharger provides immediate engine acceleration response before one turbocharger kicks in for the low to intermediate power boost and the second turbo continues engine boost from the intermediate to high level speeds. Turbo-lag is a thing of the past with this supercharger twin-turbo system so expect to see other manufacturers adopting similar setups in the future.
The SQ7 uses a new 4.0-litre, V8 TDI turbodiesel unit producing 435hp but more importantly a huge 900Nm of torque from only 1,000rpm. It is mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission with quattro all-wheel drive. Top speed is restricted to 155mph but the zero to 62mph acceleration time is a blisteringly fast 4.9-seconds. Remember we are talking about a premium brand, high specification, seven-seater, large 5.0-metre long SUV weighing close to 2.5-tonnes.
As for fuel economy, it is not as punishing as the performance or vehicle weight suggests. Officially the Combined Cycle figure on the standard-fit 20-inch alloy wheels is 39.2mpg and on my brief test drive this week covering the winding but traffic-busy Cotswold A roads the figure was 31.9mpg which given our enthusiasm for trying the acceleration experience was impressive. The CO2 figure is190g/km so VED road tax is £500 for the First Year rate and £270 thereafter. Company car drivers will pay 37% Benefit-in-Kind tax.
Standard specification includes S-specific interior goodies such as Audi’s highly praised Virtual Cockpit where the sat-nav and other info can be displayed in the instrument binnacle right in front of the driver as well as on the centre display screen. Also fitted are 20-inch alloy wheels, the all-important air-suspension, active sound exhaust system which gives a glorious engine note, LED headlights, privacy glass, rear view camera and smartphone interface.
Extra cost options include the Driving Dynamics Sports Pack priced at a weighty £5,700 but given the performance potential this option includes the electromechanical active roll stabilisation function which reduces high speed cornering body-roll and worth the extra money. It also includes a sports differential and all wheel steering. Other key optional equipment includes 22-inch alloy wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, matrix headlights and a Tour Pack which includes Traffic Jam Assist and night vision. As a guide to what a fully specced SQ7 might really costs, our test drive model, priced at £70,970 on the road, but with loads of the showcase options it ended up with a price-tag of £95,160. A very high price for very high performance.
All these handling options, either standard or extra cost, gave an impressive performance of ride quality from the air suspension, superb body control from the active roll bars and precise cornering from the four wheel steering all coupled with a music to your ears exhaust soundtrack and more power under your right foot than you are ever likely to legally need. Expensively brilliant if a powerful large SUV is your requirement!
Mini Milestones: Audi SQ7 TDI quattro 7-seater SUV. Price: From £70,970. Engine/transmission: 4.0-litre, V8, TDI diesel with supercharger and twin turbochargers, 435hp, 900Nm of torque from 1,000rpm, 8-speed auto, quattro 4WD. Performance: 155mph restricted top speed, 0-62mph 4.9-seconds, Combined Cycle 39.2mpg (31.9mpg on test), VED road tax £500/£270. BIK company car tax 37%. Insurance group: 49E. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles. For: Huge size coupled with huge instantaneous acceleration, a technology tour de force, beautiful roomy interior, with this amount of power sharp handling and selectable ride comfort warrants adding some of the performance options. Against: Other less expensive Q7 models will satisfy most needs. Miles Better News Agency