Twenty-three hundred kilograms, diesel, SUV– I know what you’re thinking: this isn’t the basis for a performance car, right? Well, according to Audi, it now is… Introducing the Audi SQ-7.
Let’s check it out.
As game changers go, this is a biggie.
The new SQ7 marks a significant addition toAudi’s growing S and RS performance fleet, employing new engine technology includingan electric compressor which mitigates turbo lag, along with a new active roll system thatimproves the car’s cornering ability.
Priced at $153,000 in Australia, the SQ7 furtherstretches the boundaries by offering the typical luxury SUV driving experience, with a sumptuousinterior, seating for seven and incredible efficiency for its size.
OK so the SQ7 isn’t exactly the first tostep down this path.
Porsche has the Cayenne, for example, RangeRover the SVR and BMW has the X5 M50d… One thing none of those models have is anelectrically powered compressor that force feeds air through the mechanical turbochargers.
The upshot? It’s very fast.
In a nutshell, the compressor supports theengine at low speed by spinning a compressor wheel up to 70,000rpm.
So from just 1000rpm, you have the vehicle’sfull 900Nm of torque.
Once regular exhaust gases are on stationthe EPC is bypassed and the mechanical sequential turbos take over.
The result? Zero to 100 in 4.
That zero to 100km/h time is impressive, butmore so its’ the instant torque, essentially from idle that helps this big bus move, well,like a sports car.
All the while the engine has a brute, off-beatsoundtrack.
The bassy tones are just sonorous, especiallywhen the car is set to Dynamic mode.
The electric compressor is fed energy fromanother Audi first: a 48-volt electric subsystem that is also responsible for a new electromechanicalactive roll stabilisation technology that reduces lean through corners… The catch is that the latter feature is partof an optional $13,500 Dynamic package that also includes a Sport differential and all-wheelsteering.
It is astonishing the way this thing sitsso flat through corners.
A lot of that is owed to the active roll technology,which minimises the car’s mass through apexes.
But even without it, the SQ7 is still a poisedand very fast machine… The SQ7 builds on its dynamic strengths witha polished yet practical interior layout.
Its seven seats can be accessed via electricquick-fold buttons, the boot offers 895 litre of luggage space and the car bristles withmodern equipment.
It can even brake and steer itself at lowspeeds.
Line about what it’s like to drive normally.
Those features combined with its ferociousdiesel engine really do help the stretch the parameters of a typical performance car.
It isn’t cheap, especially when you readthe fineprint, but the new SQ7 may have just stormed to the top of its segment.