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Tony O'Kane | Mar 4, 2016

Following the pattern established by its smaller sibling the Audi SQ5, the triple-turbo Audi SQ7 has been revealed overnight as Audi's next performance-focused diesel SUV - and the first overtly sport model in the Q7 nameplate's 11-year history.

It's a landmark car for Audi for another reason too - it's the first model in the German automaker's lineup to feature an electrically-powered turbocharger, which works in conjuction with two conventional exhaust-driven turbos to deliver a maximum of 320kW of power and a huge 900Nm of torque.

Those huffers are connected to a 4.0 litre diesel V8, with the two conventional turbos operating sequentially. Regular turbos rely on exhaust gas flow to work, and at low RPM there's not enough gas to spin their turbines - the third electric turbo is there to fill in the low RPM torque "hole" that exists before the first turbocharger is able to spool up.

The result is near-instant torque - and there's a lot of it. Peak torque, all 900Nm of it, is available from just 1000rpm and lasts up until 3250rpm. Peak power starts at 3500rpm and is available right up to the SQ7's 5000rpm redline.

The electric turbo's motor is designed to be compact enough to enable the compressor to be located as close to the inlet manifolds as possible, is supplied with up to 7kW of electrical energy by a 48-volt battery under the boot floor and can spin up to 70,000rpm nearly instantaneously.

Audi promises the SQ7's V8 has virtually no turbo lag, delivering a huge benefit in standing acceleration. Give it the berries and it'll fire to 100km/h from standstill in just 4.8 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 250km/h.

Meanwhile, fuel economy on the European combined cycle is an appreciably low 7.4 l/100km.

The technology story doesn't end there either. The SQ7 is the first diesel-engined Audi to get the brand's AVS variable valve lift system, which also enables the switching of the second conventional turbo when peak power is called for.

There's also a trick multi-mode air suspension that also features an electromechanical anti-roll system, which allows thick anti-roll bars to be used when sporty driving is called for, but disconnects them to improve ride comfort over rough roads.

All-wheel steering and torqe-vectoring all-wheel drive are other handling highlights, and an optional rear sport differential improves traction under power when cornering.

20-inch alloys are the standard wheel, with optional wheel designs measuring as big as 22 inches across. Carbon-ceramic brakes will be an option.

Despite the extra hardware, the SQ7 will come with the option of a three-row seven-seat configuration and boast the same level of luxury as existing Q7 models - including a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, Audi's "virtual cockpit" instrument panel and the option of two removable Android tablets for second-row passengers.

LED headlamps will be standard (at least in the European market), with the option of Audi's adaptive Matrix LED lamps. Externally, the SQ7 receives is own unique bumpers, quad exhaust outlets and side skirts - not to mention the silver-painted mirrors that are the hallmark of every S- and RS-badged Audi.

 

AUSTRALIA

A date has yet to be locked in for the SQ7's local arrival, but with the smaller SQ5 accounting for roughly 1 in every 4 Q5s sold in Australia last year (after that model's initial launch, that proportion went as high as 50 percent) the SQ7 is likely to be a hit in this country.

Pricing and precise local specifications are also a long way from being announced (a late 2016 arrival is anticipated), but in Europe the SQ7 will go on sale in the second quarter at a base price of €89,900 (AU$134k)

MORE: Audi News and Reviews
MORE: Audi Q7 Showroom - Prices, Specifications and Features

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