Audi introduces sporty yet luxurious and efficient SQ7 TDI

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 4, 2016

Audi is introducing a new S model from the Q7 model line powered by a V8 TDI (diesel) engine – dubbed the new Audi SQ7 TDI. Already a luxury SUV, the Q7 has been revised to feature a powerful sporty appearance and luxuriously comfortable interior and athletic diesel performance, resulting to the creation of the SQ7 TDI. The new SQ7 measures 5.07 meters (16.6 ft.) in length, which makes it about as long as the base model.

Interested clients could also avail of the optional driving dynamics package that entails three technology modules: sport differential, electromechanical active roll stabilization and all-wheel steering. Meanwhile, the SQ7 TDI employs a highly integrated suspension control unit serving as the central commence for the adjustable shock absorbers, the sport differential, roll force distribution, and the air springs.

The rolling of all relevant suspension functions into a central control unit has allowed developers to attain an optimal networking and coordination of these functions, thereby resulting to superb handling in any event. Of course, the SQ7 TDI is equipped with around 24 driver assistance systems.

One of these systems is the Audi pre sense city feature that could provide early warning and could initiate emergency breaking to avoid accidents and protect pedestrians. Another available system is the predictive efficiency assistant that displays extra information in the instrument cluster to urge drivers to save fuel.

SQ7 TDI also features adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist that allows drivers to relax in slow-moving traffic by taking over the steering. ACC could also adjust the driving speed to the route and speed limits. One of the main contributions to the performance, efficiency and sleekness of the new SQ7 TDI is the use of several materials to achieve a lightweight construction.

While this makes the Audi SQ7 TDI the lightest SUV in its segment, it in no way compromises crash safety. Audi used hot-shaped and extremely strong sheets for the backbone of the occupant cell and aluminum for the outer skin. Moreover, the SUV’s center of mass is low while its drag coefficient is at an impressive 0.34 cd.

Interested customers in Europe could start placing their orders for the new Audi SQ7 TDI in spring 2016. In Germany, the SQ7 TDI will have a starting price of €89,900, including an expanded range of standard equipment valued at around €10,000.

Featured as standard on the new SQ7 TDI are 20-inch wheels, contoured bumpers and door trim strips, LED headlights and adaptive air suspension with S-specific tuning as well as electrically adjustable and heated sport seats in Alcantara and leather.

Other standard equipment includes three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel with shift paddles, brushed aluminum inlays, anti-theft alarm and a larger tank that could contain up to 85 liters of diesel capacity.

Stefan Knirsch, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development, remarked that the SQ7 is a result of the application of the concept of a diesel-powered S model on the Q7 model line. He noted that the SQ7 TDI with a V8 TDI engine consumes just as much fuel as a six-cylinder engine.

He also noted that the use of the electric powered compressor in the SQ7 TDI is a world-first event, with which the German premium carmaker underscores its claim “Vorsprung durch Technik.”

Exterior Design

Of course, the SQ7 is undeniably an Audi, as it carries its signature genes like the sculpted Singleframe radiator grille, flared quattro-style blisters and uniquely highlighted wheels. However, the SQ7 TDI features a new radiator grille with an S‑specific design at the bumpers.

Moreover, it comes with peculiar elements like side air inlets, mirror housings and door inlays in aluminum. At its rear, the new SQ7 TDI dons four distinctive rectangular tailpipes. Additionally, the SUV has precise lines and clean surfaces that accentuate its overall width.

Customers may specify the SQ7 TDI to be in any of the 12 available colors. Its Singleframe radiator grille and its underbody guard that drapes the four rectangular tailpipes feature a twilight gray matt finish.

Interior Design

The appeal of the SQ7 TDI stems from being athletic yet elegant thanks to the availability of a wide array of equipment. In fact, two-piece applications allow for various material combinations and further customization. Customers may also specify their SQ7 TDIs to feature the Kodiak brown design selection, which consists of full-leather interior with contrasting stitching and an Alcantara black headlining design choice as well as luxury velour floor mats and sport seats plus Valcona leather in Kodiak brown and contrasting stitching.

Moreover, Audi is offering only for the SQ7 TDI a two-piece trim strip of Sono aluminum and carbon twill copper. Among full-sized luxury SUVs, there is none as roomy as the Audi SQ7 TDI. In fact, the SUV could even seat seven people. Thus, Audi is offering two seating configurations for the SQ7 TDI – a five-seat setup or seven-seat layout. The second row of the SQ7 TDI features, as standard, a three-section backrest with segments that occupants could fold down individually.

An optional third row of seats could be folded up and down electrically. Even with more than enough interior space, Audi still installed diffuser vent wrap and application strips to further highlight its horizontality and roominess. SQ7 TDI customers could pick between sport seats and sport seats plus and are treated to sliding/folding seats that allow easier access to the optional third row. Power tailgate comes as standard for the SQ7 TDI.

Interior styling includes the use of analog instruments with gray faces and white needles as well as special welcome screens. S badges are also found all over the interior. On the other hand, the interior – including luggage compartment – are lighted by LEDs, featuring a lighting package as standard. Interestingly, the instrument panel and door trim feature so-called contour lighting, which are very slender LED light guides following the broad lines.

The light in the door pockets and the reading lamp could be controlled through capacitive switches. Customers could specify their SQ7 TDI with ambient lighting, which includes lighted door sill trims and additional contour lighting on the center console.

The top version of this feature allows drivers to personalize the interior lighting of their SQ7 TDI through the MMI. Here, a driver could adjust interior lighting in several profiles and in five zones. Moreover, a driver could adjust the color of the contour lighting in the “drive select” profile in just 32 steps.

Powertrain

At the core of the new Audi SQ7 is a newly developed 4.0 V8 TDI engine featuring forced induction. This new engine blends best-in-class performance, low fuel consumption and maximum dynamics.

In fact, this new V8 diesel engine could develop 320 kW (435 hp) of max output and 900 Nm (663.8 lb‑ft) of peak torque available between 1,000 and 3,250 rpm, thereby allowing the new Audi SQ7 TDI to accelerate from nil to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in just 4.8 seconds and reach a controlled top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph).

This engine consumes 7.4 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (31.8 US mpg) according to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) and emits 194 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (312.2 g/mi).

Complementing the 4.0 TDI in the Audi SQ7 TDI is a redesigned eight-speed Tiptronic transmission that could change gear quickly and efficiently. Moreover, this transmission allows coasting at idle during high speeds.

Additionally, the new Audi SQ7 features a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with a self-locking center differential. This system is not only compact and lightweight, but it also offers precise interaction the suspension control system.

Likewise, the SUV’s suspension system boasts of a lightweight construction, featuring links made primarily of aluminum. Moreover, the new SQ7 TDI comes standard with electromechanical power steering, adaptive air suspension with S-specific tuning and the Audi drive select driving dynamics system.

Audi will offer an optional brake system with lightweight carbon fiber-ceramic disks following its market launch. The new SQ7 TDI is connected to the ground by 20‑inch wheels wrapped with 285/45 tires. Customers could avail of the bigger wheels -- up to 22 inches -- from the quattro GmbH program.

Audi virtual cockpit

SQ7 TDI customers could avail of the optional Audi virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3‑inch display on which it presents logically structured information using high-resolution graphics.

This virtual cockpit also features superb driver ergonomics and intuitive operation. A driver could select the display mode on the multifunction steering wheel. Customers could also avail of the optional head-up display and the optional MMI navigation plus MMI all‑in‑touch.

Infotainment and Audi connect

MMI navigation sports a large glass surface on the center tunnel console with haptic feedback. Additionally, the MMI logic is able to understand terms used in everyday speech and allows for intuitive system operation. On the other hand, customers may want to install the optional MMI navigation plus the-line infotainment system that employs the second-generation Modular Infotainment Platform.

Customers may also want to avail of the Audi connect package – which includes the integrated LTE module and the Wi-Fi hotspot -- to allow occupants to connect with the online world even while on the board. Through the myCarManager package, the driver of the SQ7 TDI could lock and unlock the SUV or even check its status through his or her smartphone.

Interestingly, the SQ7 TDI has the Audi smartphone interface that allows the MMI monitor to easily control smartphones powered by iOS or the Android operating system. Providing the audio experience inside the SQ7 TDI is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System, featuring 11 channels and 23 speakers.

This system is installed in such a way that every passenger would be equally treated to an enjoyable audio experience. For instance, four speakers installed higher in the A‑pillars -- driven via separate channels – help generate a three dimensional sound.

The Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System comes with a 1,920-watt amplifier and new speakers. Also available is the Bose Surround Sound system that features 19 speakers. This audio system has two speakers installed high in the A‑pillars for the 3D sound effect.

Electric powered compressor (EPC) and 48‑volt subsystem

Fascinatingly, this new TDI engine features two exhaust-gas turbochargers that are activated selectively following the concept of sequential charging, mainly because exhaust gas could only flow through one turbocharger at low and intermediate loads. At higher loads, the second turbocharger is activated.

Providing support to these two turbochargers is an electric powered compressor (EPC), especially in the lower engine speed range. EPC is located in the air path downstream of the intercooler just close to the TDI engine. This will be the first application of EPC in a production vehicle.

During a start off or acceleration from low load, the EPC provides the needed boost without the unwanted turbo lag, thereby making up for this typical weakness of classical exhaust-gas turbocharger.

This is primarily thanks to the fact that the EPC does not need any exhaust-gas energy to develop boost, which means it can be used at any time. In fact, the EPC provides the needed engine boost to achieve a dynamic power delivery in less than 250 milliseconds.

The EPC is powered by a compact electric motor and features a compressor wheel that could spin up to 70,000 rpm. Thus, when the 4.0 TDI needed a power boost sans a lag, it can have it as soon as the accelerator is depressed. Interestingly, the SQ7 TDI marks the first time that the Audi Valvelift System (AVS) is featured in a diesel model from the German premium carmaker. As such, each of the inlet and exhaust cam shafts has two cam contours per valve.

On the inlet, one of the cam contours starts off along with the EPC, while the second contour optimizes cylinder filling. On the exhaust side, the AVS system comes with a switching function that allows the activation of the second exhaust-gas turbocharger. Audi installed a sequential charging system to ensure that only one of the two exhaust-gas turbochargers is used at low engine speeds, and then allows the second turbocharged to be activated as a support during higher loads and engine speeds.

This provides drivers with a superb torque delivery and dynamic response across the entire engine speed range. Meanwhile, exhaust streams from the two exhaust valves are completely separated, with each stream fed into one of the two turbochargers.

When the engine is running at lower speeds, one valve per cylinder stays closed to allow the full exhaust stream to surge to the active turbocharger. But when the load and engine speed surge, the AVS opens the second exhaust valves to direct flow and activate the second exhaust-gas turbocharger, thereby allowing the engine to realize its optimal output. With the AVS doing the switching function, the second exhaust-gas turbocharger could be activated quickly and precisely.

Providing the power for EPC – up to 7 kW – is a 48‑volt electrical subsystem that also powers the electromechanical active roll stabilization (EAWS) system. The electrical subsystem features a 48‑volt lithium-ion battery -- placed under the luggage compartment – that could contain 470 watt-hours of nominal energy and has peak output of 13 kW.

Connecting the 48‑volt and 12‑volt electrical systems is a DC/DC converter. Moreover, the needed energy is sourced from the so-called MOSFET generator (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) with an efficiency of over 80 percent at max output of 3 kW.

Replacing the diodes used before, this MOSFET generator could reduce electric losses and increase efficiency. Additionally, the 48‑volt battery could support the 12‑volt electrical system when needed, thereby taking off some of the load from the 12‑volt lead battery.

Topics: audi, audi q7, suv

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