As Audi's sporting brand, the S badge can be seen on a number of its vehicles. The most unexpected of these is the flagship SUV, the Q7.
Launched earlier this year, with first deliveries to start in August, the SQ7 marks a number of firsts for the Audi brand and is only the second SUV Audi to wear the S branding after the SQ5.
At its heart, the SQ7 is the same as any other Q7. This means that you still get seven seats as standard, the largest interior in the segment, Audi's spectacular 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit screen and optional head-up display and, as standard, LED lighting front and rear with optional dynamic Matrix LED lights.
The SQ7 starts to improve the recipe under the bonnet, gaining a 4-litre, V8, biturbo diesel. Producing 429hp and 663lbft of torque, this makes the SQ7 the most powerful diesel SUV on sale today and helps propel the car to 60mph in just 4.8 seconds with a limited top speed of 155mph. When not using this savage performance, the SQ7 returns 38.2mpg combined, equating to 194g/km CO2 emissions.
This biturbo TDI unit debuts two features. The first is Audi valvelift (AVS), appearing on a diesel for the first time. Using specific contours on the cams, the AVS allows for switching between a single turbocharger at low speeds and low revs with little demand for power from the throttle position and both turbochargers in response to requests for more power.
More notably, the SQ7 includes an electrically-powered compressor (EPC) for the first time on any production road car. This uses the car's 48 volt electrical system to power an impeller in the exhaust gas stream to pre-charge the turbocharger and eliminate turbo 'lag' at low engine speeds.
The 48 volt electrical system, powered by an on-board generator charging a lithium ion battery, also powers the optional electromechanical active body roll stabilisation system. This system dramatically reduces body roll and understeer - and by dispensing with traditional hydraulics, the SQ7 gains a highly responsive and low-maintenance system.
In addition, the SQ7 has active four wheel steering, with the rear wheels turning opposite to the fronts by up to 5 degrees at low speeds to assist parking and manouevrability, and in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds to improve stability. This system works in conjunction with the traditional quattro four-wheel drive system.
Keep an eye on our range page for the updates on the new SQ7.