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Torque monster: Audi Q7 4.2 TDI launches in Europe

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With 326 horsepower and 550 lb-ft on call under the driver's right foot, the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI is the world's most powerful diesel SUV (at least until the Q7 V12 TDI launches). It's 4.2L 90-degree V8 incorporates a pair of variable-geometry turbos (one for each cylinder bank), and channels all that juice to the four corners via quattro AWD. It's pretty spry, too. It does the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) thing in just 6.4 seconds and will keep going until the speedo hits 146 mph, if you have the desire to explore those limits. Well, you have to live in Europe, too. This Q7's not available here, unfortunately.

Inside, the carnival of luxury you'd expect to find is present and accounted for. Leather, wood, and aluminum cover most of the touch surfaces, and Alcantara adorns the headliner. If you have money to spend, the stupendous optional Bang & Olufsen audio system is a nice choice, as is the Audi Music Interface, which lets you control your iPod using the MMI system. A lane departure warning system is now available, too, so that €70,000+ base price can quickly climb skyward as the goodies are added in.

Of course, one of the best features this particular Q7 brings to the table is its combined-cycle fuel economy rating of a smidge over 21 mpg. Have fun finding another big V8 luxury blingwagon that can do that.

[Source: Audi AG]
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Audi Q7 4.2 TDI
Power and efficiency

Under the bonnet of the new Audi Q7 4.2 TDI is the most powerful V8 diesel engine that Audi has ever built. The eight-cylinder unit, which already powers the A8 luxury saloon, has a displacement of 4.2 litres and delivers 240 kW (326 bhp) and 760 Nm of torque – available constantly from 1,800 to 2,500 rpm. This gives the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI the performance of a sports car. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 236 km/h – these figures, too, are new records.

The Audi Q7 4.2 TDI transmits its power through the six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission to a sportily tuned quattro driveline, which splits the propulsive force 40:60 between the front and rear wheels under normal driving conditions. Audi adaptive air suspension is standard on the top diesel model. It resolves a classic conflict of interests by combining dynamic handling with the ride comfort of a luxury-class vehicle.

In the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI, the concentrated power of the mighty eight-cylinder diesel unit encounters a vehicle concept of versatile sportiness. Even on its debut the Audi Q7 set new standards in the SUV segment – now the 4.2 TDI is raising the bar even higher.

The standard comfort and convenience equipment of the range-topping diesel model also take it to the top of the class. The leather design package lends the interior an air of subtle luxury; the electrically operated tailgate makes loading easier. A new technical feature is the optional Audi lane assist system, which alerts the driver by means of slight vibrations in the steering wheel if it detects that he/she is inadvertently crossing a lane marking on the carriageway without indicating.

The engine: concentrated pulling power

Like all engines in the Audi Q7 range, the eight-cylinder diesel power pack belongs to Audi's new V-engine family. The angle between the cylinder banks is 90 degrees, the spacing between cylinders 90 millimetres and its overall length a compact 520 millimetres. The large TDI unit, with a displacement of 4,134 cc, has a maintenance-free chain drive on the transmission side for the four camshafts and the ancillaries.

The crankcase is made of vermicular graphite cast iron. The carbon in this high-tech material is integrated in lamella form. This gives the material superior strength and – typical for Audi – is an important factor in achieving the low weight for this performance category of 257 kilograms.

The V8 TDI is a masterpiece of engineering and demonstrates the leading role that Audi has assumed in the diesel sector. Its crankshaft is forged from chrome-molybdenum alloy steel, while the pistons are made of cast aluminium. Electronically actuated flaps in the intake tract set the intake air into a controlled swirl, depending on load; low-friction roller cam followers actuate the 32 valves.

Small, light piezo inline injectors that switch extremely quickly and with great precision are incorporated in the common rail injection system. They can achieve up to five injection phases per power stroke at an injection pressure of 1,600 bar. Two turbochargers with variable turbine geometry ensure ample torque at low engine speeds and impressive power at higher revs. Large intercoolers lower the temperature of the compressed air.

The 4.2-litre TDI delivers an impressive 760 Nm of torque to the crankshaft, a figure which remains constant between 1,800 and 2,500 rpm. The driver can enjoy tremendous power reserves at any engine speed. At 3,750 rpm the V8 generates an output of 240 kW (326 bhp). Thanks to the world's most powerful V8 diesel engine in the SUV segment, the Audi Q7 also boasts the sportiest driving performance of all diesel units in its class. The performance SUV from Audi sprints from a standstill to 100 km/h in only 6.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 236 km/h.

Driveline: dynamic character

Power for the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI is transferred as standard via the six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. The dynamic shift program (DSP) manages the gear shifts and orientates itself towards the driver's style and the conditions on the road. A special sports program supports a particularly dynamic driving style. The driver can intervene in the procedure, either via the shift gate for the selector lever or via optional paddles on the steering wheel. Since the tiptronic was designed from the very beginning for high torque, it did not have to be specially reinforced to interact with the V8 diesel engine.

Like all Audi Q7 models, the 4.2 TDI also has a self-locking centre differential, which features asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution. Under normal driving conditions it splits propulsive power in a ratio of 40 : 60 between the front and rear axle. If required, it delivers more to the rear or front axle, depending on the level of road grip: optimum traction is provided at all times. Ultramodern quattro technology provides for sporty handling, exceptional agility and remarkable steering precision.

Suspension: sporty performance

The suspension on the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI rounds off the dynamic personality of the vehicle. And it is equal to many a challenge – whether on rough terrain or on the road, where handling characteristics, driving safety and comfort set the standards. The adaptive air suspension, fitted as standard, completes the outstanding qualities. The combination of air suspension and electronically controlled damping with dynamic roll stabilisation creates a perfect synthesis of sportiness and superior ride comfort.

The driver can select any of three settings for the adaptive air suspension: dynamic, comfort and automatic, ranging from sporty and firm to extremely comfortable. Together with the off-road and lift modes the system offers five different settings for the body ride height. In off-road mode, ground clearance is 205 millimetres – normally sufficient even for demanding terrain. For more convenient loading, the rear can be lowered by 71 mm.

The basic suspension layout excels with its high level of sophistication. All four wheels are independently mounted on double wishbones; most of the axle components are made of aluminium. Servotronic steering with speed-dependent power assistance and variable ratio is exceptionally direct and precise, giving the driver a feeling of excellent road contact.

The Audi Q7 4.2 TDI leaves the assembly line with sporty 18-inch alloy wheels and size 255/55 tyres. The four brake discs are internally ventilated and generous in size – they are 350 millimetres in diameter at the front axle and 358 mm at the rear. Six pistons in the front brake callipers apply brake pressure to each of the discs; this technology, too, hails from the world of the sports car.

Equipment: distinguished luxury

The new Audi Q7 4.2 TDI is furnished with a range of standard equipment that exudes an air of distinguished luxury. This includes the leather design package with a choice of inlays in aluminium or three types of wood and seat upholstery in Cricket leather. The front seats are electrically heated. An on-board computer, a cruise control system, a multifunction steering wheel and the much-praised operating system MMI basic further enhance comfort and convenience for the driver. The electrically operated tailgate is a practical solution: its opening angle can be programmed as required.

Numerous assistance systems in the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI provide support for the driver. A new technology – Audi lane assist – is making its debut in the most potent diesel SUV on the world market. From a speed of around 65 km/h it alerts the driver by inducing a slight vibration in the steering wheel if he/she inadvertently moves out of the lane. If the driver has not indicated, the system issues the warning shortly before or while the vehicle is crossing the lane marking.

Other high-tech systems offer even more comfort, convenience and control. Audi parking system advanced employs a camera to monitor the rear. The optional Audi adaptive cruise control is a radar-based system incorporating active distance control. It is combined with the brake assist system Audi braking guard. Audi side assist monitors the blind spot utilising radar technology and informs the driver if a vehicle approaching from behind could endanger the lane-changing manoeuvre.

Countless interesting features are available to enhance the dynamic lines of the exterior and for the spacious interior of the 5.09-metre-long Audi Q7, from 21-inch wheels, the open sky system glass roof through to the rail system for the generous luggage compartment, which has a capacity of up to 2,035 litres. A deluxe automatic air conditioning system is standard; the seating system is exceptionally versatile. Like all Audi Q7 models the new 4.2 TDI is available as a 5, 6 or 7‑seater. The new Audi Q7 4.2 TDI will be in showrooms in early summer. The basic price in Germany will be 70,500 euros.

The equipment, data and prices stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. Subject to amendment; errors and omissions excepted.
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