Audi SQ7 TDI would make a compelling option in the US

Please, can we have it in the States? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

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  • Image Credit: Audi
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Intrigued by the prospect of the new Audi SQ7 TDI? We are. And promising though the signs may look, we'll likely still have to wait a while before Audi confirms whether it will bring the new performance diesel crossover to North America, much less announce pricing. But based on the sticker just attached in Europe, the SQ7 looks like a compelling choice – if a difficult one to compartmentalize.

Audi has priced its new top-of-the-line crossover at 89,000 euros. Adjust for taxes and exchange rates, we'd likely be looking at an MSRP of roughly $86,000 in US showrooms, if and when it gets the green light from Ingolstadt to embark on the the transatlantic voyage. That places the SQ7 above any diesel crossovers we get in the US, but significantly undercuts the large, gasoline-powered performance SUVs we do get – like the BMW X5 M ($99k), the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 ($124k), and the Porsche Cayenne GTS ($95k) or Cayenne Turbo ($115k).

The diesel performance version of the Q7 has more direct competition overseas in the forms of the Porsche Cayenne S Diesel and BMW X5 M50d – but the Audi offers a bigger bang for only a little more buck (or euro) than either. Where Porsche offers 385 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque for €87.4k, and the BMW boasts 381 hp and 545 lb-ft for €85.7k, the Audi trumps both with a prodigious 435 hp and a massive 664 lb-ft for only a little more cash. The SQ7 also outperforms both by a significant margin, reaching 62 miles per hour from a standstill in a scant 4.8 seconds, versus the 5.3 achieved by both the Cayenne S Diesel and X5 M50d.

That places Audi's latest in something of a category of its own, leaving its similarly priced but less potent diesel competition in its wake. And with more torque but less power, it rapidly encroaches on the levels of performance offered by the top gasoline-powered performance crossovers – whose 0-62 sprints range from 4.2 seconds (in the X5 M) to 4.6 (in the GLS 63).

The question on our minds is whether Audi will bring the new SQ7 TDI to these United States. Our sources tell us the chances are good, but far from confirmed. Our hopes were further raised by its appearance in the latest Captain America movie. But it's the SQ7's performance vis-a-vis the competition – difficult as it may be to categorize – that has whetted our appetites the most.

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New Audi SQ7 TDI on sale from mid-May

- First S model in Q7 car line and world's most powerful diesel SUV
- World first on board: electric powered compressor
- Other innovative technologies: electromechanical active roll stabilization and 48-volt electrical subsystem

The first units of the new Audi SQ7 TDI*, the world's most powerful diesel SUV, will appear on the market from summer 2016. With 320 kW (435 hp) of power and 900 Nm (663.8 lb-ft) of torque at its disposal, it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in a mere 4.8 seconds, using on average 7.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (32.7 US mpg); this equates to 189 grams of CO2 per kilometer (304.2 g/mi). Customers in Europe can order the Audi SQ7 TDI from mid-May.

The 4.0 TDI of the new Audi SQ7 TDI has been redeveloped from the ground up. It combines best-in-class performance with low consumption and therefore guarantees maximum dynamics. An electric powered compressor (EPC) makes its first ever appearance in a production vehicle. This device supports the work of the two turbochargers in the new Audi SQ7 TDI especially at lower revs, assuring agile starting performance. The result is dynamism without any hint of turbo lag.

The power for the EPC – which peaks at 7 kW – is provided by a 48-volt electrical subsystem. The SQ7 TDI is the first automobile from Audi to feature this higher-power electrical system. In conjunction with the EPC, this technical solution also paves the way for the high-performance system of electromechanical active roll stabilization. To meet its high power requirements and short-term energy requirements, there is a separate 48-volt lithium-ion battery in the electrical subsystem beneath the luggage compartment. It has a peak output of up to 13 kilowatts. A DC/DC converter connects the 48-volt and 12-volt electrical subsystems.

The electromechanical active roll stabilization is a new technological solution in this market. It makes controlled, sporty handling possible. The car rolls less on bends, lateral inclination is markedly reduced and the tendency to understeer is kept even better in check. This enables higher lateral acceleration and thus faster cornering.

The base price for the new Audi SQ7 TDI in Germany is EUR 89,900. This already includes popular equipment options from the Audi Q7 worth around EUR 10,000, all supplied as standard. They include LED headlights, adaptive air suspension with S-specific settings, a 3-spoke sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles, a larger 85-liter (22.5 US gal) tank, an anti-theft alarm, electrically adjustable, heated sport seats in Alcantara and leather, 20-inch wheels, sporty-contoured bumpers and door trim strips, plus brushed aluminum inlays.

As an option, Audi can also equip the new SQ7 TDI with the advanced dynamic driving package, which comprises three technology modules: quattro with sport differential, all-wheel steering and the new electromechanical active roll stabilization.

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