[UPDATE] The SQ7 TDI will become available in the UK from August ahead of first deliveries in the autumn. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
The SQ7 was the first model from the Volkswagen Group to get the tech-heavy 4.0-litre TDI V8 engine back in March 2016. Since then, models like the Bentley Bentayga Diesel, VW Touareg, and the SQ8 have received the mountain-moving diesel monster, and now time has come for the flagship version of the Q7 family to go through a mid-cycle refresh.
It goes without saying the styling tweaks on the outside are similar to those applied to the regular Q7 facelifted about a month ago. In other words, the SQ7 facelift gets the swanky new headlights and taillights bringing the performance diesel SUV in line with other recent products carrying the Four Rings. The twin vertical slats of the massive singleframe grille make the SQ7 look more imposing than the standard versions of the midsize SUV that only have single bars.
At the back, the quad exhausts are a telltale sign this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Q7, while the full-width metallic bar that runs from one taillight to the other freshens up the SUV’s tailgate. Not that many people will notice it, but the rear underbody protection has been slightly modified, and its silver finish matches the look of the side mirror caps as well as some of the other exterior accents that come in matte silver. At an additional cost, a black styling package makes the SQ7 look slightly more subtle, and you can make it a bit more special by using the Audi Exclusive Program to go for a fancy colour such as this Daytona Grey.
The Audi SQ7 TDI rides on 20-inch wheels shod in 285/45 tyres backed by brakes larger than what you’ll find in the standard Q7 in order to match the additional power. These measure 15.7 inches (400 millimetres) at the front and 14.6 in (370 mm) at the back and come with either black or red callipers. You can get even bigger ones courtesy of an optional carbon ceramic set measuring 16.5 in (420 mm) and 14.6 in (370 mm), respectively, with anthracite grey callipers.
At the heart of the SQ7 is the same 4.0-litre V8 TDI with an electric-powered compressor that assists the pair of turbochargers. The diesel monster produces 429 bhp and an epic 664 pound-feet of torque from a low 1,250 rpm, which helps the large SUV sprint to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds before maxing out at an electronically capped 155 mph.
Like it’s the case with the 2020 Q7, the S version has a massively upgraded interior with a pair of touchscreens dominating the centre console. This change has eliminated the much-criticised tablet, while the physical controls for the climate settings have been integrated into the newly added lower display. The Audi Virtual Cockpit is Audi’s latest and greatest version, and has some extra features specifically created for the SQ7.
Audi will begin to take orders for the 2020 SQ7 in Europe in the coming days, with pricing in Germany to kick off from €94,900. If you want the third row, the seven-seat model is going to set you back €96,420.
No word yet on UK market availability and pricing. Stay tuned for further updates.
Gallery: 2020 Audi SQ7 TDI facelift
BACK UP TO SPEED: THE NEW LOOK, HIGH TECH AUDI SQ7 TDI
Electrically boosted V8 TDI power returns to the updated Q7 range combined with the latest infotainment functionality
- Superb performance thanks in part to the electric powered compressor
- Updated design with S-specific details and extensive equipment
- New fully digital cabin with touch operation
- Available in the UK from August as SQ7 TDI and top specification SQ7 TDI Vorsprung
Ingolstadt, July 22, 2019: The latest in Audi design, engineering and digitalisation know-how has brought the updated Audi SQ7 TDI right up to speed with Vorsprung durch Technik in 2019, but the high performance seven-seater has remained true to its roots in one area that will please devotees of maximum displacement – the 435PS biturbo V8 diesel engine remains the star attraction in the newcomer, which is due to become available in the UK from August ahead of first deliveries in the autumn.
Pure diesel power: Biturbo V8 with electrically powered compressor
The 4.0-litre biturbo TDI backs up its 435PS output with a 900 Nm wall of torque available between 1,250 and 3,250 rpm, enough to catapult the SQ7 TDI from rest to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and to take it to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.
The 48-volt electrical subsystem feeds an electrically powered compressor (EPC) that assists the two turbochargers whenever the load demand from the accelerator is high while the available energy in the exhaust gas is still low. In this case, it supplies the fresh air, which is important for combustion. As a result, the tremendous torque is available instantly at any time – when accelerating from low speeds and particularly when starting off. The EPC is integrated into the intake air tract. A compact electric motor accelerates its compressor impeller to up to 70,000 revolutions per minute in 250 milliseconds. In the exhaust system, two actuators modulate a full eight-cylinder sound.
S-specific adaptive air suspension, all-wheel-steering and quattro drive
A quick-shifting eight-speed tiptronic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive slickly convey the immense power of the 4.0 TDI onto the road. The standard S-specific adaptive sport air suspension and progressive steering, whose ratio becomes increasingly direct as the steering angle increases, create excellent driving dynamics, and in Vorsprung versions standard all-wheel steering makes the large SUV even easier to handle. The system turns the rear wheels by up to 5 degrees in the opposite direction at low speed to maximise manoeuvrability, and at higher speeds turns them slightly in the same direction to promote stability.
Impressive look: the exterior design
The Audi SQ7 TDI combines the recently updated design of the Q models with added S-specific details. It stands apart from the base model with its twin slats in the Singleframe, exterior mirror housings in aluminium look, and the four characteristic exhaust tailpipes with round, chrome trims. The blade in the bumper has a three-dimensional shape, and the underbody protection at the rear looks even more rugged. The look is set off by Matrix LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and dynamic front and rear indicators, and by 21-inch cast aluminium wheels in 5-double V-spoke design in contrast grey with a gloss-turned finish.
In Vorsprung versions the headlamps are upgraded to HD Matrix LED units including laser light, and a Titanium Black styling pack adds a titanium black finish for the grille surround, door mirrors and roof rails combined with a high gloss black finish for the window surrounds. Larger 22-inch 5-V-spoke aluminium star design wheels also make even more impact. Behind both wheels, brake discs measuring 400 millimetres in diameter at the front and 370 millimetres at the rear are fitted, with callipers finished in black and featuring an S logo. These are also optionally available in red.
Sporty performance: Interior and equipment
The interior of the Audi SQ7 TDI features super sports seats upholstered in dark Valcona leather with integrated head restraints, S embossing, rhombus stitching and pneumatic lumbar support adjustment. In the SQ7 TDI Vorsprung these are also climate controlled and feature a massage function.
Soft Alcantara door inserts and brushed aluminium inlays complement these, as do the illuminated door sill trims bearing the S logo and the pedals, footrest and loading sill protector finished in stainless steel brightwork. A contour/ambient lighting package can be specified at extra cost to illuminate the elementary design lines and the surfaces in 30 adjustable colours..
MMI navigation plus, which includes touch-screen operation, delivers top-of-the-line connectivity as standard. It features LTE Advanced, a Wi-Fi hotspot, natural voice control and the extensive Audi connect portfolio, bringing benefits such as traffic information online, navigation with Google Earth, the hybrid radio and the cloud-based Amazon Alexa voice service, which is integrated into the MMI operating system. All features are shown with an S-specific display in the Audi virtual cockpit. There is also a performance view, which places the rev counter in the centre.