New Audi SQ7 boasts electric turbo and 48-volt electrics for efficiency

Audi's new SQ7 contains an electric compressor to deliver a boost quickly. But that's just the start of its many cool and innovative features.

Matthias Schrader/AP
The four ring logo of German car producer Audi is photographed during the annual press conference in Ingolstadt, Germany (March 3, 2016).

Given the diesel scandal lingering over Volkswagen's operations, it might come as a surprise that Audi has unveiled a new, high-performance flagship crossover powered by the controversial fuel.

But the new SQ7 brings to the table much more than just a high-power 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged diesel V-8 engine.

Among the model's numerous highlights is an electric compressor that spins at up to 70,000 rpm to supply boost so quickly that the lag endemic to turbochargers is largely negated.

The electric compressor is positioned downstream of the intercooler and close to the engine; it can supply full pressure in just 250 milliseconds. Unlike rival BMW, which uses three turbochargers, the Audi's compressor supplements its two exhaust-driven turbos.

In real-world use, Audi says that the benefit is genuinely instant torque. On paper, the output is 663 pound-feet of torque from 1,000 to 3,250 rpm, and 429 horsepower from the engine.

The downsized V-8 uses a new common-rail injection system. Its twin turbos are conventional, mounted between the cylinder banks.

The innovations don't stop there. Eschewing the 12-volt electrical systems found in most cars, a 48-volt system provides the 10 horsepower needed to run the compressor. 

Additionally, the 48-volt electrical system runs the SQ7's electromechanical active roll-stabilization system.

A compact electric motor powers a three-stage planetary gearbox that decides when to couple or decouple the stabilizer bars.

On rough terrain, the stabilizer bars are decoupled to provide a plush ride. When body roll is a detriment, the system interconnects the stabilizer bars to provide flat cornering. 

The system operates similarly to Toyota's totally mechanical Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System.

Toyota's system, which is utilized in the Lexus GX 460 and the Toyota Land Cruiser and 4Runner, differs in that it disconnects the stabilizer bars for off-road use rather than simply for bumpy pavement. 

Positioned at the top of the Q7 lineup, the SQ7 brings with it a bevy of sport-oriented luxury features.

Twenty-inch wheels, a more aggressive-appearing body kit, leather and Alcantara-wrapped sports seats, and brushed aluminum inlays are among the standard features for the European-spec SQ7. 

Audi hasn't yet announced whether the SQ7 will land in the United States, but the automaker did confirm that its futuristic powertrain has been certified for sale here.

Whether it arrives in the SQ7 or another model--if at all--remains to be seen, and may depend on the outcome of the Volkswagen diesel-emission cheating scandal.

This article first appeared at GreenCarReports.

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