From diesel to gasoline
Until recently, you could only buy the Qudi SQ7’s top SUV and derived SQ8 sportier SUV couples with a diesel 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder engine that offered a maximum output of 320 kW (435 hp) and an impressive 900 Nm of torque. nose, but in practice everything worked practically without reservations and moreover with very solid consumption. After all, even in our tests, we often moved around the limit of 10 l / 100 km, which is a very decent value for a dynamically tuned SUV with an unladen weight attacking 2400 kilograms.
In mid-July, however, Audi issued a press release announcing the end of diesel engines under the hood of the SQ7 and SQ8 models. Their position was newly replaced by the twice-supercharged 4.0-liter petrol V8 TFSI, which promises even better dynamics thanks to higher performance. And why has something changed that still works more than well (even from the point of view of sales)? As a reason, the carmaker mentions the reaction to the global trend of customers who increasingly prefer petrol engines in the segment of high-performance SUVs. So she served them exactly what they wanted.
Higher power, lower weight
A 4.0-liter V8 TFSI petrol engine, supercharged by a pair of Twinscroll turbochargers, moved under the hood of the Audi SQ7 and SQ8. These are placed between the rows of cylinders up to V (90 °), which shortens the gas flow paths and ensures better reactions from the lowest speeds. The eight-cylinder petrol engine will offer a maximum output of 373 kW (507 hp) and a maximum torque of 770 Nm, which means an increase in maximum output of 53 kW (approx. 72 hp) compared to the older diesel eight-cylinder. At the same time, however, the highest torque decreased – by a total of a significant 130 Nm
But the increase in performance goes hand in hand with weight loss. The petrol SQ7 is 130 kilograms lighter than the diesel one (2265 vs. 2395 kg), while the petrol SQ8 lost 170 kilograms compared to the diesel one (2270 vs. 2440 kg). The pair of top SUVs with petrol engine will offer acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in the same time of 4.1 seconds, flexible acceleration from 80 to 120 km / h can be managed by both SUVs in 3.8 seconds and the maximum speed is electronically limited in both cases. at 250 km / h.
Consumption is often a figure in sports-tuned premium SUVs that potential owners are unlikely to address much. However, the SQ7 / SQ8 diesel models were able to impress not only with their dynamics, space and comfort, but also with their surprising paper consumption of less than 8 l / 100 kilometers.
Of course, the powerful eight-cylinder petrol engine can’t compete, but the results shouldn’t be as terrible as you might expect. The engine is equipped with the Cylinder on Demand system, which deactivates half of the cylinders during a smooth ride and thus contributes to reducing consumption. Petrol SQ7 and SQ8 thus promise, depending on the equipment, an average in the range of 12.0 to 12.1 l / 100 km and emissions of 276-278 g CO2/km (SQ7), respektive 275-276 g CO2/ km (SQ8).
Wheel turning as standard and supercapacitor
The chassis technology of the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 petrol stations remains essentially the same. The standard equipment includes the Adaptive Air Suspension Sport, which complements the all-wheel drive system. The rear wheels rotate up to 5 degrees against the front wheels when driving slowly, improving maneuverability. From 60 km / h, then turn in the same direction, which underlines the stability of the car.
On request, it is possible to order the Advanced chassis package, which offers, among other things, electromechanical tilt stabilization eAWS. The stabilizers on the front and rear axles are equipped with special electric motors, which reduce body inclinations in corners and guarantee a high level of suspension.
These electric motors work with a 48V on-board network and are powered by a supercapacitor, which replaces the previously used lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 0.5 kWh. Maneuverability is further improved by the rear sports differential, the function of which is complemented by the function of braking the wheels on the front axle.
Finally behind the wheel
For the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 petrol models, we went to the German city of Neuburg on the Danube, near which the high-tech Audi Driving Experience Cnetrum complex with its own circuit was opened in 2014. However, we did not get to the circuit – instead we had a choice of several routes around the area, which included intercity roads, a few steep twisted climbs and there was also a piece of highway without speed limits.
I was the first to get behind the wheel of the Audi SQ7, which welcomed me with its modern interior with a flood of displays and the absence of buttons. In short, no big surprise, so after choosing the route, I was really looking forward to the first start of the engine. However, the large eight-cylinder jumped with absolute ease, silence and did not manifest itself significantly.
His exemplary sophistication lasted until the moment when I got used to the dimensions of the car and sent the accelerator pedal to the floor for the first time. At that moment, the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission shifted a few gears and the engine sped forward with a beautifully muffled booming echo of the eight-cylinder. At the same time, I did not notice a loss of 130 Nm when fully pressed into the seat.
In the comfortable driving mode, however, the SQ7 did not really tempt you to drive dynamically. The almost inaudible running of the engine in combination with the premium soundproofed cabin completely isolated a person from the worries of an ordinary motorist and encouraged a leisurely ride. Despite its comfortable setting, the sporty suspension did not swing unnecessarily and still maintained a high degree of safety, which can probably be attributed to the eAWS electronic stabilizer.
However, its benefits were most pronounced in dynamic mode, when the flaps in the exhaust system sharpened the sound, the steering stiffened, the accelerator pedal became more sensitive and the transmission held a lower gear for longer to ensure enough power each time the pedal was depressed.
Despite its weight and size, the SQ7 began to tempt it to drive faster, during which it showed impressive stability. The electromechanical stabilizer, which prevented unnecessary rocking in the comfort mode, began to stabilize the body, which did not begin to tilt significantly, even in uncomfortably fast corners. The tires used to whistle.
The biggest driving surprise, however, came on a long climb along a forest road with many turns, where the Audi SQ7 behaved absolutely brilliantly. Regardless of the weight and width, which could be uncomfortable with the delivery in the opposite direction, the SQ7 offered fantastic safety, fast reactions to paddle shifting, a pleasant soundstage and a sufficiently fast onset of the brakes.
The wilderness in the districts was, of course, affected by consumption, which was somewhere at the limit of 16 l / 100 km. During the following kilometers, however, I came across stronger traffic, which there was nowhere to overtake. However, the slowdown to the normal district pace helped to significantly reduce consumption, which at one time was below 14 l / 100 km.
But the raid on the Autobahn was approaching, which was literally talking about the full ventilation of all 504 horses. Due to increasing traffic, the speed did not climb over 220 km / h, but the maximum is still limited to 250 km / h. It was much more interesting to watch the flexible acceleration, when even at a speed of 180 km / h the transmission shifted sharply and the onset of power was still able to lean the driver into the seat.
But the famous motorway is no longer a headache. In many sections, the speed is limited, which gave me the opportunity to notice that in the tachometer 130 km / h, the engine runs at about 1900 rpm. But with each ending constraint, the same scenario followed: stepping on the gas and burning as much as possible.
At the same time, the Audi SQ7 maintained its position on the motorway as a comfortable long-distance cruiser. It held and changed direction perfectly, did not make unnecessary noise into the interior and pampered the driver and front passenger with comfortable seats with ventilation, heating and massage functions.
After exiting the highway, however, I got back to the column, which dragged at a stable speed of about 70 km / h. It was here that a message from the Cylinder on Demand system began to appear on the digital instrument panel, informing about the deactivation of half of the cylinders. Without a graphic warning, I would not have noticed it at all. With each depressing of the accelerator pedal, the warning disappeared, the engine agilely gathered all its forces and could overtake.
The planned test circuit measured slightly over 100 kilometers and about 45% of it was motorways, 45% fell on districts and the remaining 10 percent led to towns and villages. At the end of the journey, the on-board computer showed an average combined consumption of 14 l / 100 kilometers, which did not seem bad to me at all. Especially at the highway pace.
But I managed to achieve even better consumption behind the wheel of a sportier SQ8, with which I set out on a similarly long journey – but this time without the highway. Instead, I got a larger portion of pleasantly curved roads, where I quickly understood why the diesel SQ8 had already earned a comparative test compared to a sharp hatchback.
The sporty cut suits the car, which in combination with the red paint of the tested piece was doubly true. Even after starting, I was greeted by the slightly sharper sound of the exhaust system, which only underlines the dynamics of the car and literally calls for more frequent sending of the tachometer hand to higher places. Especially in sports mode, the car showed a really great show, where the petrol engine shared attention with a perfectly tuned chassis.
However, the brisk sections were redeemed by a more frequent slow ride in convoys, which, given the overall width of the car, could not be overtaken very well in the twisted Bavarian districts. But whenever an open space with a sufficiently wide road and a good view opened up, overtaking was a matter of moments. The onset of performance is truly impressive. However, consumption was even more impressive at the end of the journey. Despite the more dynamic driving style in the districts, I returned the car with an average combined consumption of 13.8 l / 100 km.
The transition of the flagship SUVs Audi SQ7 and SQ8 to petrol engines brought higher performance, lower weight and the expansion of standard equipment with rear axle steering, which is undoubtedly great news. Taxes are lower torque and, of course, higher consumption, which will probably not bother potential owners so much. We are still talking about SUVs, whose prices start at CZK 2,602,900 (SQ7) and CZK 2,803,900 (SQ8), respectively.
For those interested in similar cars, the fact that they will definitely not have to spend as much time at petrol stations as, for example, owners of Ford Mustangs, where high consumption is seconded by a small tank, will probably be more important. However, the Audi SQ7 and SQ8 will offer a tank with a volume of 85 liters, which with an average consumption of approx. 14 l / 100 km will suffice for more than 600 kilometers per tank. However, with regard to driving style, it can of course be more or less.
If the diesel engines would not suit you, you still have a chance to buy an SQ7 / SQ8 in diesel. Receipt of new orders is already stopped, but production will be terminated by the end of the year. Dealers will be able to offer new stock models for some time to come.