THIS is the 2016 Audi SQ7 that will take on the V8-powered versions of the BMW X5 and BMW X6 twins. While it’s not an RS version, which would make a mean rival for the 423kW BMW X5M and X6M monsters, the SQ7 turns the wick up on the regular Q7 models.
All models of this second generation of Audi Q7 – revealed at the 2015 Detroit motor show – sit on Audi’s longitudinal architecture that will underpin cars including the Bentley Bentayga and Audi Q6 that’s gunning squarely for the Tesla Model X.
For the Q7, it’s wrapped in a much stauncher look, particularly in the front end, as well as massively reduced weight – as much as 325kg – through expanded use of aluminium and high-strength steels. The Q7 still weighs 1995kg in base diesel form, but at just over five metres long and 1970mm wide, it’s slight shorter and narrower than its predecessor, which all bodes well for the performance versions of the Soccer-mum express.
For the S versions, you can see in these images the chunkier front bumper and through those mesh alloys you’ll easily spot cross-drilled brake rotors and larger calipers. There’s also quad exhausts at the back. Of course it will sit on lower, firmer suspension, but we don’t know for certain what will power the flying seven-seater. One tip from Audi tech boss Dr Ulrich Hackenberg is that it will use an electronic turbocharger, technology that was showcased by the Audi RS5 TDI Concept Wheels tested in July last year.
That concept was powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel delivering 238kw and 750Nm for a 0-100km/h time in 4.0sec to bring the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 rival into the fight; yet for the SQ7, Hackenberg has hinted at a V8 turbo-diesel along with the new electronic turbos as a replacement for the first-gen Audi Q7 V12 TDI.
The Audi Q7 range goes on sale in 2016, with the SQ7 expected to join the line-up later in the year.
Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.