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New Audi SQ7 TDI Will Be First With Electrically-Driven Turbo

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Audi is working on a new generation of its Q7 and we’re expecting the big SUV to be the first to feature the German automaker’s new diesel engine equipped with an electrically-driven turbocharger. The technology, called e-boost, is designed to eliminate turbo lag at low revs and according to comments from Audi’s R&D boss we’ll see it first in a new SQ7 performance SUV.

"The new Q7 will be available in the market next year,” Audi board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg told Autocar. “The electric turbo will come a bit later in the Audi SQ7 available in [calendar year] 2016.”

The engine destined for the vehicle is 3.0-liter V-6 TDI equipped with a twin-turbocharging system. The smaller of the two turbochargers uses an electric motor to get it spinning at lower revs and then reverts to exhaust gases at higher revs—engineers discovered that using an electric motor alone to spool up a turbo wasn’t as effective as using both an electric motor and exhaust gases.

A version of the engine shown in an RS 5 TDI concept car produces an impressive 385 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the latter generated at just 1,250 rpm. In the RS 5, this enables 0-60 mph acceleration in just 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph. These figures are comparable with those of the stock RS 5 and its gasoline V-8 but with the high-tech diesel the stated fuel economy for the European combined cycle is an incredible 44.4 mpg.

It’s not clear whether the diesel-powered SQ7, likely to be called an SQ7 TDI, will be offered in the U.S. given Audi’s decision to exclude us from the current SQ5 TDI model. The good news is that we may still see a gasoline-powered SQ7 powered by Audi’s 4.0-liter TFSI engine.

The new Audi Q7 will be revealed later this year but won't reach showrooms until the second half of 2015, as a 2016 model. For more details on the vehicle, including additional spy shots and a video, click here.
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