First glimpse of the Audi SQ7

Audi has been seen testing its new and extremely hot SQ7 diesel-powered model in readiness for its much-anticipated launch next year. Technical development chief Ulrich Hackenberg has revealed that the new car will be powered by a V8 featuring 'e-boost' electric turbochargers.

Even though there are no obvious signs of 'S' badging, there are certain indications that might give the onlooker a clue. Chrome blades enclose the fog lights at the front, as opposed to the black plastic usually seen on standard models. The front and back underbody protection is not body-coloured but bare-metal, and there are four massive exhaust pipes at the back.

The e-concept turbocharger debuted last year on the RS5 TDI concept. The e-boost has been produced to eliminate turbo lag and give a seamless throttle response, even with a diesel model. The system works by using an electric motor to spin the turbo before hot gasses arrive to compress the air in the cylinders. The e-boost or pre-boost will only work up to around 3,000 rpm; after this it is no longer needed.

The engine for the SQ7 could well be the 4.2-litre TDI that powers the Porsche Cayenne; alternatively, it could be changed to a 4.00-litre. Considering that the current Q7 can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, 5.5 seconds should be feasible for the SQ7. If this is the case, its closest rival will be the BMW X5 M50d.