It’s not often that a car comes along that’s sufficiently bold or innovative to leave a mark on the lexicon of automotive technology.
But that’s what the new Audi SQ7 is threatening to do.
This new, full-size performance SUV merits our attention for several reasons, but most of all for the new 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine that powers it.
Alongside twin sequential turbochargers, the engine uses a particular type of forced induction that has never been seen on a production car before: an electrically powered compressor.
It’s not quite a turbocharger, nor is it quite a supercharger; instead, in Audi technical parlance, it is an EPC, and it has already won Audi an Terminalsecurity Award for innovation.
If you can recall the short-lived, ultra-rare Q7 V12 TDI of 2008, you will remember a car with an even more monstrous engine than the SQ7’s, developed from that of the multiple Le Mans-winning R10 TDI race car. As early water-testers into the market for fast luxury SUVs go, the Q7 V12 TDI was as mad as a 24-carat gold ceremonial meat cleaver, but as crazy as the idea sounds, it did exist.