A mysterious Audi SUV was recently spotted doing some runs on the Nurburgring . The sheer size of the vehicle suggests that this model could be the second generation Q7 . However, a recent confirmation from an Audi executive seems to indicate that this is not just an ordinary Q7, but the SQ7 that is scheduled to be released in 2016.
So why do we think that it’s the SQ7? It’s a little hard to catch but if you look closely, you’ll notice that it has a quad-pipe exhaust system instead of the dual-pipe setup on the standard Q7.
Audi board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg has already confirmed to Autocar that the new Q7 will arrive next year. He also added that a more powerful SQ7 will come a year later. This spy video is the first indication that the car is right smack in the middle of development in time for its scheduled launch in 2016.
We don’t expect a whole lot aesthetic changes between the Q7 and the SQ7. But we do expect the latter to feature a completely different powertrain that could make use of a “supplemental electric charger” that will be used with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, V-6 TDI engine and a lithium-ion battery.
Audi has already previewed this powertrain on a couple of concepts: the A6 TDI Concept and the RS 5 TDI-e Concept . The two concepts actually carried different iterations of this new powertrain technology. The A6 TDI used an electrically driven turbo combined with a single exhaust gas-driven turbocharger, whereas the RS 5 TDI used used a sequential twin-turbo system with a large and small turbocharger.
It remains to be seen what kind of engine configuration the SQ7 will carry but don’t be surprised if its hybrid system generates a little more than 370 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque output of the rumored Q7 e-Tron.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Audi SQ7.