It's time for Audi to jump into the fast crossover market.
Whether enthusiasts like it or not, performance SUVs have become big business for automakers and they are now here to stay. Performance SUVs range from sub-compact to full-size and even three-row behemoths can now be optioned with fire-spitting engines. But Audi, at least in the United States, has remained surprisingly absent from the performance three-row crossover segment. In Europe, Audi sells the SQ7, which is powered by a monstrous tri-turbocharged diesel V8. This fabulous engine is also found in the SQ8 and has now made its way under the hood of the new 2020 SQ7.
Audi recently showed off the 2020 Q7 for the US, which borrows a front end and interior technology from the Q8. In Europe, the German automaker just showed off the faster Q7, which uses a 4.0-liter tri-turbo V8 producing 435 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of torque. Power goes out to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic, taking just 4.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. But like the previous SQ7 and new SQ8, the new model won't be sold in the US. But look at the rest of the segment, could this be a mistake?
BMW recently introduced faster versions of its X5 and X7 and Mercedes is happy to shove an AMG badge on all of its SUVs from the GLA up to the GLS. So why is Audi so reluctant to compete? It is understandable why the US can't have the SQ7's tri-turbo diesel engine but there are other options at Audi's disposal.
Audi recently showed off the 2020 S6 and S7, which are each powered by a diesel V6 in Europe or a 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 from the RS5 producing 450 hp in the US market. It would be easy for Audi to offer the SQ7 with this gasoline V6 in the US market rather than the V8 diesel. Audi is also rumored to be working on a hybrid V8 in an RS Q8, so perhaps the company could skip the SQ7 entirely to build a 600-plus hp version of its three-row crossover.