Due to arrive in 2016, the SQ7 is expected to feature a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre diesel V8 with around 414bhp and 664lb ft. Power will be sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
That’s less power than the old 6.0-litre V12 diesel engine available in the previous-generation Q7, in which it produced 493bhp and 738lb ft. That model was capable of reaching a top speed of 155mph, with a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.5sec. The new SQ7 is expected to beat both those benchmarks.
The SQ7’s engine will be assisted by an electric turbocharger, which is designed to boost low-end response before the V8's twin turbochargers take over.
Audi’s electric turbocharger technology, first unveiled on the RS5 TDI-e concept earlier this year, requires the use of a new 48-volt electrical architecture, which will make its debut on the SQ7.
Visual differences between this early test mule and the regular Q7 are slight, but new twin exhaust outlets can be seen at the rear, while bespoke dials - which include the SQ7 name - can be seen inside. The mule also appears to ride significantly lower than the regular Q7, suggesting tweaks to its suspension systems.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: