Audi AG will unveil its most powerful diesel cross/utility vehicle this week at the Geneva auto show as it introduces a European V-8 turbodiesel variant of its 7-passenger Q7.

The Q7 4.2 TDI will join the 6-cyl. Q7 3.6 and 4.2 V-8 gasoline models, along with the 3.0L TDI V-6, when it goes on sale in early summer, the auto maker says.

Displacing 4.2L, the common-rail diesel produces 326 hp and 561 lb.-ft. (760 Nm) of torque, making it the most powerful on the market, Audi says, noting the new CUV still manages 21 mpg (11.1 L/100 km) in the combined European driving cycle.

The mill features a compacted-graphite-iron block with aluminum heads, a forged crankshaft, piezo-hydraulic-electric injectors and a pair of variable geometry turbochargers. In all, the unit tips the scales at 567 lbs. (257 kg).

Performance figures include a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 147 mph (236 km/h), the auto maker says.

Complementing the newfound power in the Q7 4.2 TDI is a 6-speed automatic transmission (with sport mode); Quattro all-wheel drive (split 40/60 front/rear); and adaptive air suspension. All Q7s feature upper and lower wishbone suspensions front and rear, with the 4.2 TDI sporting standard 18-in. alloy wheels for improved handling.

In addition to the new engine, Audi is using the Q7 to introduce its lane-assist system, which alerts the driver through steering-wheel vibrations if the vehicle is crossing over into another lane unintentionally at speeds above 40 mph (65 km/h).

Also available will be Audi’s radar-based adaptive cruise-control system, side-assist blind-spot-detection technology and advanced video- and sonar-based parking system.

Further details likely will be released following the auto maker’s press conference at the show, but the new model is not likely to be exported to North America, despite the pending introduction of the Q7 3.0 TDI in the U.S. next year.

Audi previously indicated it may change its export plans for diesel vehicles if demand for the powertrains takes off following the widespread rollout of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel in the U.S. However, nothing has been confirmed to date.

And in spite of the new Q7’s prodigious output, it falls far short of the soon-to-be-released Q7 V-12 TDI concept, which features a 6.0L 12-cyl. turbodiesel and boasts 500 hp and 738 lb.-ft. (1,000 Nm) of torque.

Production versions of the range-topping model likely will arrive sometime next year, reports say, with U.S. exports a distinct possibility due to Audi’s push to improve the image of diesels through its R10 TDI race program in the American Le Mans endurance racing series.

msutton@wardsauto.com