For the first time in a decade, Audi has announced it will introduce a brand new version of its Q7 luxury SUV at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.
Although the current generation is still a rather competent vehicle, the all-new 2016 Q7 will likely be leaps and bounds better. It will have to be because although the decade-old first generation model still selling well — sales are up 21% this year — Mercedes, BWM, and Range Rover have all upped their games in recent years.
To start off, Audi has put new Q7 on a massive diet — shedding more than 715 pounds of weight through the extensive use of lightweight aluminium alloys. The base power unit is expected to be less brawny, as well. According to Edmunds, a 2.0 liter 252-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine will be under the hood. That’s quite departure from the current model’s 3.0 liter TFSI 280-horsepower supercharged V6 powerplant.
The biggest change will be the addition of an e-Tron plug-in hybrid model powered by a 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine, mated to a 94kW electric motor. Together they will produce 368 horsepower. This means the big hybrid SUV can sprint to 60 mph in just 6 seconds and hit a top speed 139 mph.
And the UK version of the e-Tron quattro Q7 will achieve 166 mpg! On average, second-generation Q7’s power plants will consumer 26% less fuel than their predecessors.
Aesthetically, the current Q7 is far from the epitome of automotive beauty. In fact, BBC “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson once described the SUV’s looks as “something you mount on the side of a cathedral to ward off evil spirits.” Ouch. Sadly, Audi seems to have missed the mark once again.
The new Q7’s look is more in line with that of a Subaru Outback or your granny’s Ford Country Squire station wagon than it is with a brawny Range Rover or even a Mercedes-Benz GL. In fact, at first glance, the Q7 could be confused with an enlarged version of the Audi Allroad wagon.
It’s a shame because Audi’s lineup of sedans, wagons, and coupes is among the prettiest on the market.
One portion of the Q7’s design the company did get right is the interior. In true Audi fashion, the big SUV’s cockpit is stylish, functional, and packed with high-tech goodies. The new Q7 will feature Audi’s state-of-the-art virtual cockpit — first seen on the company’s next generation TT sports car. The virtual cockpit uses a 12.3-inch TFT monitor to replace the car’s standard driver’s gauge cluster.
The fully-customisable system allows the driver to have a full infotainment display front-and-center, powered a by a powerful NVIDIA T30 quad-core processor.
Although the second-generation Q7 will be shorter and narrower than its predecessor, the car will actually have roomier cabin and more head room.
Official pricing has not been announced for the new model. However, current generation Audi Q7 models come with a base sticker price of $US47,700.
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