The first of seven new Audi Q models lands in 2014 - the new Audi Q7. These spyshots of a current Q7 show a working mule testing elements bound for the next model due in two years' time. There will even be a Q8 spin-off this time round.
The new 2014 Q7 is based on the so-called 'tall platform edition' of the MLB Evo components set, a new architecture being readied for VW Group's larger cars.
What can we expect of the new 2014 Audi Q7?
The full-size crossover will shed around 350 kilos in weight thanks to a reengineered body structure and hang-on panels made of aluminium. Audi's finally applying some its aluminium expertise garnered on projects such as the A2, TT and R8 to its largest, heaviest model.
Underpinning the new 2014 Q7 is the WKK60 architecture - which stands for material-flexible concept with a 60% steel content. The remaining 40% are lightweight materials, in this case predominantly aluminium.
And what's all this about an Audi Q8?
The Q8 will be derived from the Q7, but it won´t adopt the lesser model's four-cylinder base engine. Instead, we should see two petrol-fed V6s delivering 230 and 300bhp, a 250bhp 3.0 V6 TDI and a 400bhp 4.2 V8 TDI, plus the S Q8 boasting a 550bhp twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 from the A6/A8/Bentley Conti.
In addition, spies are predicting two plug-in hybrids for the Q7 and Q8 twins, one mated to a four-cylinder TFSI unit and the other paired with a V6 TDI motor.
The background to Audi's burgeoning SUV family
'The SUV segment keeps on growing,' Audi CEO Rupert Stadler tells CAR. 'This is a trend not only in China and North America, but also in Europe. Because Audi wants a share of the action, we are going to expand our crossover line-up.'
The idea is to tweak the odd-numbered models more towards a SUV DNA by adding more ground clearance, all-season tyres, go-anywhere body cladding, bespoke bumpers and adventure-oriented trim levels. The next Q3, Q5 and Q7 will therefore display an Allroad-plus theme with a higher-roof stance, more rugged make-up and an outdoor-focused appeal. But don't expect hardcore engineering items like a low-range transfer case or mechanical diff locks.
Quite different in character and appearance, Q2, Q4, Q6 and Q6 are currently being defined from scratch. Inspired by the coupé-like A3-based Steppenwolf concept introduced at the 2000 Paris show, the new additions to Q corral are sleeker, sportier and sassier than their counterparts.