Last time we saw the all-new Audi Q7, the mechanical hardware was hiding in the suit of the all-old current model. Now, the next-gen version is out testing in the wild, ahead of an expected late 2014 reveal and UK sales in early 2015.
Is the new Audi Q7 worth waiting a year for?
The Q7 needs some big tricks up its sleeve to claw back ground lost to the just-released BMW X5, new Range Rover Sport, plus deadly new posh SUV rivals from Jaguar and Volvo. Audi is thought to be pinning its hopes on a raft of weight-saving measures, turning the bloated current Q7 into a proper sports-utility vehicle capable of out-pointing the best Chelsea tractors from Britain and Germany.
Audi Q7: the diet plan
As you can see from these spy shots, the Q7 isn’t shedding the pounds by downsizing. In fact, with that boxier roofline to better accommodate third-row passengers, the new Q7 looks even more of a leviathan that the current car. Under the skin, it’s a cocktail of weight-saving materials that’ll fight the flab, using know-how from Audi’s ‘ultra’ project, which we saw earlier in 2013 with the featherweight TT Ultra Quattro concept.
The new car’s PL73 platform is still predominantly steel – 60% in fact – with the remaining 40% is made up of aluminium that’s been bonded with superlight carbonfibre pieces. It’s possible Audi could also use a composite tailgate and front wings to shave vital kilos. Overall, the 2015 Q7 is touted to drop 350kg versus the current model, which weighs 2300kg in top-selling 3.0 TDI guise. A new BMW X5 in comparable xDrive 30d guise is 2145kg.
What are the new Q7 engine headlines?
Audi is following the lead of BMW and Mercedes by adopting four-cylinder diesel power for its entry-level large SUV model. The 2.0 TDI should develop more than 200bhp and 300lb ft, competing head-on with the Mercedes ML250 and BMW X5 sDrive25d. More powerful engines will be shared with the mooted Audi Q8, a flagship luxury crossover slated for 2016. The purported powerplants are a 301bhp petrol-burning V6, a torquier 272bhp V6 turbodiesel, and a 400bhp V8 TDI. The new Q7’s pricing is expected to remain consistent with the current Q7’s £43,000 to £62,000 ask.
What about a hot S or RS Q7?
An S Q7 is still in the balance, according to an Audi insider, who confirmed to CAR that a sporting Q7 is in consideration but hasn’t yet been signed off. If it does get the green light, expect the S Q7 and S Q8 to use the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the RS6, RS7 and Bentley Continental GT, good for 552bhp. The shouty V8 boasts cylinder-shutdown technology, allowing it to run as an in-line-four banger under light throttle. Just think, with that prodigious weight-saving and the fuel-saving tech, your 2016 S Q7 might just crack 20mpg…