There was actually very little risk involved in Audi’s decision for the Q7 to go off-road, unlike the moves made for the BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne. Audi had already been making wagons and its specialty was quattro all-wheel drive. Audi added the Q5 and Q3 to the Q model lineup and is being urged to add two more in the future. Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said that even as the trend is moving towards models that are more compact, the crossovers continue to sell like “hotcakes.”
Still, this model needs some updating and it would have to drop some of the weight to keep up with the new models. Automotive Magazine reported that the luxury Ingolstadt SUV will be using an extensive amount of aluminum.
It will be built on the platform that the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne also use. These two SUVs dropped about 400 pounds (181 kg) but Audi wants to reduce its weight more. A source said that the next generation of Q7, which arrives in 2012 as a 2013 model year, will shed 650 pounds (295 kg).
This will be accomplished by the extensive use of aluminum in the body as well as the use of smaller engines. It’s expected that forced induction 3.0-liter will function as the backbone of the engine range, and that several V8 models will be terminated, similar to what was done with the facelifted S5. It’s likely that Audi will produce a very efficient diesel and a hybrid that is inspired by the Q5.
When it comes to flexibility, the Audi Q7 is able to set benchmarks as the interior allows for at least 27 seat arrangements. Space in the interior is generous mainly due to the wheelbase measuring 3 meters (9.48 feet). At the request of the customer, Audi can have the Q7 as a five-seater, six-seater, or even a seven-seater SUV. For this latest iteration, the use of single seats in the rear more than guarantees comfort.
In addition, the third row seats can allow passengers as tall as 1.60 meters (5.25 feet) to sit comfortably. Load capacity is at 775 liters (27.37 cubic feet) but when the back of the seats in the second row is folded down to deliver a level cargo floor, volume of the load capacity is increased to 2,035 liters (71.87 cubic feet). In terms of proportion, the Q7 has a length of 5.09 meters (16.70 feet), and width of 1.98 meters (6.50 feet) with height at 1.74 meters (5.71 feet). The dimensions, combined with the design, make it possible for this SUV to have a character that has both presence and power.
Unique features include the surfaces that have a flowing feel to them resulting in a moving sculpture, a roofline similar to a coupe, panel surfaces that are tightly curved, and the low window strip. Overall the outline of the Q7 is elegant, powerful, and athletic. On the inside, the driver and the passenger sitting on the front get to choose from three types of seats.
The first is the usual standard seats with the second being the electronically adjustable sport seats. The third option is the climate-controlled luxury seats that come with ventilation and heating. Its graceful lines, coupled with the subtle details, express the feeling of security that any driver or passengers expect. A number of the control elements come in a chrome trim while the use of ambient lighting helps give the interior several fine highlights. Indeed, the Q7 is a good example of the workmanship one has come to expect from Audi, which believes in quality without any of the compromises.
Making sure that the interior has that unique quality are the materials and colors that were selected. Made available are the headlinings, inlays, and leather grades. For those who want customization, there is an assortment of design and leather packages offered to suit different styles. Take the S line sports package for example. All throughout the interior, it utilizes a cool black color with subtle highlights for the upholstery and trim.
It also comes with the sport suspension and the 20-inch wheels. On the exterior, the style of the front end is dominated by the headlamps and the sing-frame grille with the chrome surrounds. The company however will be making available the xenon plus variant whose daytime driving lights and flashers use LEDs. Highway, full, and low beams will be offered including an adaptive light version with cornering and turning lights integrated to it.
While the lights in the rear have standard LEDs, it still gives it that unique lighting pattern. The tailgate, which encloses the roof posts in the rear via an S-shaped outline, is made up of aluminum. Composed of the same material are the fenders in the front and the hood. Add-on parts will be offered as well with Audi giving customers the option to have it in contrasting color or in the same one as that of the body.
Of course, once the Q7 leaves the production line, it will be in a high-gloss package. Example of extras offered as an option is the aluminum-look exterior package or the black styling package. Either of this will have the chrome trim strip on the door handles, door capping strips, and bumpers. With this, the Q7 gets that degree of sophistication. Meanwhile the S line exterior package puts extra focus on the model’s sporty potential. Returning to the interior, operating the controls is logical and simple with the instruments being marked to allow it to be read easily.