The new Q7 may be a big and luxurious vehicle, but Audi emphasized by fuel economy by cutting weight and introducing more efficient powertrains.
Along with new, more macho styling, Audi says it’s cut up to 716 pounds compared to the old model. The 2016 Q7 is the first vehicle to use the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, which will likely form the basis for many other large vehicles as well.
To achieve that impressive weight savings, the Q7 chassis makes use of ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum. The doors, front fenders, and hood are aluminum as well.
The base engine in the U.S. will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
From there, buyers can upgrade to 3.0-liter gasoline or TDI diesel V6 engines. All Q7 models get an eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive.
The gasoline V6 is rated at 333 hp and 325 lb-ft, enough for a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. The diesel boasts 272 hp and 443 lb-ft, getting it to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, and on to a top speed of 145 mph.
Audi will also offer a Q7 e-tron diesel plug-in hybrid, with a 3.0-liter TDI V6, electric motor, and 17.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The company says it’s the first plug-in to use a diesel V6 and all-wheel drive.
That should make this version quick as well as frugal With a total system output of 373 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, Audi says the e-tron will do 0 to 62 mph in 6.0 seconds, and reach a top speed of just under 140 mph.
Further down the road, Audi is also expected to launch an SQ7 performance model, with what could be the first production application of an electric turbocharger.
Rear-wheel steering will also be available. The system turns the rear wheels opposite the front wheels at low speeds for greater agility, but they follow the movement of the fronts at higher speeds for more stability.
On the inside, the Q7 can once again seat five or seven people, and features a modular infotainment platform based around a quad-core NVIDIA T30 processor. This allows for different levels of functionality at different price points.
Other notable tech features include an available Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, a pair of 10.1-inch tablets that act as rear seat monitors, and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
As an outgrowth of the existing adaptive cruise-control system, the Q7 will also launch with a “traffic jam assistant” that can not only accelerate and decelerate the car, but also take over the steering on “developed highways” at speeds below 37.3 mph.
The 2016 Audi Q7 goes on sale next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.