by Jared Rosenholtz
Audi has done a good job keeping its US lineup fresh but there are a handful of models in need of an update. The second-generation Q7 has only been around since 2016 but next to its siblings like the new Q8, it features outdated technology and powertrains. Audi was seen testing a camouflaged Q7, which has now been revealed to be the facelifted 2020 model. For the 2020 model year, the Q7 receives a much-needed facelift (both inside and out). But is it enough to keep Audi's mid-size offering relevant in the competitive luxury crossover space?
Right off the bat, Audi scored a major win in the styling department by emulating the sexy look of the Q8 on the new Q7. The front end features a new octagonal grille with a sharper headlight design and body cladding runs down the side profile to give the Q7 a more rugged look. Out back, the rear end styling isn't as dramatic as the coupe-like Q8 but it does look more like a Q5 than before. This facelift surprisingly looks more significant than some of Audi's recent redesigns and should fool plenty of shoppers into thinking this is an all-new model.
An all-new interior layout further adds to the illusion this is an all-new model and not just a facelift. The knob-controlled pop-up screen is gone and has been replaced by the dual-screen arrangement found in most new Audi models. Along with being more aesthetically pleasing, the new multimedia interface includes all of the latest technology including LTE connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, natural voice control, Google Earth, smartphone integration, and Amazon Alexa. In European cities, the car can even tell the driver the optimum speed to make the next green traffic light.
Audi will sell the Q7 with either five or seven seats. For 2020, the Q7 has grown slightly and now measures 16.6 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and 5.7 feet high (including the roof aerial). Audi says the Q7 will beat its rivals on interior length as well as head and elbow room and the rear cargo area offers 30.5-72.4 cubic feet of storage depending on which seats are folded. The Q7 has always been slightly larger than its midsize competitors like the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE but smaller than full-size SUVs like the new X7 and GLS.
The outgoing Q7 is powered by either a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 253 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 329 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The V6 wasn't out-of-date in terms of power but it did suffer at the pump. Audi hasn't confirmed powertrains for the US but the press release did mention a 48-volt mild hybrid system. We expect the Q7 to receive the same 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with mild hybrid assist from the Q8 producing 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. The mild hybrid system smooths out the stop-start system, making it nearly imperceptible.
Audi hasn't revealed pricing information for the 2020 Q7 but we expect it to remain close to the V6-powered 2019 model, which starts at just under $60,000. This would put it right on par with the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
Both of the Q7's main rivals, the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE, recently received major redesigns, catapulting them to the top of the class. Audi's improvements may not be as drastic but do help the Q7 remain competitive. Sales of the Q7 have remained steady since 2016 and only fell slightly in 2018. This new facelift should majorly reinvigorate sales when it arrives in 2020.