Next-generation Q7 drops 325 kg; new diesel-electric hybrid powerplant unveiled.
Audi has unveiled the second-generation Q7 ahead of its official debut at next month's Detroit Auto Show. At first look, exterior changes appear minimal, with an evolutionary albeit familiar appearance. A single-frame grille combines with better defined wheel arches, numerous crease lines and tauter skin to help give it a less bulky look. While the new Q7 is in fact marginally shorter and narrower than its predecessor, the big SUV boasts more interior space. Yet the most fundamental change is what's happening under the sheet metal.
Using the VW Group's new MLB Evo platform, made up of high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber, Audi has managed to shed 325 kg from the new seven-seater, making it the lightest in its class at just 1,995 kg, with fuel efficiency improved by up to 28 percent. Powetrains have also been significantly improved. The entry-level 2.0 TFSI with 252 hp and 273 lb-ft will make it stateside, and will be joined by two V6 units. The 3.0-liter TDI, rated at 272 p and 443 lb-ft of torque, offers a 0-62 mph time of 6.3 seconds and 145 mph top speed, while the 3.0-liter TFSI, good for 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, will help the SUV hit 62 mph in 6.1 seconds and a 155 mph top speed.
Engines will come mated to a new eight-speed tiptronic, permanent AWD and a mechanical center differential, while Audi has introduced optional all-wheel steering on the new Q7, reducing the turning radius by up to one meter and improving steering response. As reported recently, Audi will later roll out a Q7 e-tron Quattro model, the world's first diesel-electric hybrid with all-wheel drive, which combines a 258-hp 3.0 TDI unit and an electric motor for a combined output of 373 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It will boast a 0-62 mph time of 6.0 seconds, a 140-mph top speed, a 35-mile electric range, and 138 mpg fuel economy.
Passengers will find a significantly changed interior, with reduced switchgear, a free-standing infotainment screen, a prominent center console, and digital instrument binnacle. Options include a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and rear seat entertainment system with 10.1-inch tablets. Pricing and availability details will be revealed after the car's world debut at Detroit 2015 in January.
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