Significantly lighter, considerably more efficient, appreciably more technologically accomplished – this is the all-new Audi Q7 in a nutshell. The imposing new SUV which has shed up to 325kg in its second generation is now available at Newbury and Oxford Audi priced from £50,340 OTR for the SE model, rising to £53,835 OTR for the S line.
The promise of even greater things in the successor to the model which has found over 510,000 homes worldwide since its 2006 launch begins at surface level. A full body-colour paint finish is now standard, and the large 3D hexagonal singleframe grille dominating the front of the car is flanked by double-arrow design Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights in SE models or all-weather LED units in the S line. The latter are also complemented by a high beam assist function and dynamic rear indicators, which sweep sequentially from the inside out for better visibility when turning. New design alloy wheels with a 19-inch diameter are part of the SE specification, while S line versions upgrade to a 20-inch wheel. Powered tailgate operation is also part of the package for both versions.
Inside the cabin, which in UK specification models features three rows of seats upholstered in supple Twin leather, headroom has increased for both front and second row passengers. The second seating row now benefits from a tilt and fold function, and when the two seats in the third row aren’t being used, they can now be more easily folded away to make room for luggage thanks to a new powered folding mechanism. A total of 770 litres of luggage space is available when seven passengers are on board, or up to 1,955 litres if only the front seats are occupied.
Up in the front row the latest MMI navigation plus with MMI Touch – the range-topping system based on the second generation modular infotainment platform - brings a wealth of media within easily accessible reach helped by its MMI all‑in‑touch control unit with large touchpad and ultra-clear 8.3-inch electrically retractable monitor. Trial access to Audi connect, which brings internet-based services to the car via a fast 4G connection and also creates a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot enabling occupants to go online using handheld devices, is also included.
New Audi smartphone interface
In the Q7 the Audi connect portfolio will also gain a sophisticated new element later in 2015: The Audi smartphone interface brings “Apple Car Play” and “Google Android Auto” on board. If an iOS or Android cellular phone is connected to the USB port (iOS from Version 7.1; Android from Version 5.0 Lollipop), the respective environment opens in the Audi smartphone interface. Both are tailored for use in the car. The heart of this feature is online music. In addition, both platforms offer navigation functions, missed call/appointment reminders and messaging functions. Over time, these will be joined by numerous third-party applications such as Pandora, Spotify and WhatsApp.
Other features common to the two specification levels available at launch include the MMI radio plus incorporating a DAB module and linked to the 10-speaker Audi sound system, electrically operated and heated front seats with four-way electric lumbar support, cruise control, light and rain sensors, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, the Audi parking system plus with front and rear visual and acoustic guidance, hill descent control and keyless go.
In addition to larger wheels, LED headlights and exclusive sports body styling, S line models also upgrade with features such as front sports seats upholstered in pearl Nappa leather/Alcantara, privacy glass and deluxe four-zone climate control in place of the standard two-zone system.
Audi virtual cockpit
The list of attractive technology options available for UK versions of the new Q7 will include the Audi virtual cockpit, which replaces the analogue dials in the binnacle with a 12.3-inch TFT display that presents tack-sharp, painstakingly rendered graphics. As in the new Audi TT, the Q7 customer can switch between a classic view with high-quality rendered dial instruments and an infotainment view with an extended display area for lists and the map – all conveniently from the steering wheel. Two high quality audio systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen will also be available, both delivering remarkable 3D sound through the use of additional speakers in the A-pillars which provide the spatial dimension of height so that the music appears to be coming from a large virtual stage. The Bang & Olufsen system drives 23 speakers including subwoofers with 1,920 watts of amplifier power.
For rear seat passengers the Audi tablet will also be offered in the longer term. Connected to the MMI navigation plus via WiFi, the detachable computer will offer access to the radio, media, navigation and car functions of the Audi Q7, and through its Android operating system will also be a hub for games, movies, music, eBooks and much more.
The physical car into which all this technology is slickly integrated is no less advanced. As part of an intensive weight optimisation programme precious kilograms have been saved in every area from the suspension and drivetrain components to the body panels. The most notable savings were made in the front and rear five-link axles, where 67kg was stripped away, in the 71kg lighter multimaterial body-in-white and in the all-aluminium door panels, which are 24kg lighter than those fitted to the outgoing Q7. Depending on version, up to 325kg has been saved, equivalent to the weight of a grand piano.
Powering the new Q7 from launch is an EU6-compliant 3.0 TDI engine producing 272 PS and 600Nm of torque, in combination with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission with a fuel-saving freewheeling function, and quattro all-wheel drive. From rest, 62 mph takes a mere 6.5 seconds, and a top speed of 145 mph is possible. CO2 emissions are rated at 153g/km, based on a combined fuel consumption figure of 47.9mpg. A 218PS version of the 3.0 TDI quattro will be available later in the year.
Audi drive select with five modes
The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system is networked with the engine and transmission, enabling the driver to alter their operating characteristics across five driving modes – auto, comfort, efficiency, dynamic or individual. The feel of the electromechanical steering can also be influenced by this system, as can the optional adaptive air suspension system, which also adds an allroad and lift/offroad function to increase ground clearance by 25mm and 60mm respectively.
In addition to the hill hold assist function incorporated into the electronic handbrake and the hill descent control program, which automatically controls the speed of the car on steep terrain, the list of protective systems fitted as standard to the Q7 also includes pre-sense city. At lower speeds, pre-sense city warns the driver of impending collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and will initiate heavy braking in an emergency. If a collision does take place the multicollision brake assist system uses controlled braking to help to prevent the car from skidding and thus avoid additional collisions.
Numerous innovative driver assistance systems for the new Q7 are also available, including an evolution of adaptive cruise control with stop & go incorporating a traffic jam assistant that can take over steering duties on marked roads if traffic is moving at below 37mph, and the groundbreaking predictive efficiency assistant.
This innovative system uses the route data from the navigation system to alert the driver to situations in which it would make sense to reduce speed, such as before bends, towns or speed limit signs that are not yet visible.
In collaboration with adaptive cruise control (ACC) and traffic sign recognition, the system adapts the preselected speed to the route and the speed limits. The predictive efficiency assistant, which can also take over predictive control of the free-wheeling function of the eight-speed tiptronic, has the potential to reduce fuel consumption on interurban roads by as much as ten percent.