Volkswagen just introduced an all-new version of the Touareg, but that vehicle's Audi relative, the Q7 SUV, is still a couple of years away from a full redesign. In the meantime, Audi is launching a full revamp of the powertrain lineup at the Leipzig Motor Show. The Q7 probably won't get a hybrid powertrain until the next-generation model debuts, but all Q7s will get a new eight-speed automatic transmission and a range of boosted and direct-injected engines for 2011.
On the gasoline side there is no longer a V8 version of the Q7. Instead, two versions of the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that debuted in the S4 will do duty. The S4's 333-horsepower unit is an optional upgrade to a 272-hp base model. In Europe – and increasingly here in the United States – diesel is the preferred engine for the Q7. Europeans can again choose from two diesels, a 3.0-liter V6 or 4.2-liter V8, although both have had a major going over.
The V6 TDI is still rated at 240 hp but most of the engine has been revamped for a 19 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The base version with only a particulate filter is now rated at 31.8 miles per gallon (U.S.) on the European combined cycle. The so-called clean diesel version with the urea injection system that meets U.S. emissions standards is rated at 28 mpg (U.S.) We've seen numbers of up to 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined with the current V6 TDI Q7, so this number shouldn't be too out of reach.
For those that crave a seriously fast but still comparatively efficient SUV, the 4.2-liter V8 TDI gets an improved 2,000 BAR injection system. This 590 pound-foot monster accelerates the Q7 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and gets a combined EU rating of 25.6 mpg.
An Audi USA spokesman tells ABG that the 2011 Q7 V6 TDI will retain its 225 hp / 406 lb-ft rating and will launch with the new eight-speed in September. The gasoline V6 TFSI will also be available here in both 272 and 333 hp flavors beginning in November 2010.
The Audi Q7: new engines and eight-speed transmission
for power and efficiency
The Q7 is the large Audi for the sporty individualist – the high-performance SUV for sport, leisure, family and business. Now Audi has made it even more powerful and efficient, with a choice of three new V6 engines and an 8-speed tiptronic transmission.
Engines: a new range
Even more power, even higher efficiency: Audi has revised the engine lineup for the Q7. The two gasoline engines, both V6 units but with different power outputs, are new, and so is the second-generation V6 TDI. A mighty V8 diesel completes the range. All the engines for the Q7 combine two technologies: forced induction and direct fuel injection. A high-performance recuperation system that recovers energy during braking is also a standard item with all six- and eight-cylinder engines.
The new 3.0 TFSI gasoline engine embodies Audi's downsizing strategy: replacing engine displacement with supercharging. Within the 90-degree angle formed by its cylinder blocks there is an engine-driven supercharger that compresses the intake air. Two charge-air intercoolers prevent the air temperature from rising, so that the engine draws in more oxygen for the combustion process. Vigorous thrust and spontaneous throttle response make the 3.0 TFSI engine, with its sonorous note, an ideal source of power for the large high-performance SUV from Audi.
Two versions of the supercharged V6 are available. The basic version develops 200 kW (272 hp) and has a maximum torque of 400 Nm (295.02 lb-ft) over a broad engine-speed range from 2,250 to 4,750 rpm. It accelerates the Q7 in 7.9 seconds from a standing start to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) and gives it a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph), or 225 km/h (139.81 mph) with adaptive air suspension.
The more powerful version of the 3.0 TFSI delivers 245 kW (333 hp) and a torque of 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft) between 2,900 and 5,300 rpm. 100 km/h (62.14 mph) are reached in 6.9 seconds, with powerful forward progress continuing until 243 km/h (150.99 mph) are reached; with adaptive air suspension the top speed is 245 km/h (152.24 mph). Both versions of the 3.0 TFSI are impressively efficient: in the EU fuel consumption test cycle they are content with 10.7 liters per 100 kilometers (21.98 US mpg). Compared with the previous engines, the 3.6 FSI and the 4.2 FSI, fuel consumption has been reduced by 1.4 and 2.0 l/100 km – 12 and 16 percent respectively.
The second-generation 3.0 TDI, a new development, has effectively nothing in common with its predecessor – apart from plenty of power! It has a rated output of 176 kW (240 hp) and a constant 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque all the way from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. This V6 diesel accelerates the Q7 from a standstill to a typical main-road speed of 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 7.9 seconds and reaches its top speed at 215 km/h (133.59 mph) or, with adaptive air suspension, 218 km/h (135.46 mph). Its fuel consumption is impressively low, averaging 7.4 liters per 100 km (31.79 US mpg), which is equivalent to CO2 emissions of 195 grams per kilometer (313.82 g/mile). This is an improvement of 1.7 l/100 km or 19 percent.
The latest 3.0 TDI engine weighs much less than before: 198 kilograms (436.52 lb), a reduction of 20 kg (44.09 lb). A new chain-driven timing gear and a complex cylinder wall machining process have reduced internal friction. The new turbocharger is exceptionally responsive, making itself felt as rapid torque buildup. The common rail injection system has also undergone further development: it has a maximum operating pressure of 2,000 bar and can therefore inject fuel in an extremely precise spray pattern.
The crankcase and cylinder heads of the new 3.0 TDI have separate cooling water circuits connected together by valves. During the warm-up phase and when loads are not high, the coolant is not circulated in the engine block. This saves energy and raises the oil more quickly to its regular operating temperature. The new start-stop system switches off the engine when the Q7 comes to a standstill.
Audi also offers its customers a second version of the V6 TDI: the 3.0 TDI clean diesel. It already meets the exhaust emission limits laid down in the Euro 6 standard, which does not come into force until 2014, and the tough US regulations as well. Sensors in the combustion chambers, a common-rail fuel injection system with a delivery pressure of up to 2,000 bar and a high-performance exhaust gas recirculation system keep untreated exhaust emissions to a minimum. A DeNox catalytic converter in the exhaust system reduces the remaining oxides of nitrogen by means of an additive. The 3.0 TDI clean diesel also develops 176 kW (240 hp) and has an impressive 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque between 2,000 and 2,250 rpm. It takes the Q7 from a standstill up to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 8.1 seconds and gives it a top speed of 215 km/h (133.59 mph), or 218 km/h (135.46 mph) with adaptive air suspension. Its average fuel consumption is 8.4 liters per 100 km (28.00 US mpg).
The Q7 4.2 TDI has also had its fuel consumption drastically reduced – from 9.9 (23.76 US mpg) to 9.2 liters per 100 km (25.57 US mpg) – by installing a 2,000-bar fuel injection system and minimizing internal friction. Yet at the same time the V8 diesel, with its unchanged power output of 250 kW (340 hp), delivers more torque than before. It now supplies a vigorous 800 Nm (590.05 lb-ft) between engine speeds of 1,750 and 2,750 rpm. The big TDI engine gives the Q7 performance figures worthy of a sports car. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 6.4 seconds and has a top speed of 242 km/h (150.37 mph).
Power transmission: eight speeds are standard
Audi has given all six- and eight-cylinder Q7 versions a new automatic transmission. The eight-speed tiptronic lowers fuel consumption by about five percent. It is based on the six-speed unit, but with another friction-clutch shift element added. Being able to shift between eight ratios keeps the jumps in engine speed low: the engine always runs close to its ideal operating point. All gear shifts are fast, flexible and take place extremely smoothly without delay.
At 7.25 to 1, the overall spread of ratios in the eight-speed tiptronic is unusually wide. In the lower ratios the Q7 accelerates powerfully; in the higher ratios it rolls along efficiently at low engine speeds.
To cut fuel consumption still further, the torque converter lockup clutch eliminates slip even at low engine speeds. Any engine vibration that could occur as a result is suppressed by the new damper in the torque converter until scarcely any trace can be detected.
Drivers can choose between the D and S programs – or make their own gear shifts at the transmission selector lever or the optional steering-wheel paddles. In combination with the 3.0 TDI the new eight-speed tiptronic achieves an exceptionally high level of efficiency. Its oil cooler is heated after a cold start by hot coolant from the engine's cooling system. An electric oil pump makes operation of the Q7's start-stop system possible: it maintains oil pressure in the hydraulic circuit when the engine stops, and closes the clutch for restarting.
The eight-speed tiptronic transmission transfers engine power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive train. This splits the power in a sporty manner, with 40 percent going to the front and 60 percent to the rear wheels, but in certain on- or off-road situations, the mechanical-action center differential can direct up to 65 percent of the power to the front or up to 85 percent to the rear.
The chassis: agile and safe
The Q7 is one of those personalities who are at home wherever they may be. On the road it excels with its precise, sporty handling, and where the hardtop surface ends it demonstrates impressive offroad characteristics. The suspension uses double wishbones made of aluminum, attached to separate subframes. The wheel bearings have been optimized to reduce friction. The servotronic steering varies the degree of power assistance according to the vehicle's speed.
The optional adaptive air suspension (standard on the Q7 4.2 TDI and Q7 V12 TDI) with electronic shock absorber control varies the ride height to suit the actual situation. On a high-speed road it lowers the body for enhanced stability and lower fuel consumption. Across rough terrain it raises the body if a button is pressed. At the standard MMI terminal the driver can choose between five operating modes: comfort, automatic, dynamic, offroad and lift. The adaptive air suspension is also available as a dynamic S line version.
The Audi Q7 has 18-inch wheels with 235/60 or 255/55 tires, depending on the chosen engine. But other wheels up to 21 inches in diameter can be selected as optional extras. Braking is looked after by large ventilated disks. With the two most powerful engines even larger disks made from lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced ceramic material are available. They are gripped firmly when the need arises by black callipers with "Audi ceramic" lettering. The ESP stabilization program includes an off-road mode as standard that gives priority to traction on a loose surface. And when the driver encounters a steep downhill slope off-road, the hill descent assist is a useful aid.
Design and body: sculpture in motion
The design of the Q7 stands for power and presence; it is the visual expression of this large SUV's character. Flowing surfaces create a moving sculpture, with the coupé-like roofline, the low window strip and the tautly curved panel surfaces being distinctive visual features. The outlines are sporty, strong and elegant.
The Audi Q7 is 5.09 meters (16.70 ft) long, 1.98 meters (6.50 ft) wide and 1.74 meters (5.71 ft) high. Its wheelbase of 3 meters (9.84 ft) creates a luxurious amount of space inside. The front-end styling is dominated by the large singleframe grille with chromed surround, and the headlamps. As an optional extra Audi can supply a xenon plus version with LED daytime driving lights and LED flashers, and also an adaptive light version with integrated turning and cornering lights as well as the low, full and highway beams.
Standard LEDs in the rear lights create a distinctive lighting pattern. The tailgate, which wraps around the rear roof posts in an S-shaped outline, and also the hood and the front fenders are made of aluminum. Audi supplies the add-on parts in a contrasting color as standard, or, if desired, in the same color as the body. The Audi Q7 always leaves the assembly line with a high-gloss package. Optional extras are the black styling package or the aluminum-look exterior package, which consists of an all-round chrome trim strip on the bumpers, door capping strips and door handles, and gives the Q7 even greater sophistication. The optionally available S line exterior package also adds further visual emphasis to this SUV's sporty potential.
The interior: abundant space
The Q7 sets standards for flexibility: no fewer than 27 seat configurations are possible. Depending on the wishes of the customer, Audi can supply its large SUV as a five-, six- or seven-seat version. This last version has comfortable single rear seats and a third row of seats at the back for occupants up to 1.60 meters (5.25 ft ) tall. As a standard feature, the seat backs in the second row can be folded down to provide a level cargo floor. This increases load capacity from 775 liters (27.37 cubic ft) to 2,035 liters (71.87 cubic ft) in volume.
Operation of the controls is simple and logical, and the clearly marked instruments are easy to read. For the driver and front passenger there is a choice of three seat versions: standard seats, electrically adjustable sport seats and climatized luxury seats that can be both heated and ventilated. The elegant lines of the interior, with many restrained details, communicate the typical feeling of wellbeing that the Audi driver or passenger enjoys. The ambient lighting provides subtle highlights, and many of the control elements have fine chrome trim. The workmanship is typical of Audi – quality with no compromises.
The choice of colors and materials emphasizes the distinguished character of the interior of the Q7. A variety of leather grades, headlinings and inlays are available, and for the individualist there are leather and design packages of various styles. The S line sports package uses cool black throughout the interior, with subtle accents in the trim and upholstery. Among the items it includes are sports suspension and 20-inch wheels.
Equipment and trim: the highest standards of luxury
The Audi Q7 comes with an opulent array of standard equipment features, including two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning, high-beam assistant, an MMI radio operating system complete with audio system and eight speakers, a double load floor in the cargo area with storage compartment and a dirt tray. Roof rails are also fitted.
A standard item when the optional driver information system is chosen is the on-board computer with efficiency program. This monitors the vehicle's energy flows and displays the requirements of the most important consumers, with hints on how to reduce consumption.
The list of optional extras includes such luxury features as the convenience key, four-zone automatic air conditioning, a dark glass panoramic roof and a cool box. Items of interest for sport and leisure include an electric tailgate mechanism, baggage retaining rails and a sliding storage box. In the program of accessories are such items as a pivot-head tow hitch – the large SUV can tow a trailer weighing up to 3.5 metric tons (7,716 lb).
In the infotainment area Audi also offers a complete modular system. The top-of-the-line version has an integral hard disk drive for navigation, music, and telephone data, a color monitor with 3D graphics, a DVD player, and voice control. It can be expanded into a luxury media center with features such as a Bluetooth telephone, TV tuner, digital radio tuner, plus rear seat entertainment. A special highlight is the Advanced Sound System from Bang & Olufsen with its 14 channels, 1,000 watts of power and 14 speakers. In the cockpit area two acoustic lenses reproduce the treble frequencies; when the system is started, they extend out of the dash panel.
The range of optional equipment is rounded off by advanced driver assistance systems. The adaptive cruise control system regulates speed and following distance by means of targeted accelerating and decelerating. If a risk is detected, the integral Audi braking guard provides a warning. Audi lane assist helps the driver to stay in lane; Audi side assist employs radar to help drivers change lanes more safely. The Audi parking system advanced assists parking by means of a rearview camera.
The Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro: the most powerful diesel SUV in the world
The Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro is the most powerful diesel SUV in the world. Its 6-liter twelve-cylinder TDI engine develops 368 kW (500 hp) and delivers 1,000 Nm (737.56 lb-ft) of torque between 1,750 and 3,250 rpm to the six-speed tiptronic transmission. With a time of just 5.5 seconds from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) and a governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph), the Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro matches the performance of a powerful sports car, but is content with a fuel consumption of only 11.3 liters per 100 kilometers (20.82 US mpg).
The luxurious standard equipment specification of the Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro includes 20-inch wheels, Audi ceramic brakes, xenon plus headlights, adaptive air suspension, a Bose sound system, sport seats and many other features. This top version also has a number of striking body details that identify it immediately.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.