The Audi Q7 brings the new design language of the Audi brand to the premium SUV segment. Its elegant styling represents power and presence and relays its dynamism and sportiness. Flowing forms create a body of moving surfaces, which appears sculpture-like even when standing still.
The Audi Q7 is a new breed of SUV. The first representatives of this vehicle category were angular beasts with a strictly off-road character. These were followed by the first premium SUVs, with a design clearly oriented towards on-road capabilities. In contrast, the Audi Q7 is a third-generation performance SUV. It combines the best features from both worlds and reflects this in its design. Its exterior is as much a reflection of superior sportiness as it is of the robustness required of a powerful off-roader.
A strong personality such as the Audi Q7 convinces with its attention to detail. The front is dominated by the striking, practically vertical single-frame grille – a clear indication of the powerful engine installed behind. With its slim chrome frame and rib structure, the grille has a marked three-dimensional effect – the horizontal ribs protrude slightly to emphasize the horizontal lines, the vertical lines are set back slightly. On either side of the grille, wide headlights reach far into the fender, their light tubes visible behind clear-glass covers. In addition to the standard halogen lights, Bi-Xenon headlights and the dynamic cornering adaptive light are available.
The engine compartment lid has a distinctive V-shape to underline the sporty character of the Audi Q7, whereas the dominant shape of the bumper emphasises its robustness and stability. The lower section is color-contrasted. This visual differentiation – further accentuated by the contrasting paintwork option – clearly highlights the versatility of the vehicle. The Audi Q7 looks powerful and long: with regard to its ratio of length to width to height it boasts the sportiest proportions in its class. These proportions are harmonious and at the same time striking. High side panels lend the vehicle body a muscular appearance, contrasting with the flat sporty window area.
The free-flowing surfaces create the impression of a sculpture. Broad curves and seams intensify
this effect as does the play of light and shade on the concave and convex surfaces. The elegant dynamic line running above the wheel arches and the strong high shoulder section lend the design an athletic character.
The Audi Q7 sets new trends through its design alone. Characteristic Audi styling is reflected in the broad curve of the roof and the distinctive high body surface in relation to the flat window area. The dynamic sweep of the front section and the powerful rear end with its sharply sloping D-posts fashion a coupé-like silhouette. Equally typical of the current Audi design language are the shoulder line and dynamic line, which define the side section. The paintwork of two contrasting body colors creates a striking look and is standard on the Q7 V8 and optional on the V6 model.
Seen from the front, the single-frame grille and the wide headlight units with visible light tubes behind clear-glass covers identify the Q7 as a latest-generation Audi model. The V-shape of the engine compartment lid sets a dynamic, pioneering trend in front design – a clear indication of the power of each of the available engines. Typical for a vehicle with the genes of an off-roader are the high ground clearance of 7.9 inches or 200 millimeters (with steel-spring suspension) and the 18-inch wheels (up to 20-inch on request) in the striking, broad curve of the wheel arches.
Offroad capability is also enhanced by a distinctly short overhang at the front and the sturdy underride protection at the front and rear. Clear architecture and ergonomic design, combined with the finest materials and excellent craftsmanship: these are the first and lasting impressions conveyed by the interior of Audi’s first SUV. The feeling of generous spaciousness from every seat is due in no small measure to the colors chosen for the materials. Large surfaces in the same color and material dominate. In addition to aluminum and high-quality plastic, three different wood options are available for the horizontal trims in the instrument panel and doors.
This ambience serves to reveal the vehicle’s kinship with the Audi A6 and A8 sedans. The styling of the controls was clearly inspired by the interior of the A6, as was the driving area with teardrop-shaped frames for the instruments. The driver-integrating cockpit with the MMI multimedia interface impresses with the ergonomic qualities of Audi’s current interior design. Broadly curved and encompassing the upper part of the center console, the controls and switches form a central operating and information unit designed with the driver in mind.
The dimensions of the Audi Q7 are not its only impressive feature – its spacious body is extremely rigid, robust and safe. State-of-the-art restraint systems help protect passengers in the event of an accident.
The Audi Q7 is a vehicle of prestigious proportions even in the premium SUV category. It is 200.2 inches long and has a wheelbase of 118.2 in. – figures that put it ahead of the competition. The width of 78.1 in. and the height of 68.4 in. (with steel chassis) are an indication of the superb spaciousness offered by the interior.
A primary development goal was to achieve maximum static and dynamic rigidity for the unitized body. Audi engineers have accomplished this with an elaborate lightweight steel construction. 26% of all components are of high-strength steel and 32% are even made of the very high and ultra-high-strength varieties. In some areas such as the floor cover, ultra-modern tailored blanks are used, the various strengths of which are created in the rolling process. Six percent of the body components are made of aluminum – these are the fenders, the engine compartment lid and the tailgate. Compared with conventional components made of steel panels, Audi has achieved a weight saving of 48.4 lbs. In order to produce this unusually flowing design for the tailgate the expertise in lightweight aluminum construction – developed by the brand over many years – was required. The aluminum tailgate alone reduced the weight by around 16.5 lbs., another advantage of this being that the customer requires less force to open and close it. With the V8 engine the Audi Q7 weighs in at 5,269 lbs.
The interior of the Audi Q7 is sporty and at the same time elegantly functional. The uncompromising quality standards of the brand are to be found once again in the Audi Q7 performance SUV, combined with a level of practicality and versatility that sets standards. Clear architecture and the finest materials and craftsmanship throughout: these are the lasting impressions conveyed by the interior of the Audi Q7. The elegant forms and the high-quality surfaces are both robust and luxurious. The instrument panel is covered as standard in a soft skin, pleasing to the eye and to the touch. Typical for an Audi, the gaps are exceptionally even and narrow. In respect of the visual impression, calm surfaces in the same material and color dominate, accommodating the functional units which are embedded like islands. The cockpit is color-contrasted with the instrument panel; the top is in black or beige and the armrests in the doors are trimmed in Cricket leather (optional).
The Audi Q7 is available on its debut with a 4.2-liter V8 FSI engine. A 3.6-liter V6 FSI engine will follow in the second half of 2006. Typically for Audi, both power plants work with performance-enhancing, efficient direct-injection technologies. The engines of the new Audi Q7 deliver a level of performance promised by the vehicle’s powerful outward appearance. Torques of up to 325 ft.-lbs. delivers superior tractive power in all speed ranges.
With a displacement of 4,163 cc, the V8 is a close relative of the engine used in the new Audi RS 4. In the Audi Q7, in line with the character of the performance SUV, it develops 350 bhp at 6,800 rpm. But its torque curve is even beefier than in the RS 4: it achieves 325 lbs.-ft. (440 Nm). This power output is the best in its class and is available at 3,500 rpm – 85 percent is unleashed from as low as 2000 rpm. The engine has a sonorous tone and is highly cultivated throughout the entire speed range.
The powerful V8 belongs to the present V engine family of the brand, notable for a 90° cylinder angle and a distance of 3.5 in. between cylinders. A maintenance-friendly twostage chain drive system, comprising three single roller chains, activates the four camshafts; it is located at the rear of the engine to save space. A fourth chain drives the ancillaries.
The cylinder housing of the V8 engine is cast from an aluminum-silicon alloy; the pistons and rings glide in the liners on the hard silicon crystals. Separate liner inserts are not necessary: this permits a narrow bridge width of only 5.5 millimetres and saves weight accordingly. Modifications to the sump and the oil pump ensure adequate lubrication even on challenging terrain – in a similar form, these measures will also benefit other engines in the Audi Q7.
The V8 draws its fuel through a newly designed two-stage variable intake manifold made of magnesium. Electric motors control the manifold length and tumble, and therefore the charge movement, by means of flaps. Two high-pressure pumps, driven by the intake camshafts, deliver the fuel to two interconnected chambers made of stainless steel. One of the most modern engine management systems on the world market controls the whole process – the Motronic
Like the engine in the RS 4, the V8 in the Audi Q7 uses FSI direct gasoline injection technology. Here the fuel is not delivered to the intake manifold but injected directly into the combustion chamber, where an even air/fuel mixture to the value of lambda 1 is produced. Thanks to the cooling effect of the directly injected fuel, Audi’s development engineers have at the same time been able to increase the engine’s compression ratio.
The result is a more efficient combustion process and consequently greater power output – this is demonstrated most effectively by the spontaneous response. FSI engines deliver more power than the conventional power plant with manifold injection – and they do so with outstanding fuel economy. A significant strong point of the V8 FSI is demonstrated in the frequently used part-load range, where it uses five to seven percent less fuel than an engine with manifold injection.
The figures confirm the impressive power potential of the eight-cylinder engine. The performance SUV with the V8 sprints from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 7.0 seconds. Top speed is limited to 130 mph.
The V6 engine available in the second half of 2006 will have a displacement of 3.6 liters. It is derived from the six-cylinder engine that powers the top versions of the Audi A3 and the TT. By enlarging the bore, displacement has increased from 3,189 cc to 3,597 cc. Its torque is available across a wide range: 265 lbs.-ft. (360 Nm) from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. With a power output of 280 bhp at 6,200 rpm, the V6 represents yet another impressive power pack for the performance SUV.
With an included angle between cylinder banks of 10.6 degrees the V6 is unusually compact. Its engine block is fashioned from grey cast iron; the valves are actuated by low-friction roller cam follows with hydraulic clearance adjustment. Intake and exhaust camshafts, which are chain-driven, are continuously adjustable to reduce emissions and further improve fuel economy. The variable intake manifold also contributes towards an improvement in cylinder charging. Like the V8, the V6 uses FSI, the direct injection technology developed by Audi engineers, which enhances performance and efficiency. The performance figures are correspondingly impressive: the Audi Q7 3.6 FSI accelerates from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 8.2 seconds; its top speed is limited to 130 mph.
To optimally convert the high performance of the engines into forward propulsion, the Audi Q7 4.2 FSI and 3.6 FSI have the tiptronic automatic transmission on board as standard. Depending on the engine version, two technically different versions are employed, both of which have the same dynamic character.
The six gears of the tiptronic are wide-spaced and ideally exploit the torque potential of the engines – on the road and on difficult terrain, where the torque converter with its damping action and torque multiplication is particularly well suited for driving off; it also replaces a reduction gear.
Thanks to its enormous efficiency and ability to transmit up to 553 lbs.-ft. (750 Nm) of torque, the tiptronic is perfectly equipped for any situation. Typically for Audi, it is compact and light – the version for the V6 3.6 FSI weighs only 176 lbs. Transmission management is taken care of by the dynamic shift program DSP. It adapts to suit the individual style of the driver and the prevailing road conditions and responds to any changes. DSP controls a wide range; the shifts are precise, spontaneous, fast and smooth.
The dynamic suspension of the Audi Q7 uses sports technologies such as double wishbone suspension all round. At the same time, long spring travel, a ground clearance of 8.1-in. and robust components take into account the demands of off-road driving. In respect of dynamism, the driving performance of the Audi Q7 bears any comparison; and in terms of driving safety, it also sets the benchmark – on the road and on rough terrain. In addition to the standard steel chassis, adaptive air suspension is available. The Audi Q7 is a classic illustration of Audi’s claim to offer optimum technical solutions in every model. As a performance SUV it harmoniously combines excellent driving comfort with a level of dynamism that is quite new for this category of vehicle. Even the slightly tail-heavy axle load distribution of 42:58 percent between front and rear is a clear sign of its agile nature.
Audi supplies the Q7 with a conventional steel-spring suspension and hydraulic twin-tube shock absorbers as standard. Ground clearance here is around 8.1-in. to ensure good offroad handling. Spring travel is correspondingly long and comfortable. The long wheelbase of 118.2 in. guarantees straight-line stability at high speeds.
The Audi Q7 will be introduced in North America with a 4.2 liter 350 horsepower V8 FSI engine. This V8 is a close relative of the equally large power plant that will drive the most dynamic Audi in the near future, the RS 4. Like the RS 4 engine, the V8 in the Q7 has FSI direct injection, which – following five victories in the Audi R8 Le Mans racing car – is now being introduced in a production eight-cylinder model.
FSI engines deliver more power and dynamism than the conventional power plant with manifold injection – and they do so with outstanding fuel economy. With this remarkable achievement, Audi is opening up a new dimension in the efficiency of standard petrol engines, demonstrating once again the brand’s proverbial “Vorsprung durch Technik”.
The V8 has been retuned for use in the Audi Q7. A fuller torque curve up to nominal speed and spontaneous response – these are the characteristics of this new engine. The engine excels not only with its dominant power output (350 hp) at 6,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 324.5 lb. ft. at 3,500 rpm. The resultant driving performance is excellent, even in the face of tough competition. In just 7.4 seconds the new 4.2 quattro variant of the Audi SUV sprints from zero to 60 mph and accelerates superbly up to a top speed of 154 mph. (European times, North American times not yet available).
The V8 will be joined by a 3.6 FSI V6 version in September which will generate 280 hp.