Released in the 2007 model year in the U.S., the Audi Q7 initially came with a pair of engines: a 3.6-liter V-6 with 280 horsepower and a 4.2-liter V-8 with 350 horsepower. Now, as we head toward the 2016 model year, the folks at TopGear managed to convince a rep from Audi to spill the beans about the oft-rumored RS Q7, a high-output version of the large, fully redesigned SUV that will do battle with the X5 M and the Cayenne Turbo S.

The report is a little sketchy, as TG never identifies the source, but I hope it’s true. Just the thought of a lower-priced luxury-performance SUV coming in to undercut Bimmer is a great thing. Plus, the world is a better place with more Audi RS models.

But, will it actually happen?

Click past the jump to read my full review to find out what I think.

Note: Standard 2016 Audi Q7 pictured here.

  • 2017 Audi RS Q7
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    4 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    80000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

Though I am basing this on nothing but previous happenings and pulled-from-thin-air assumptions, I bet we’re going to see pretty much all the standard RS upgrades make it to the RS Q7. Things like a more-aggressive body kit, wide-open air intakes, an updated splitter, more pronounced side sills, big wheels shod in sticky rubber, an updated grille, and possibly a rear spoiler are all things that I expect to see.

Otherwise, look for the RS Q7 to retain all the looks of the current model, including the 715 pounds it recently lost. This dramatic drop in weight combined with a wild powerplant and a tight suspension should make the RS Q7 a hoot to drive.

Interior

On the inside, I expect to again see all the wild and crazy things that most RS models include. Look for things like a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara, sports seats wrapped in the same, tons of upgraded surfaces, a premium audio system, and LED lighting. The cabin will be a balance of all-out sports car and comfortable SUV.

Unlike many other RS models, however, I expect Audi not to make the RS Q7 too extreme. It is still going to cater to families, so it needs to have a "trustworthy" side.

Drivetrain

Drivetrain options are still a complete unknown, but TopGear’s source said it could be anything from a high-output TDI to a TFSI engine. One thing is for certain, and that is that it will not be a V-12 TDI, as TG’s source claims that would be too heavy for a sporty model like this.

The engine that seems to make the most sense is the 4.0-liter TFSI V-8 from the RS6 Avant, which cranks out 552 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. This is enough juice to get the wagon up to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and would likely get the large SUV to the same speed in just over four seconds. Audi may even retune the 4.0-liter to get even more power from it and keep the sprint time under four seconds.

Prices

Not knowing what Audi will do engine-wise makes pinpointing a price pretty tough. But if I had to stick a price on it, I would say the RS Q7 will start just shy of $80k, putting it well above the Prestige trims of the Q7.

Competition

BMW X5 M

2015 BMW X5 M Exterior
- image 579229

The BMW X5 M received a nice facelift for the 2015 model year. Along with that came a bump in power for its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, which now cranks out 567 horses and 553 pound-feet of the twisting stuff. This affords the Bimmer a 0-to-60 time of just four seconds, making it a half-second quicker than the previous X5 M.

In terms of the balance of luxury and performance, the Bimmer does an excellent job. It’s comfortable interior is just sporty enough, while not lacking in any features.

The X5 M will start at $96,650 .

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S High Resolution Exterior
- image 610560

Riding on the same platform as the Audi Q7 is one of the RS Q7’s possible rivals, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Under its hood is a 4.8-liter turbocharged V-8 that puts down 570 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. This might is routed through an eight-speed Tiptronc S transmission on its way to all four wheels. This powertrain gets the SUV to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.

On top of being super-fast, the Cayenne Turbo S is Porsche tuned, therefore it is a beast in the twisties. However, all of that comes at a price of $157,300. But that also nets you one of the most fantastic cabins you can buy in the entire SUV realm.

Conclusion

The very thought of another performance SUV sends chills down my spine, as there is little that can beat a massive family hauler with a sub-four-second 0-to-60 time. I think that the market is ripe for the RS Q5, considering the fact that Audi typically undercuts the competition by thousands of dollars. However, if the RS Q7 does end up with a diesel engine, do not expect it to make it to the U.S. for some time.

  • Leave it
    • May be a tad too understated for many RS shoppers
    • Could be tough to get here in the U.S.

Source: TopGear

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