The new Audi Q7 is 325Kg lighter, 26 per cent more efficient, and it boasts the first diesel plug-in hybrid with quattro drive, capable of an official 166mpg.
Despite losing 325Kg, the new Audi Q7 3.0 TDI still has a kerb weight of 1,995Kg.
At launch, UK models will be powered exclusively by a 272PS 3.0 V6 TDI engine. This can return up to 47.8mpg, corresponding to 153 g/km CO2 (up to 50g/km CO2 less than the outgoing model), and is capable of a 0 to 62mph time of 6.3 seconds. A 3.0 V6 TDI with 218PS will follow in late 2015.
The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, which will be launched soon after the conventional diesel-engined models, is the first plug-in hybrid from Audi with a six-cylinder diesel engine. It has 373PS of system output and a system torque of 700 Nm, and is also the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid with quattro all-wheel drive in the premium SUV segment. It returns the equivalent of up to 166.1mpg, which corresponds to less than 50g/km CO2. A full battery charge is sufficient for a driving distance of just under 35 miles.
Lightweight construction has been applied in all areas, from the electrical system to the luggage compartment floor. The key is the body structure, where a new multimaterial design reduces its weight by 71 kilograms.
In the new Audi Q7, a newly developed, eight-speed tiptronic transfers the engine’s power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. The torque converter transmission shifts gears smoothly and is very efficient. It offers a free-wheeling function when the driver steps off the accelerator. A new vapourisation system enables the engine to run at extremely slow speeds below 1,000 rpm.
Besides automatic mode, the driver can also choose to control the tiptronic using the standard paddles on the steering wheel or via a selector lever. In both cases, the commands are transmitted purely electrically (by wire).
The self-locking centre differential – the heart of the quattro all-wheel drive system – is integrated into the housing of the eight-speed tiptronic. It is significantly lighter and more compact than the transfer case of the previous model, and with its optimised locking rates provides for outstanding traction and handling. Under normal driving conditions, the centre differential distributes the power between the front and rear axle in a 40:60 ratio. If the wheels of one axle lose grip, it can extremely quickly transfer as much as 70 percent of the power to the front and a maximum of 85 percent to the rear.
All-wheel steering is also an option. A steering system with an electric spindle drive turns the rear wheels inward by as much as five degrees depending on the situation. At low speeds they steer opposite the front wheels, which significantly increases vehicle agility and reduces the turning radius by up to one metre. At higher speeds the rear wheels follow the movement of the front wheels. This further optimises steering response, and vehicle stability is further enhanced in avoidance situations.