The current Audi Q7 has been one of the largest off-roaders in the business since it went on sale in 2006. The old Q7 won buyers thanks to its space for seven passengers and its mild off-roading ability, though its sheer size and weight meant it proved costly at the fuel pumps and unwieldy around twisty roads.
However, Audi claims to have addressed these issues with the new Q7, which has shed up to 325kg over its predecessor, meaning that fuel economy, performance figures and roadholding should all be improved over the older model. The new car also looks very different, having acquired sharper lines than the original Q7, which gives it the air of a supersized estate car, rather than a butch SUV.
The new Q7 will make its first appearance at January’s Detroit motor show, with the flagship SUV being set for sale in spring 2015. Only one engine will be available for buyers at launch – a 3.0-litre diesel motor, which produces a hefty 268bhp. This muscular diesel is capable of launching the Q7 to 62mph in a sports car-rivalling 6.3 seconds but still returns strong claimed fuel economy of 47.8mpg.
A lower-powered 3.0-litre diesel with 215bhp will also appear on the price list later in 2015, as will a plug-in hybrid model which should offer much lower fuel consumption and emissions. The Q7 range will all feature four-wheel drive as standard, as well as a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Audi is yet to reveal prices and specifications for the new model, though prices are predicted to start around £45,000 when order books open in spring, ahead of the first UK deliveries in summer.