The huge weight saving – equal to a third of a Toyota Aygo – sees kerbweight of the best-selling 3.0 TDI drop beneath the two-tonne barrier.
Rather modestly, Prof. Dr Ulrich Hackenberg calls it “a statement of our competence in lightweight construction efficiency”.
It’s a multimaterial construction mix, including a 41 per cent aluminium body, that’s helped Audi make such big weight savings, although it has eschewed the full aluminium construction arch-rival Land Rover’s Range Rover employs.
Like the Range Rover, the new Q7 remains a big car: 5.05 metres long, 1.97 metres wide and 1.74 metres tall. Remarkably, this is a little shorter and narrower than the outgoing car, although the cabin is bigger and it has more headroom.
Audi reckons it’s the roomiest seven-seat SUV on the market.
Design ‘a homage to Quattro’
The interior provides the first glimpse of the cleaner, more minimalist design that’s set to characterise future Audis; fully digital instruments as first seen in the new TT feature and the ambient lighting is some of the most intricate we’ve yet seen.
A new Audi single frame grille design is the headline styling feature. It sits deep within the front structure and the chrome surround stands out prominently.
Audi’s ‘double arrow’ LED running light design is also striking; buyers can choose either xenon, LED or Matrix LED headlights.
Otherwise, it’s a clear evolution of the original Q7, although the blistered rear wheelarches look interesting – a homage of the original Quattro, reckons Audi.
Two engines from launch
Engines are, from launch, limited to two units for the European market. The best-selling 3.0-litre TDI will boast 272hp and 442b ft of torque, for 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 145mph.
It’s much more economical, averaging 47.8mpg and emitting as little as 153g/km CO2.
There’s also a 3.0-litre TFSI petrol, producing 333hp, 324lb ft and topping out at 155mph after reaching 62mph from rest in 6.1 seconds. It’s not as economical though: average economy is 36.6mpg.
An even greener 218hp 3.0 TDI is planned for later, although Europe won’t get the 252hp 2.0-litre TFSI.
Audi is promising a real innovation later on though – the new Q7 e-tron quattro, Audi’s first plug-in hybrid. This pairs a six-cylinder 3.0 TDI diesel engine with a plug-in electric drive system, for 373hp, 516b ft yet 166mpg and 50g/km CO2. It can also travel nearly 35 miles on battery power alone.
Green here doesn’t mean slow either: 0-62mph takes 6.0 seconds and it will do 139mph.
The new Audi Q7 will make its public debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2015; UK dealer deliveries will begin in the summer.