SIGNIFICANTLY lighter, considerably more efficient, more technologically accomplished – this is the all-new Audi Q7 in a nutshell.
The imposing new SUV, which has shed up to 325kg in its second generation, will become available to order in the UK next month priced from £50,340 for the SE model to £53,835 for the S line – it will reach its first customers here in August.
The promise of greater things in the successor to the model which has found more than 510,000 homes worldwide since its 2006 launch begins at surface level.
A full body-colour paint finish is now standard, and the large 3D single-frame grille dominating the front of the car is flanked by double-arrow design Xenon-plus headlights with LED daytime running lights in SE models or all-weather LED units in the S line.
New design alloy wheels with a 19-inch diameter are part of the SE specification, while S line upgrades to a 20-inch wheel.
Powered tailgate operation is also part of the package for both versions.
Inside the cabin, which in UK specification models features three rows of seats upholstered in supple Twin leather, headroom has increased for both front and second-row passengers.
The second seating row now benefits from a tilt and fold function, and when the two seats in the third row aren’t being used, they can now be more easily folded away to make room for luggage thanks to a new powered folding mechanism.
A total of 770 litres of luggage space is available when seven passengers are on board, or up to 1,955 litres if only the front seats are occupied.
Up in the front row, the latest MMI navigation plus with MMI Touch brings a wealth of media within easy reach with a large touchpad and ultra-clear 8.3-inch electrically retractable monitor.
Trial access to Audi connect, which brings internet-based services to the car via a fast 4G connection and creates a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, is also included.
In the Q7, the Audi connect portfolio will also gain a sophisticated new element later in 2015. The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto on board. If an iOS or Android cellular phone is connected to the USB port, the respective environment opens in the Audi smartphone interface.
The heart of this feature is online music. In addition, both platforms offer navigation functions, missed call/appointment reminders and messaging functions.
Other features common to the two specification levels include the MMI radio plus incorporating a DAB module linked to the 10-speaker sound system; electrically-operated and heated front seats; cruise control; light and rain sensors; Audi parking system plus with front and rear visual and acoustic guidance; hill descent control; and keyless go.
In addition to larger wheels, LED headlights and exclusive sports body styling, S line models also upgrade with features such as front sports seats upholstered in pearl Nappa leather/Alcantara, privacy glass and deluxe four-zone climate control.
The list of attractive technology options available for UK versions of the new Q7 will include the Audi virtual cockpit, which replaces the analogue dials in the binnacle with a 12.3-inch TFT display that presents tack-sharp, painstakingly rendered graphics.
Two high quality audio systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen will also be available, both delivering remarkable 3D sound.
For rear-seat passengers the Audi tablet will also be offered in the longer term. Connected to the MMI navigation plus via WiFi, the detachable computer offers access to the radio, media, navigation and car functions, and through its Android operating system will also be a hub for games, movies, music, eBooks and much more.
The physical car into which all this technology is slickly integrated is no less advanced.
Precious kilograms have been saved in every area from the suspension and drivetrain components to the body panels.
Powering the new Q7 from launch is an EU6-compliant 3.0 TDI engine producing 272 PS and 600Nm of torque, in combination with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission with a fuel-saving freewheeling function, and quattro all-wheel drive.
From rest, 62mph takes a mere 6.5 seconds, with a top speed of 145mph. CO2 emissions are rated at 153g/km, based on a combined fuel consumption figure of 47.9mpg.
The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system enables the driver to alter their operating characteristics across five driving modes – auto, comfort, efficiency, dynamic or individual.
In addition to the hill-hold assist function incorporated into the electronic handbrake and the hill-descent control program, the protective systems fitted as standard also includes pre-sense city.
At lower speeds, pre-sense city warns the driver of impending collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and will initiate heavy braking in an emergency.
Numerous innovative driver assistance systems are also available, including an evolution of adaptive cruise control with stop & go incorporating a traffic jam assistant that can take over steering duties on marked roads if traffic is moving at below 37mph.
In collaboration with adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition, the system adapts the preselected speed to the route and the speed limits.