Audi Q7

Audi to Bring Lighter, Slimmer Q7 SUV to 2015 Detroit Auto Show

December 15, 2014

One of the vehicles that will debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in January 12 is the 2016 Audi Q7. Audi recently revealed that the SUV to be unveiled in Detroit next month is much different from the current model. The upcoming three-row vehicle is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, yet offers more room for passengers.

The 2016 Q7 is slightly more compact. Audi made the new model a bit narrower and shorter in length, but about 0.1 inch higher compared to the current model. The SUV also features a wheelbase that it is 0.5 inch longer. Other changes in measurement are also subtle. For instance, the distance between the first and second rows was increased by 0.8 inch. The headroom in the front row rose by 1.6 inches while that in the second row added 0.9 inch.

What is not subtle is the difference in the Q7’s weight. Just like the 2015 Ford F-150, the SUV has been put on a diet and the result was 700 pounds of weight loss. In the case of the Q7, the weight loss was more than 700 pounds. The vehicle shed 716 pounds, with its body losing 157 pounds and its chassis dropping 221 pounds. The Q7 now weighs a little under 4,400 pounds, making it the lightest in its class. As everyone knows, a lighter vehicle is a more efficient vehicle, and Audi claims that this Q7 is 26 percent more efficient.

The secret to the slim down is no longer secret: Audi disclosed that high-strength aluminum and steel were used in the construction of the body. The Volkswagen AG-owned luxury brand said it used hot-shaped steel to create the backbone of what it called “the occupant cell.” It also used aluminum castings, extruded sections and panels in the front end, rear end and the superstructure.

Audi’s use of aluminum in some components were key in helping the new Q7 reduce weight. The company said that the doors, front fenders, engine hood and rear hatch were all made entirely of the material.

Two engines will be offered with the revamped crossover. One is a 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline TDI V6 engine that puts out 333 horsepower and the other is a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 engine rated for 272 horsepower. Both engine options will be mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Audi is launching the gasoline and diesel models of the Q7 first, and plans to follow these with the plug-in diesel hybrid variant. The automaker will open its order books for German customers in spring 2015 and the new Q7s will arrive in dealerships in Germany in summer 2015. The 2016 Audi Q7 starts at around 61,000 euros (approximately $76,000).

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