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Audi Q7 SUV
Luxury meets sports on and... off-road

Audi Q7 will be available with seating for five or seven-passengers.

AutoPressNews,
17th October 2005.

It will be known as an SUV, a Sports Utility Vehicle, or a "light truck", according to the North American classification of minivans, SUVs and pickups.

But the "truck" story ends right here, for the new Audi Q7 is a car-based crossover (unitary body), born from the common, yet heavily-modified platform already known in different shapes and dimensions in the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.

With a technical brother called Cayenne, where can the "truck" label fit anyway?

VW insists on the structural differences between the five-passengers Touareg / Cayenne brothers, and the 7-passengers Q7. After all, with the 5 or 7-passengers Q7 choices, Audi leaves a space for its smaller Q5 SUV which should follow (in 2007) the Q7 first deliveries in the first quarter of 2006.

The Q7 is meant to combine sportiness, versatility, high automotive technology, quattro all-wheel-drive... with the luxury expected from a model which prices start from € 48,900 (in Germany) for the Q7 3.0 TDI.

A wheelbase of no less than 3,002 mm.

Typical for a vehicle with the genes of an off-roader are the high ground clearance of 200 millimetres (with steel-spring suspension) and the 18-inch wheels (up to 20-inch on request) in the broad curve of the wheel arches. Off-road capability is also enhanced by a distinctly short overhang at the front and the sturdy underride protection at the front and rear.

Inside, large surfaces in the same colour and material dominate, accommodating the functional units which are embedded like islands. In addition to aluminium and high-quality plastic, three different wood options are available for the horizontal trims in the instrument panel and doors.

The seats in the Q7 are of a new design promising comfort on long journeys. Depending on the configuration chosen, up to seven people can be accommodated in three rows of seats. The middle seat row can be adjusted forward and back by up to 100 millimetres.

The styling of the controls was inspired by the interior of the A6, as was the driving area with teardrop-shaped frames for the instruments. Numerous storage compartments and up to six cup holders enhance traveling comfort for every passenger. The door pockets are fitted with brackets that will even take 1.5-litre bottles.

Audi luxury and dynamism in an off-road packaging.

The Q7 is equipped as standard with backrest angle adjustment over three seats in the second row and a load-through hatch with ski bag. As an alternative, two comfort seats can be ordered for the second row in conjunction with a large centre console. Here, under the fold-up, adjustable centre armrest is a large storage compartment; two cup holders provide an additional stowage option.

In addition, a third seat row can be ordered for the Q7, which can accommodate passengers up to 1.60 m tall, with an easy-entry feature for the rear seats.

The seats in the second and third row can be folded flat, providing – along with up to 28 different loading configurations – a load area with a maximum volume of 2,035 litres, without the seats having to be removed.

If the third seat row is omitted the Q7 has a load area of 775 litres – the best in its class. Even if all three seat rows are in use, a load capacity of 330 litres remains.

The broad tailgate of the Q7 can be operated electrically if desired. The load area comes with numerous types of fastening and securing elements.

Another useful convenience feature is the trailer hitch with detachable, electrically controlled ball end, which is user-friendly and easy to operate if required.

Body and safety - In contrast to earlier SUV generations that were based on a ladder-type chassis frame in the tradition of an all-terrain vehicle, the Audi Q7 has a self-supporting body of lightweight steel construction. The drag coefficient of only 0.34 is evidence of the aerodynamic qualities of the lines.

The Audi Q7 is equipped as standard with two full-size front airbag (two different deployment levels depending on accident severity), side airbags at the front as well as the sideguard head-protection airbag system, which virtually covers the entire side window area up to the third seat row.

The middle seat row can be adjusted by up to 100 millimetres.

Powertrain - Two power plants are available for the debut of the Q7: a new 4.2 litre V8 with FSI direct petrol injection and the 3.0 TDI with common rail system using piezo inline injectors. Other engines will be added to the range.

The V8 is a close relative of the power plant of the Audi RS 4. It has a 90° cylinder angle, a distance of 90 millimetres between cylinders, and four camshafts activated by a two-stage chain drive system at the rear of the engine.

Like the RS 4 engine, the V8 in the Q7 has FSI direct petrol injection, which – following five victories in the Audi R8 Le Mans racing car – is now being introduced in a production eight-cylinder model.

FSI engines deliver more power and dynamism than the conventional power plant with manifold (indirect) injection – and they do so with better fuel economy.

The V8 has been retuned for use in the Audi Q7. A fuller torque curve up to nominal speed and spontaneous response – these are the characteristics of this new engine.

The seats in the second and third row can be folded flat, providing – along with up to 28 different loading configurations – a load area with a maximum volume of 2,035 litres, without the seats having to be removed.

Output reaches 257 kW/350 bhp at 6,800 rpm, with a maximum torque of 440 Nm at 3,500 rpm. In just 7.4 seconds the new Audi Q7 4.2 quattro sprints from zero to 100 km/h and accelerates up to a top speed of 248 km/h. Fuel consumption: 13.8 litres of premium plus fuel per 100 kilometres (overall / provisional figure).

The six-cylinder 3.0 TDI offers 233 bhp and 500 Newton-metres. Maximum torque is available just above idle speed, from 1,400 rpm – giving the driver powerful acceleration in all speed ranges.

Despite having a torque-converter transmission, the speedometer needle passes the 100 km/h mark 9.1 seconds after driving off; the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro goes on to reach a top speed of 216 kilometres per hour.

Fuel consumption: 10.4 litres of diesel (provisional figure) on average per 100 kilometres. This equates to a range of almost 1,000 kilometres. The Q7 3.0 TDI quattro is fitted as standard with a diesel particulate filter.

The V6 four-valve engine with turbocharger technology and map-controlled, cooled exhaust gas recirculation also belongs to Audi’s new family of V engines and features a chain drive for camshafts and oil pump.

Mixture preparation is performed by a latest-generation common rail system. It has a high-pressure pump and an injection rail for each cylinder bank, increasing maximum injection pressure to 1,600 bar. The high injection pressure ensures even finer atomisation of the fuel and therefore better mixture preparation and more efficient combustion.

The piezo injectors are the most important innovation of the present common rail system. The injection process utilises the piezo effect: an electric voltage is applied to ceramic, altering its crystal structures. The minimal expansion resulting from this – supported by a hydraulic element – mechanically triggers the opening of the injector needle.

With piezo injectors, the number of injection processes per cycle can be varied almost at will. The Audi TDI development engineers have opted for up to five injection processes for the 3.0 V6: in addition to the main injection process, double pilot injection takes places in the lower speed range and single pilot injection takes places in the medium range. In addition to this, simple post-injection takes place up to around 2,500 rpm and under partial load.

This strategy ensures both a reduction in emissions and a smoother combustion process – which primarily benefits the engine’s acoustic behaviour. In this area the 3.0 TDI engine undeniably sets the benchmark in its class.

Gearbox - Both engines are combined as standard with a 6-speed tiptronic. This transmission allows the engines’ power potential to be converted into a masterly synthesis of dynamism and operating convenience.

New quattro generation - A typical feature of all high-performance Audi vehicles is quattro permanent four-wheel drive – a drive principle that is now celebrating 25 years of success with more than two million Audi quattro models sold so far.

A Torsen differential in the new Audi Q7 – with its longitudinally installed engines – automatically ensures optimum power distribution to all four wheels. The name Torsen is a combination of the terms “torque” and “sensing”. The Torsen differential is a self-locking worm gear.

Like the RS 4 most recently, the Q7 is equipped with the latest-generation quattro drive technology. Here the torque split between front and rear axle is 40 : 60. This provides the basis for even more agility – most notably when steering into bends – with practically no perceivable torque steer.

Suspension - Suspension comes with double wishbones at the front and rear as well as standard steel springs and twin-tube shock absorbers. Long spring travel and a ground clearance of 205 millimetres take into account the application spectrum of off-road driving.

The double wishbones at the front axle are made of aluminium, reducing unsprung masses for better ride comfort and driving dynamics. The lower wishbone and anti-roll bar are attached to a subframe of high-strength steel, on which the steering is mounted.

All Q7 models are equipped as standard with speed-dependent servotronic steering. This helps the driver to manoeuvre in or out of a parking space with minimum steering effort, and its directness and precision ensure good road contact and clear feedback at high speeds.

At the rear axle, the upper wishbone and the spring strut cross bar are made of forged aluminium. The tie bar on the other hand is made of weight-optimised tailored rolled blanks, which thanks to steel plates of varying thickness combine low weight with high rigidity for sections under particular loads and strain. All control arms are attached to a subframe which also supports the final drive. The tilted position of the spring and shock absorber unit reduces overall height and creates more room in the vehicle interior.

The Audi Q7 is fitted with 18-inch aluminium wheels as standard, with 235/60 tyres (eight-cylinder: 255/55). As an alternative, other wheels (sizes 18, 19 and 20-inch) can be ordered on request. An optical highlight is the new 20-inch 5-arm double-spoke cast aluminium wheel with the bicolor design. If the Q7 is configured as a 5-seater with 18-inch wheels, a full-size spare wheel is available.

MMI display with the adaptive air suspension settings.

Adaptive air suspension option - The latest-generation adaptive air suspension is available as an option, with a combination of air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system. Ground clearance becomes variable between the minimum dynamic level of 165 mm and a maximum of 240 mm (lift mode).

For normal driving, a choice of three different characteristics can be selected via the central multimedia interface (MMI) control panel, ranging from very sporty to comfortable, namely dynamic, automatic and comfort. The system control unit varies the spring and damping characteristics according to the mode selected and vehicle speed.

In parallel with this, the trim is lowered by up to 35 millimetres (dynamic mode at high speeds), optimising drag and lateral dynamics at the same time.

Driving dynamics also benefit from the dynamic roll stabilisation function of the adaptive air suspension system – an innovation in the Q7: the system actively responds to steering movements and thus counteracts body roll.

In addition, the driver can activate two additional modes off-road: 25 millimetres higher than at normal level, the Audi Q7 can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h in the off-road mode. In lift mode, with 60 millimetres of extra ground clearance (absolute value 240 mm), even major obstacles can be negotiated. The automatic function’s control mechanism intervenes to lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity to achieve ride comfort and driving dynamics at higher speeds.

A new feature in the Q7 is the facility to lower the body at the touch of a button via the rear axle only. The loading lip is lowered significantly, making it much easier to load items into the luggage area.

The fully-supporting air springs at the front and rear axle keep the body level constant, regardless of the load situation. Added to this is a quality specific to this air suspension concept: the occupants benefit from a smooth ride at all times, regardless of the load the vehicle is carrying. The firmness of the springs always adapts to the weight of the vehicle.

All driving modes and height levels can be read off the MMI screen. The ride height also appears in the central driver information display.

New ESP generation - All Audi Q7 models are equipped with a latest-generation electronic stabilisation program. This includes the antilock brake system ABS with electronic brake force distribution EBD and hydraulic brake assist which automatically increases brake power when the driver applies the brakes in an emergency. The traction control system ASR and the electronic differential lock EDL, in conjunction with yaw control, form the basis of the ESP safety concept.

Important for other road users: if the driver brakes hard in extreme situations the ESP warns following traffic accordingly by switching on the hazard warning lights. If the driver activates the off-road mode with the ESP button, the traction of the Q7 is substantially enhanced by means of modified control settings.

Also important – particularly for off-road operation, is the hill descent assist feature. It automatically keeps the speed constant when driving slowly on steep downhill stretches, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering the vehicle. The roll stability program (RSP) intervenes during critical driving manoeuvres that could cause the vehicle to overturn and takes the necessary corrective braking action.

Large vehicles are not infrequently used to tow trailers – with a trailer weight of up to 3,500 kg the Q7 is clearly destined to be used this way.

With this is mind, another function is an indispensable safety feature – the trailer stabilisation system. Often at cruising speed, and even when driving straight ahead, minor lateral movements build up, causing the trailer to sway dangerously as a result. The ESP trailer stabilisation function identifies this situation and effectively stabilises the outfit by means of automatic brake intervention.

Equipment - A new generation of the radar-assisted distance control system, adaptive cruise control plus, is being introduced in the new Audi Q7. As an extension of conventional adaptive cruise control, the system now controls distance and speed from 0 to 200 km/h. It is therefore able to brake the vehicle to a standstill behind the vehicle ahead. The benefits of this sensitive control function – particularly in slow-moving traffic – are quite clear.

The sensor for the system is located out of sight behind the license plate trim. By taking continuous differential measurements it determines whether distance and speed in relation to the car in front have changed, and adjusts the vehicle’s own speed by manipulating the accelerator or brakes accordingly.

In addition, the driver can alter vehicle acceleration and control response via the MMI, opting either for a dynamic or more comfort-oriented emphasis.

The collision warning system is being introduced for the first time on the Q7. It uses the sensors of the adaptive cruise control function and has a range of up to 180 metres. If there is the risk of a collision with the car in front, the system alerts the driver in two stages: first a warning tone is issued, with an optical signal appearing on the instrument panel at the same time. If the driver does not react, the system triggers a clearly noticeable warning jolt, produced by a fast build-up of pressure in the brake system. The purpose of the jolt is to draw the driver’s attention immediately to what is happening on the road in front of the vehicle.

Audi side assist - Incorporating radar sensors, Audi side assist monitors the area next to and behind the vehicle to warn the driver – additionally to the image in the rear-view mirror – of any approaching vehicles. The driver is alerted by a warning light on the outside mirror, followed by an additional acoustic signal should he/she nevertheless switch on the direction indicator.

The sensors have a range behind the vehicle of 50 metres and have also been designed to monitor the blind spot next to the vehicle. The system can be switched on and off at the touch of a button and operates from a speed of 60 km/h. Audi side assist does not intervene in the driving and control functions.

MMI and Infotainment - Already established in the Audi A8 and A6, the integrated MMI, (multi-media interface) in the new Audi Q7 brings the infotainment platform with its reputed ease of operation, perfect positioning and consistent inherent operating logic.

The Audi MMI system is reputed for its logical interface and simple use.

The system is available in three configurations: the standard MMI basic, the MMI basic plus and the MMI.

MMI basic - The standard version of the Q7 is equipped with MMI basic comprising a terminal, monochrome display as well as an integrated radio and single-disc CD player. Music output is via a 4x20-Watt amplifier and four speakers in the doors. As well as the radio system and broadcasting of traffic information, numerous vehicle functions such as the air conditioning and interior light configuration can be controlled by the MMI basic.

MMI basic plus - the optional MMI basic plus offers additional functions such as TP memory, a digital sound system with a total of 11 speakers and a CD-based navigation system.

MMI - In the optional version with the full range of features, the MMI comes with a 7‑inch colour monitor, a double tuner and a 6-disc CD changer. On request the MMI can be rounded off with a DVD navigation system.

A further extra, which can be combined with the MMI and the MMI basic plus, is the all-new BOSE surround sound system.

Cornering lights - Already featured on the A8 and A6, the combination of the dynamic cornering light system adaptive light, energy-saving daytime running lights and xenon plus technology are optionally available with the Q7.

The headlights of the new Q7 are available in three versions: standard free-form halogen lights, xenon plus lights with daytime running lights or additionally in conjunction with adaptive light dynamic cornering lights. The ellipsoidal module for dipped and main-beam headlights swivels according to the angle of each road and bend. This distinctly improves illumination of the road in the direction of travel and of the side area, making predictive driving even simpler.

Parking assistance - Three parking assistance systems are available as options on the Audi Q7. The Audi parking system aids the driver when approaching obstacles, using four sensors at the rear and an acoustic warning signal. The parking system plus monitors both front and rear areas around the vehicle and alerts the driver to a potential collision during parking manoeuvres also by means of a bar chart in the MMI display.

In addition to these options, the Audi parking system advanced features a rear-view camera; the images captured appear on the MMI screen. Parking lines projected on to the camera image provide extra support for the driver when manoeuvring into parking spaces. Audi is introducing this option in its program for the production launch of the Q7.

Advanced key - The “advanced key” is an optional system that functions as an electronic access and authorisation system. The key – which can remain safely in the pocket – has an electronic pulse transmitter and its signal is registered and verified by a proximity sensor in the door. If identified, the doors are unlocked as soon as the driver pulls the door handle.

The central locking system can be activated and deactivated at every door on the vehicle. The driver merely has to have the key on his/her person within a range of around 1.5 metres of the vehicle and pull the door handle. If required, the passengers can also open the door first. Via the MMI you can choose whether the central locking should release only the door opened manually or whether all doors should be unlocked.

Before starting out, the steering and ignition are released electronically with advanced key, through wireless remote control. Provided the driver has the key on his or her person inside the vehicle, the steering is released by lightly pressing the starter button. At the same time, the ignition is turned on and the electronic immobiliser released.

The engine is then started by pressing the starter switch in the centre console once again. For safety reasons the automatic selector lever must be in position P or N, while the driver operates the foot brake at the same time.

Open sky - The optional open sky system comes in a large panorama glass sunroof (three segments) reaching virtually from the front roof edge to the third seat row. The front segment of the 1.6 square metre open sky system can be raised and moved to the rear electrically. The rear segment is designed as a tilting roof.

Two roller blinds provide sun protection whenever required. Each element can be operated by occupants seated in the first and second row. Thanks to precision work undertaken in the wind tunnel, the drumming noise typical of many a sliding/tilting roof during a journey is eliminated.

Climate control - With the automatic 2-zone climate control, air distribution and temperature control are separate for the driver and front passenger. The system also offers draught-free indirect ventilation and an air quality sensor, with other features such as the residual heat function, automatic air recirculation and additional ventilation at the rear via the door pillars.

In addition, the Audi Q7 can be optionally ordered with automatic high-comfort 4-zone climate control, an option that provides individual climate zones for rear-seat passengers. Temperature, air distribution and air volume can be adjusted separately for the left and right side, with an additional evaporator – located behind the luggage area trim – to ensure consistent and steady cooling, even in the third row of seats.

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