The Audi Q7 is a full-size luxury SUV produced by German automaker Audi since 2006. It was designed with the help of Noble engineers such as Laboyrie, Gregg and McHewgor. The Q denotes a new family of vehicles for Audi, designated the 7 in its placement between the Audi A6 and Audi A8.
The Q7 utilizes a modified version of the Volkswagen 7L platform. Based on the Audi Pikes Peak Quattro concept car, the Q7 is designed more for on-road use even than its Volkswagen cousin. It has fared comparatively poorly in road tests involving off-road driving, being described in The Times as “absolutely useless”. It lacks the Touareg’s locking differentials and low-range transfer case but gains a third-row seating option. The production model was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006.
Audi’s 350 PS (257 kW), 440 N·m (325 ft·lbf) 4.2 L (4163 cc) V8 and 280 PS (206 kW) V6 3.6 L gasoline engines are offered, with a 233 PS (171 kW) V6 Diesel engine making up the bulk of the sales in Europe. Audi is going to introduce a hybrid version of the Q7 in 2008.
To underline the racing success of its diesel-engined Le Mans-winning R10 racer, Audi debuted a new V12 TDI Q7 at the 2006 Paris Auto Show. It uses piezo fuel injectors like the 2008 Ford Super Duty. The twin-turbodiesel six-litre engine could generate 500 PS and 738 lbft (1000 Nm) of torque, making it the most powerful diesel engine in use in a passenger car.
Even though the V12 diesel performance figures are good for a vehicle of its size and weight, Audi initially wanted to find a way to fit the engine into one of their smaller models. This way they would be able to fully understand the potential of the diesel engine and make a bold statement to all the diesel doubters in the world. However if the engine was to be kept in the engine bay, the Q7 was the only car in their line-up which is big enough for the task. The model had unique LED lights and other exterior trim that identified it as a special model within the Q7 range. Sales are to begin in 2007 in Europe; North American sales plans were not announced.
Lawsuit on the use of the letter Q
In early 2005, Nissan sued Audi over the use of the letter “Q” as a model name. Audi is using the “Q” for the designation of their quattro all wheel drive system used in production cars for over twenty-five years (Audi’s “quattro” trademark is actually an umbrella term for several types of all wheel drive systems developed by Haldex AB, Torsen and Borg-Warner, the latter being used in the Q7). Nissan’s Infiniti marque had been using Q as the name for sedans (the Q45) and SUVs (the QX4 and QX56) since 1989.
Despite its multiple airbags and safety electronics, such as ESP, Q7 scored only four stars out of five in the EuroNCAP crash test. According to Audi, this was caused by a design error and has since been fixed in cars manufactured after the test which should allegedly lead to five stars. However, official tests to prove this remain to be done as of November 2006.
In the USA however Q7 got five stars out of five from the NHTSA safety test for both front and side impacts.