Audi reveals the all-new 2016 Q7

Since its launch in 2005, the original Audi Q7 has done a good job of reinforcing negative SUV stereotypes. Being bloated, not especially handsome and often driven by conceited characters hiding behind aftermarket dark-tint glass did not promote an agreeable image.

However, things could change with the just-unveiled second-generation model. For starters, the new Q7 is considerably lighter thanks to the extensive use of aluminium in its bodyshell. Consequently, the 3.0 TDI version now has a kerb weight of 1,995 kg (4,398 lbs), a reduction of 325 kg (716 lbs).

That diet is also reflected in the styling, which looks noticeably less bulky than before. Indeed, at 5.05 m (16’ 7”) long and 1.97 m (6’ 6”) wide this Q7 is marginally shorter and narrower than its predecessor, yet cabin space is claimed to be better. Both five- and seven-seat configurations are going to be offered.

Audi Q7 (2016) Front Side 1

When sales begin in summer 2015 buyers will be able to choose between the 328 bhp (245 kW / 333 PS) 3.0 litre TFSI petrol and 268 bhp (200 kW / 272 PS) 3.0 litre TDI diesel V6 engines. Both options come with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

Judging by respective 0-62 mph (100 km/h) times of 6.1 and 6.3 seconds their performance is very similar. In terms of efficiency, the TDI achieves up to 49.5 mpg (5.7 l/100km) on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 149 g/km. Unsurprisingly, those stats comfortably eclipse the TFSI’s 36.6 mpg (7.7 l/100km) and 179 g/km.

Audi Q7 (2016) DashboardAudi Q7 (2016) Rear Side

More interesting is the e-tron quattro plug-in diesel hybrid powertrain. Due to join the range at a later date, it delivers a combined system output of 368 bhp (275 kW / 373 PS) with 700 Nm (516 lb/ft) of peak torque.

Average fuel consumption is an impressive 166.1 mpg (1.7 l/100km), the CO2 figure is expected to be below 50 g/km and the e-tron’s range in pure electric mode should be around 35 miles (56 kilometres). But the obvious question is to what extent will these official ratings be replicated in everyday use?

Audi Q7 (2016) Front Side 2Audi Q7 (2016) Interior

Several technologies are appearing for the first time on a Q7. They include four-wheel steering, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistant, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, infrared night vision and LED headlights.

The 2016 Audi Q7 is due to debut at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Whether or not it continues to attract a particular type of customer remains to be seen.

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