|The new Q7. Click to enlarge.|
Audi will present the new second-generation Audi Q7 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. In addition to other advances in drivetrain, chassis, lightweight construction, assistance systems and infotainment systems, the new Q7 will also offer an e-tron quattro version: the first plug-in hybrid with a six-cylinder diesel engine and quattro all-wheel drive. The new Audi Q7 also marks the debut of the second-generation modular longitudinal platform (MLB), the Audi technology matrix for models with longitudinally mounted engines, said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development.
The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro all-wheel drive diesel plug-in hybrid will consume just 1.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (138.4 mpg US), corresponding to less than 50 grams CO2 per kilometer (80.5 g/mi). The lithium-ion battery pack in the Q7 e-tron quattro stores 17.3 kWh of energy, enabling a range of up to 56 kilometers (34.8 mi) in all-electric mode.
The 3.0 TDI in the Audi Q7 e-tron produces 190 kW (258 hp). The electric motor, which is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic, has an output of 94 kW. System output is 275 kW (373 hp); system torque is 700 N·m (516 lb-ft). The Audi Q7 e-tron accelerates with this power from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 6.0 seconds, and from 0 to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) in 6.1 seconds on electric power alone. Top speed is 225 km/h (139.8 mph).
The Q7 PHEV is also the world’s first PHEV with a heat pump, which minimizes the energy requirement for heating and air conditioning without compromising customer comfort. Furthermore, the customer can preheat or precool the car via an app.
Engines, powertrain and chassis. The new Audi Q7 is coming to the European market with a TDI and a TFSI. Due to intensive refinements, the CO2 emissions have been reduced by as much as 50 grams per kilometer (80.5 g/mi). Both engines comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard.
The 3.0 TDI produces 200 kW (272 hp) and 600 N·m (442.5 lb-ft) of torque. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) takes 6.3 seconds; top speed is of 234 km/h (145.4 mph). Average fuel consumption is 5.7 liters per 100 kilometers (41.3 mpg US), which equates to CO2 emissions of 149 grams per kilometer (239.8 g/mi). The V6 diesel has been systematically designed for minimal internal friction and efficient thermal management. The 3.0 TDI is extremely smooth, which is also due in part to the switchable hydraulic engine bearings. They ensure that engine vibration is low and conduct little noise into the car.
The 3.0 TFSI produces 245 kW (333 hp) and 440 N·m (324.5 lb-ft) of torque, accelerating the big SUV from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 6.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Its mechanical compressor, which provides charging, is deactivated when operating at part load. This technique contributes to the low consumption of 7.7 liters per 100 kilometers (30.5 mpg US) in the NEDC, corresponding to 179 grams CO2 per kilometer (288 g/mi).
A second variant of the 3.0 TDI with 160 kW (218 hp) and 500 N·m (368.8 lb-ft) of torque will follow at a later date. This efficiency model will further reduce the CO2 emissions of the 3.0 TDI, setting new standards for efficiency. Another engine is the 2.0 TFSI with an output of 185 kW (252 hp) and 370 Nm (272.9 lb-ft) of torque. It is planned primarily for the Asian markets and the US.
With a curb weight of just 1,995 kilograms (4,398.2 lb) (3.0 TDI), the new Audi Q7 is the lightest in its class. It weighs 325 kilograms (716.5 lb) less than the previous model. Audi engineers have reduced the fuel consumption of the Q7 by as much as 28% (TFSI) and 23% (TDI).
In the new Audi Q7, a newly developed, eight-speed tiptronic transfers the engine’s power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. The torque converter transmission shifts gears smoothly and is very efficient. It offers a free-wheeling function when the driver steps off the gas. A new vaporization system enables the engine to run at extremely slow speeds below 1,000 rpm.
Besides automatic mode, the driver can also choose to control the tiptronic using the standard paddles on the steering wheel or via a selector lever. In both cases, the commands are transmitted purely electrically (by wire).
The self-locking center differential—the heart of the quattro all-wheel drive system—is integrated into the housing of the eight-speed tiptronic. It is significantly lighter and more compact than the transfer case of the previous model, and with its optimized locking rates provides for outstanding traction and handling. Under normal driving conditions, the center differential distributes the power between the front and rear axle in a 40:60 ratio. If the wheels of one axle lose grip, it can extremely quickly transfer as much as 70 percent of the power to the front and a maximum of 85 percent to the rear.
The mechanical center differential operates in direct conjunction with torque vectoring. During fast cornering, the control software uses finely metered interventions to brake the inside wheels, which are under a reduced load. This makes the steering response of the big SUV even more agile and precise, and the grip even better.
Compared with the previous model, the center of mass of the big SUV has been lowered by 50 millimeters (2.0 in), in part by installing the engine lower.
The chassis also features numerous changes. Both the front and rear axle are five-link designs, replacing the double wishbone axles of the previous model. The new elastomer bearings and the separate springs and dampers at the rear axle respond extremely sensitively. Also new is the electromechanical power steering, whose boost decreases as speed increases and is very efficient. It provides for direct steering response, and several of the driver assistance systems would not be possible without it.
Compared with the previous model, the chassis of the new Audi Q7 is over 100 kilograms (220.5 lb) lighter—the result of numerous changes. The links of the wheel suspensions, for example, are now made of aluminum and high-strength steel; the cardan shafts of the front axle are hollow; and the pivot bearings are aluminum forgings.
Audi offers another groundbreaking innovation as an option: all-wheel steering. A steering system with an electric spindle drive turns the rear wheels inward by as much as five degrees depending on the situation. At low speeds they steer opposite the front wheels, which significantly increases vehicle agility and reduces the turning radius by up to one meter (3.3 ft). At higher speeds the rear wheels follow the movement of the front wheels. This further optimizes steering response, and vehicle stability is further enhanced in avoidance situations.
The new Audi Q7 already offers excellent comfort even with the standard steel suspension. Rolling is even smoother with the adaptive air suspension, which is managed by a newly developed central vehicle control unit that manages all body control systems. The new controllers developed by Audi for the air suspension and active damping vary the body height and superstructure comfort as a function of the situation. On the highway, the body is lowered by as much as 30 millimeters (1.2 in). It is raised as much as 60 millimeters (2.4 in) when driving at low speeds off-road. A sport version of the adaptive air suspension is also available.
7-level Audi drive select. The standard Audi drive select driving dynamics system works together with the adaptive air suspension to offer seven modes: efficiency (available for the first time on the Audi Q7), comfort, auto, dynamic, individual, allroad and lift/offroad. Depending on the equipment installed, Audi drive select integrates various technology modules, including the eight-speed tiptronic, the electromechanical power steering, the all-wheel steering and the engine characteristic.
Weight reduction. The new Q7 offers the best height:weight ratio in its class: 5.05 meters (16.6 ft) long, a 2.99 meter (9.8 ft) wheelbase, 1.97 meters (6.5 ft) wide and 1.74 meters (5.7 ft) tall (with steel suspension). Although it is shorter and narrower than its predecessor, the cabin is longer and offers more head room.
Equipped with the 3.0 TDI engine, the new Audi Q7 tips the scales at just 1,995 kilograms (4,398 lb), which is 325 kilograms (716.5 lb) less weight—the equivalent of a concert grand piano. The Q7 with the 3.0 TFSI engine is even lighter, weighing just 1,970 kilograms (4,343.1 lb). Lightweight construction has been applied in all areas, from the electrical system to the luggage compartment floor. The key is the body structure, where a new multimaterial design reduces its weight by 71 kilograms (156.5 lb). This places the new Q7 among the best in its segment.
Ultra-high-strength parts made of hot-shaped steel form the backbone of the occupant cell. Aluminum castings, extruded sections and panels are used in the front and rear ends as well as the superstructure. They account for 41% of the body structure. Other parts made entirely of aluminum are the doors, which shave 24 kilograms (52.9 lb) of weight, the front fenders, the engine hood and the rear hatch. Audi uses new manufacturing methods for the production and assembly of the parts. The crash safety and occupant protection of the new Audi Q7 are also on the highest level.
Three torsion rings reinforce the front end, the area of the C-pillars and the rear hatch cutout. These play a major role in the vastly improved static and dynamic stiffness of the body. The torsion rings are the foundation for the precise handling and superior vibrational comfort in the car’s interior.
Aerodynamics. The big SUV has a cd value of just 0.32. This top mark in the segment is the result of sophisticated technical solutions. The underbody is nearly completely lined; a small spoiler in the area of the rear axle reduces lift. The efficiency modelt—he V6 TDI with 160 kW (218 hp) which will be launchend at a later date—features louvers between the Singleframe grille and the top section of the main radiator. The plastic slats open and—for better aerodynamics—close as necessary. This is based on an energy-optimized controller for maximum cd advantage.
Newly developed air conditioning. Audi equips the big SUV standard with a newly developed, two-zone deluxe air conditioning system. Its new operating concept uses fewer buttons and controls. Animated symbols in the display, the high-quality TFT display and the capacitive toggle switches provide for intuitive operation of the air conditioning. Audi also offers the option of a four-zone system, the temperature displays of which are integrated into the rotary dials. A display with toggle switches shows the status of selected functions. When the toggle switch is touched, the menu expands for better legibility and easier operation.
The right zone of the instrument panel includes a continuous air vent strip from which the air exits indirectly and draft-free. Both air conditioning variants offer customers particularly high air quality in the cabin. In both fresh air and recirculation mode, the air conditioning system filters out fine particulates.
Driver assistance systems. Some of the Q7 driver assistance systems have been completely redeveloped from scratch. Standard are the rear parking aid, cruise control, adjustable speed limiter, rest recommendation and the safety system Audi pre-sense city. At city speeds it warns the driver of impending collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and will initiate heavy braking in an emergency. If the collision is inevitable, the multicollision brake assist system uses controlled braking maneuvers during the accident to aid the driver. This can help to prevent the car from skidding and thus additional collisions.
The optional “Audi pre sense basic” initiates preventive protective measures for the occupants in instable driving states, such as tightening of the front seat belts.
Optional solutions are bundled in the packages “Parking”, “City” and “Tour”. The “Parking” package includes the surround view camera and the park assist system, which autonomously steers the car backwards into parallel and perpendicular parking spots. The driver only has to apply the brakes and the gas.
The “City” package comprises new systems. The cross-traffic assist warns the driver of other vehicles when driving slowly in reverse, such as when pulling out from a perpendicular parking spot. The exit warning system indicates vehicles or cyclists approaching from the rear before the door is opened. If the new Audi Q7 is used as a tow vehicle, the trailer assistant steers the trailer backwards in precisely the direction indicated by the driver using the rotary pushbutton of the MMI. The system also manages turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction, stabilizes the trailer-tow vehicle unit when driving backwards in a straight line and when the steering wheel is turned too far warns if the trailer could hit the rear of the vehicle.
Audi side assist uses radar measurements behind the car to ensure safe lane changes; Audi pre sense rear tensions the seat belts in the event of an impending collision from behind. The parking system plus and the reversing cameras round out the “City” package.
More innovations from Audi can be found in the “Tour” package. The adaptive cruise control system accelerates and brakes to keep the Q7 at the desired distance from the vehicle ahead. It displays the distance when it is deactivated. With the top version, ACC stop & go including traffic jam assistant, the system also takes over the steering on developed highways if traffic congested and not moving faster than 60 km/h (37.3 mph).
Audi active lane assist uses a camera and small steering interventions to help the driver to stay in a lane. The safety system Audi pre sense front warns of an impending rear-end collision with the vehicle ahead, tensions the belts and brakes the car autonomously, if necessary. It does both of these things in multiple stages.
The predictive efficiency assistant uses the route data from the navigation system to alert the driver of situations in which it would make sense to reduce speed, such as before curves, towns or speed limit signs that are not yet visible. In collaboration with adaptive cruise control (ACC) and traffic sign recognition, the system adapts the preselected speed to the route and the speed limits. The predictive efficiency assistant, which can also take over predictive control of the free-wheeling function of the eight-speed tiptronic, has the potential to reduce fuel consumption on interurban roads by as much as ten percent.
Also available as an option is the night vision assistant. It uses an infrared camera to detect pedestrians and larger wild animals at long distances in the dark and issues appropriate warnings. The camera-based traffic sign recognition system rounds out the spectrum.
Two further systems are scheduled to follow shortly after the launch. The avoidance assistant intervenes in the steering to help the driver avoid an obstacle. The turning assistant monitors opposing traffic when turning left at low speeds. In a critical situation, it brakes the car.