It has become commonplace for Americans to complain about the absence of certain European cars in our home market. We'd like to see some of the small, fun, efficient, diesels over here. Then there are vehicles like the 2009 Audi Q7 V12 TDI. It is neither small, nor is it particularly efficient, so wouldn't it make sense in the land of the gas-loving SUV?
As of its introduction at the Geneva show, Audi says no. But this big diesel rig will be available in Europe later this year. No fair.
Previewed in concept form in 2006, the range-topping Q7 is powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged and intercooled diesel V-12. The race-bred engine makes 500 hp and a glorious 738 lb-ft of torque, propelling the SUV to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. The variable turbos do their job and make peak torque available from 1750 rpm. We like torque.
You may also remember this engine from its showcase in the back of the R8 V12 TDI concept that was parked at the Detroit show. Audi brought that car to Geneva as well where it wore a coat of red paint. The V-12 was born from a 5.5-liter unit used in the Le Mans-winning R10 prototype.
Power makes its way to the ground via a beefed-up quattro all-wheel-drive system, after going through a specially designed 6-speed tiptronic auto. To help you hold on tight for the ride, Audi supplies wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The chassis gets an adaptive air suspension that can be set for comfort or sportiness, and can also yield up to 8 inches of ground clearance. A variety of 20- and 21-inch wheels are available to frame carbon-ceramic brakes. And this thing will surely need them.
As for visual changes, it's hard to mistake the front of a V12 TDI for any other Q7. The oil burning SUV gets LED daytime running lights like those on most new Audis, though these take aren't integrated into the headlamps and instead are separate units in the bumper. Huge air intakes sit below the lights, framing Audi's big-mouth grille. Matte aluminum trims the window surrounds, mirrors and roof rack
As if that weren't enough excitement, Audi showed a concept Q7 based on the V12 TDI called the Coastline. Its intended to evoke the "elegant style of an exclusive yacht," and does so with an all-white interior trimmed with American walnut. It is painted pearl white and looks nearly identical to the production V12 TDI, though it does away with the roof rack and gets white mirror housings.
Click the links below for high-resolution Q7 V12 TDI and Coastline images, as well as coverage of the R8 V12 TDI Le Mans.