Although media focus has shifted to its smaller Q5 crossover, Audi hasn't forgotten about the larger Q7. The 2010 model, debuting at this week's 2009 Shanghai motor show, sports a few small repairs, helping it fit in with Audi's heavily-revised portfolio.
If you're a fan of the Q7's physical form, you'll be elated to know the crossover's shape doesn't change for 2010. Exterior changes are limited, with the largest revision being revised front and rear bumper skins. Others, notably the new grille insert and LED daytime running lamps, help bring the Q7 in line with the company's current design ethic.
A similar design mantra was applied to the Q7's interior. Most of the cabin is virtually identical to the previous model, but a few small touches (i.e. more chrome switchgear, ambient lighting in the doors, wood inlay on the passenger-side dashboard) adds an upscale aura.
Perhaps the most important feature inside is Audi's new third-generation Multimedia Interface, or MMI. The infotainment system uses Audi's latest form of 3D navigation, and a new joystick control for navigating through menus, maps, and the like. Users can also control the MMI through a revised vocal command system, which responds to personal statements like "I'm hungry" or "I need gas" by searching for restaurants or gas stations nearby. It can also be paired to a 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system, similar to those offered in other Audis.
Unchanged, however, are the Q7's powertrains. A direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6, rated at 280 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, is still the base offering, while the 350-hp direct-injection 4.2-liter V-8 is the grand-daddy of the lineup. Slotting between those two is the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 introduced in 2009. Rated at 225 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, it's marginally slower than a Q7 with the 3.6, but its 17/25 mpg city/highway rating is impressive, as is its 600 mile range.
Audi expects the improved Q7 to arrive at U.S. dealers this fall, but won't talk pricing until closer to its launch.