[cars name="Audi"]‘s Q7 sport-utility will finally be unveiled this fall at the Frankfurt auto show, but we recently had an early look at a drivable prototype in Audi’s California design studio.
The new Q7 looks much like the 2003 Pikes Peak concept, but designer Danny Garand has erased the gratuitous off-road detailing. Instead, cues from the new A6 Avant wagon give the Q7 a look more appropriate for a premium highway vehicle.
In fact, Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s head of vehicle dynamics, tells us that the Q7 has been engineered for the street. It’s derived from the / platform, but air suspension from the delivers a lower ride height and a refined ride, even though it’s set up for eighteen-inch wheels.
Power comes from Audi’s 4.2-liter V-8 or 3.2-liter V-6, and the all-wheel-drive system, with its 40 percent front/60 percent rear torque split, comes from the RS6. “The Q7 will do donuts, I promise you,” Hackenberg says.
Inside, the Q7 has the leather-and-tech look of the A6. Five- and seven-passenger versions will be offered, and the third-row seat folds flat into the floor.The Q7 will reach U.S. streets in the spring next year. Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America’s chief executive, says it heralds a greater U.S. focus for Audi’s future product development.