Audi’s development of the second-generation Q7 large SUV is currently at the mechanical evaluation stage, as these recent spy photos suggest.
This test mule, spotted near Audi’s Nurburgring test facility is hiding the new model’s mechanical package beneath a modified version of the current car’s body.
The enlarged wheelarches spied here suggest a wider track for the future model, which is not expected to go on sale until early 2014.
Also evident is a deeper sill area, which would suggest a taller cabin, bringing greater headroom and improving access to the third row seating. The current model’s seven-seat configuration is expected to carry over.
The new model will once again utilise an enlarged version of the Touareg and Cayenne’s VW Group PL71 platform, and engineers are targeting similar weight reduction as achieved by the second-generation VW and Porsche versions.
These models lost an average 200kg for their new models, and the Q7 is expected to exceed this reduction with a targeted 300kg weight loss across the range.
This will reportedly be achieved through new construction methods and an increased use of aluminium in the body structure and cladding.
The new Q7 is also expected to use smaller engines, in line with Audi’s downsizing principle. These engine options are likely to include a supercharged 3.0 litre V6, a 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6 and a twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8.
Also available will be the plug-in hybrid variant recently confirmed by Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
An early 2014 launch date for the new model is likely. The current generation has been available on the Australian market since September 2006.
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