PGA Cars Inc., the official distributor of Audi in the Philippines, launched on Thursday the second-generation of its flagship, seven-seat, sport-utility vehicle (SUV), the Q7, at the Audi EDSA showroom in Mandaluyong City.
The biggest news for the new SUV is the up-to-325-kilogram weight reduction from the previous generation, depending on the variant. The German carmaker said in a statement that it accomplished this by using more aluminum on the SUV – now comprising 41 percent of the Q7’s structure – with a multi-layered chassis made of high-strength steel and aluminum and with major body panels like the doors, tailgate, hood and fenders completely made of aluminum.
Subtle restyle, lower drag coefficient
That hood and those fenders frame a new snout, which is sleeker than the previous Q7. The company’s signature hexagonal grill dominates the front, with more squared headlights and large faux air intakes at the lower bumper balancing the look.
The side profile is similar to the old Q7, although the large beltline is now sculpted with the fenders. More noticeable, though, is the colored trim piece at the bottom of the doors, which can be contrasted with the main body color. It’s the same story at the back, although the rear window and the taillights have been squared as well, with a lower rear bumper compared to the previous car.
The new Q7 is also 37 millimeters shorter and 15 millimeters narrower than the previous model, while height remains unchanged. Despite the subtle cosmetic and dimensional changes, the company said the new model now has a lower drag coefficient that the previous model at 0.32.
New interior, 12.3-inch display
The Q7 is a three-row SUV with seven seats that competes directly with the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Land Rover Discovery 4, BMW X5 (which is available with seven seats in other countries) and the new Volvo XC90. The most noticeable changes to the whole car are at the front row, with a completely new dashboard sporting a different styling direction for Audi.
Air-conditioning vents run the entire length of the dashboard, while the center console has been simplified over the previous model, comprising mainly of the controls for the air-con. Standard for the Q7 is a 12.3-inch infotainment display with GPS navigation and voice control, which is connected to Audi’s Multi Media Interface or MMI control knob that now vibrates when making selections (much like a Playstation controller).
The MMI also controls the standard Drive Select function that provides four driving modes: comfort, normal, dynamic and individual. The last mode allows the driver to define his or her own settings for the engine responsiveness, transmission responsiveness, steering weight and suspension firmness.
The company said the new Q7 comes with 2,075 liters of cargo space with the second- and third-row seats folded, 890 liters with only third row stowed and 295 liters with all the seats up. Alongside a standard electric tailgate, the rear loading lip has also been lowered by 46 millimeters to help in loading and unloading items more easily.
3.0 TDI engine unaffected by VW diesel scandal
All Q7 variants are powered by a 3.0-liter, 24-valve, common-rail-direct-injection TDI V6 turbodiesel, producing 272 horsepower and 600 Newton-meters of torque. This is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Paolo Brambilla, general sales manager for Audi Philippines, confirmed with Fast Times that this particular engine is not included in the Notice of Violation issued in November this year by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Volkswagen, Audi’s parent company. In light of the emissions scandal with Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TDI engines, the EPA also issued a notice for the carmaker’s 3.0-liter TDI V6 units sold in the US for supposedly using “defeat devices” that allowed the engines to pass stringent US diesel emission standards during testing, but produced up to nine times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide (or NOx) on the road.
After initial denials, Volkswagen admitted later in the month that the engines likewise contained the software and has halted sales of the affected units, which include the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg and the 2015 Porsche Cayenne (both the old Q7’s siblings), along with the 2016 model year Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5. A software update for the engines is in the works.
Although the suspect 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter TDI engines are sold in the Philippines, they still run within the limits of the country’s Euro 2 emission standards, with Euro 4 standards starting in January 2016.
Driver safety aids available as options
The new Q7, meanwhile, comes with standard anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction and stability control and eight airbags. Additionally, red LED exterior lights activate once the doors or tailgate is opened to warn other road users from the rear.
Brambilla also said the Q7 can be equipped with the Audi Pre-Sense City, an automatic, emergency braking system that works at up to 85 kilometers per hour. Also available are the Multi-Collision Brake Assist System that automatically brakes the SUV in an impending crash to reduce the risk of skidding and to mitigate impact forces, and the Pre-Sense system, which tensions the seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof before a collision.
The Q7 range starts at P6.690 million for the Premium, while the S-Line model starts at P7.30 million.