The new Audi Q7* is an extremely comfortable traveling companion. On expressways it travels smoothly and confidently, affording excellent ride comfort – especially with the optional adaptive air suspension (air suspension with controlled damping). On winding interurban roads, it remains thoroughly manageable, precise and agile, and its axle articulation keeps it going nicely even when the asphalt stops. Compared with the previous model, the center of mass of the big SUV has been lowered by 50 millimeters (2.0 in), in part through lower installation of the engine.
The suspension has also been redesigned from scratch. Relative to the previous model it is over 100 kilograms (220.5 lb) lighter – an important factor for agility. Five-arm designs replace the double wishbone axles of the predecessor model at the front and rear axles. They can process the transverse and longitudinal forces separately – in the transverse direction, their bearings have a sporty stiffness, while in the longitudinal direction they are supple and soft.
Minus 27 kilograms (59.5 lb): The front axle
Two transverse links below and above as well as the track rod form the front suspension with its 1,679 mm (5.5 ft) track. Relative to the predecessor model, it saves 27 kilograms (59.5 lb) in weight. The wheel control arms and the pivot bearings are forged aluminum, the propshafts are hollow, and the wall thickness of the stabilizer varies as required. The pentagonal wheel hub made of forged steel, the aluminum damper stilts and the axle carrier made of aluminum and steel sheet also contribute to the lightweight construction.
Another major innovation in the new Audi Q7 is the electromechanical rack and pinion steering. Unlike the hydraulic unit in the predecessor model, it requires energy only during turning, thus reducing fuel consumption. The steering gear ratio of 15.8:1 is sporty and direct, and steering boost varies as a function of vehicle speed. The steering system works closely with the key driver assistance systems.
The electromechanical steering provides finely differentiated feedback from the road, responds spontaneously and is very precise. Its steering gear is placed at the level of the wheel center, and the forces directly enter the wheels. The steering rack and the servo drive are arranged in concentric circles for a very compact layout.
Minus 40 kilograms (88.2 lb): The rear axle
At the rear wheel suspension the weight is reduced by 40 kilograms (88.2 lb). Their five slender rod control arms – the upper one greatly cranked for package reasons – are made of steel or aluminum, with differences in detail existing between the steel and air sprung versions. The spring arms are extruded aluminum sections. As with the front axle, the kinematics of the control arms provides highly precise wheel guidance and good roll support.
Aluminum is used for the rear axle wheel carriers, while the subframe is made of high-strength steel. Throughout the entire construction, elastomer bearings with high-damping rubber mixtures and spacer sleeves enable a wide spread of stiffness along the longitudinal and transverse directions. The track measures 1,691 mm (5.5 ft).
Efficient control system: Audi drive select
The standard-equipped driving dynamics system Audi drive select completes the versatile character of the new Audi Q7. It integrates up to twelve technological modules, depending on the equipment level. Standard are the eight-speed tiptronic, electromechanical power steering, engine management, the automatic air conditioning and the engine sound. Added are options such as adaptive air suspension, the new all-wheel steering, the headlights and the adaptive cruise control.
Audi drive select provides efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic, individual and offroad as standard modes. In conjunction with adaptive air suspension the allroad mode is added, while the offroad mode becomes lift/offroad.
The air suspension, which also serves as a level control, is a further new development. Its shock absorbers are lighter in weight than on the predecessor model – the entire system weighs about 10 kg (22.0 lb) less. In the front suspension struts, air springs enclose the shock absorbers; they are separated in the rear suspension.
A central control unit called ECP (Electronic Chassis Platform), which manages all body control systems, regulates the operation of the shock absorbers within milliseconds for each wheel individually. Electromagnetically actuated valves inside vary the flow of hydraulic fluid – this concept allows an especially large spread between sporty and comfortable rolling.
The adaptive air suspension can adjust the ride position of the body as required. At the offroad level, which is limited to a speed of 80 km/h (49.7 mph), the body lies 25 millimeters (1.0 in) above the normal level, while at the lift level (up to 30 km/h (18.6 mph)) another 35 mm (1.4 in) are added. For comfortable loading the body drops 55 millimeters (2.2 in) at the press of a button. At 120 or 160 km/h (74.6 / 99.4 mph) the body is automatically lowered by 15 mm (0.6 in), to reduce drag and increase stability. The lowering thresholds differ slightly depending on the mode set in Audi drive select. Audi also provides a sport version of the adaptive air suspension on request.
Innovation in the segment: All-wheel steering
Another optional system for the new Audi Q7 is all-wheel steering – a technology nowhere else to be found in the SUV segment. At the rear axle is installed a steering system with electrical spindle drive and two track rods that turns the rear wheels a few degrees in the same or opposite direction relative to the front wheels, depending on the situation.
At low speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction. The large SUV thus becomes significantly even more agile, and its turning radius smaller by up to one meter (3.3 ft) – as noticed quite clearly by the driver during maneuvering and parking. At slow speeds between five and 15 km/h (3.1 - 9.3 mph), the oppositely directed steering can range up to five degrees. At higher speeds the rear wheels follow the movement of the front wheels by an angle of up to 3.5 degrees. Turning in the same direction improves the steering response and further increases stability in evasive maneuvers.
The new Q7 rolls on standard 18-inch wheels with 255/60 or 235/65 tires for the entry-level version with TDI engine. Alternatively, Audi and quattro GmbH offer other wheels in different designs and dimensions. The 19-inch wheels have tires of size 255/55, the 20-inch wheels tires of size 285/45 and the 21-inch wheels tires of size 285/40. All tires have been optimized for rolling resistance, without compromising performance. A repair kit and a tire pressure indicator are standard, with a collapsible spare wheel and an actively measuring control system optionally available.
Powerful: The brake system
Large, interior-ventilated brake disks safely decelerate the new Audi Q7*; at the front axle they are grasped by rigid and yet light-weight six-piston calipers in aluminum. At the front axle the disks are 350 or 375 millimeters (13.8 / 14.8 in) in diameter, at the rear axle 330 or 350 mm (13.0 / 13.8 in), depending on the equipment and engine of the large SUV. At a later point in time, Audi will be supplying carbon fiber ceramic brake disks, which are especially lightweight and resistant to abrasion. The electromechanical parking brake, updated with convenient hill hold and startup functions, acts on the rear wheels.
The Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) also belongs to a new generation. Its operation is considerably finer-tuned and more precise than the system in the previous model. In the ESC offroad mode, engine intervention is largely deactivated and braking intervention slightly reduced. When the new Q7 is traveling off-road, the stabilization control allows greater slip during braking and acceleration for improved traction.
The many ESC functions also include hill descent control – it sets the speed within the range of four to 30 km/h (2.5 - 18.6 mph) during off-road downhill travel to the value indicated by the driver’s operation of the accelerator and brake pedal.
Besides the large possible axle articulation, a ground clearance of up to 245 mm (9.6 in) also has a positive effect on off-road operation of the new Audi Q7. In conjunction with the adaptive air suspension and MMI navigation plus the new Audi Q7 has a display showing the pitch and roll angles of the car in a clear and precise form. The driver has the possibility of adding additional information packets to the display. The information package “Angle” shows the steering wheel angle as well as the maximum attained tilt angle, while “Position” shows the geographical altitude, compass, and GPS coordinates. The air filter has been moved from the area of the headlights to the engine – an advantage when fording.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.