2020 Audi Q7 revealed: price, spec and release date
Our favourite luxury SUV, the Audi Q7, has been given hybrid tech and a new look inside and out as part of a mid-life update...
On sale October 2019 Price from £56,000 (est)
The Audi Q7 is as good as luxury SUVs get, having been our reigning champion in this class since we introduced it at our 2017 Car of the Year Awards. But with its position at the summit finally being threatened, following the arrival of the all-new BMW X7 and revised Mercedes GLE, Audi has decided it's time for an update.
The biggest change is at the front, where a wider grille brings the Q7 in line with Audi’s most recent SUVs, including the Q3, Q8 and E-tron, as well as the facelifted A4 executive car. It's flanked by larger air intakes and redesigned LED headlights.
At the rear, meanwhile, there’s a new chrome strip running across the tailgate and new, angular exhaust tips. All of this adds up to a more muscular, aggressive look – exactly what most buyers in this market are after.
Under the skin, the Q7 is now available with the same active anti-roll bars that impressed us on the sportier SQ7, and should serve to make this largest of Audi SUVs feel easier to handle.
What's more, the steering has been fettled with the aim of making it more communicative at higher speeds, as has the optional four-wheel steering system, which improves stability and the turning circle.
Three engines are available in the regular Q7, and they’re all 3.0-litre V6 units. The entry-level 45 TDI, which produces 228bhp and can get you from 0-62mph in 7.1sec, is likely to be our recommended choice.
In the 50 TDI, that same engine produces 282bhp and shortens the 0-62mph sprint time to 6.3sec. And new to the line-up is the 55 TFSI petrol with 335bhp – making it the most powerful choice outside of the 429bhp V8-engined SQ7.
All Q7s are now mild hybrids, too, meaning they can recover energy usually lost in braking or deceleration, and use it to restart the engine faster than a conventional stop-start system. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as is Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system.
Buyers hoping for a greener Q7 won’t have long to wait, either, because the 55 TFSI will be mated with an electric motor to become a plug-in hybrid soon after launch.
Inside, the Q7 has had a significant overhaul, most noticeably receiving the same twin central touchscreens as the Q8. The top screen (8.8in as standard but upgradeable to 10.1in) controls things like the sat-nav and audio, with the bottom screen given over to climate controls and other vehicle settings. But while it looks flash, this set-up is actually more distracting to use on the move than Audi’s old rotary dial controller.
A head-up display is also available, as is a configurable digital instrument panel in place of conventional dials. And in its top-end form, Audi’s infotainment system can give you a countdown to the next green traffic light, or be used to order products through Amazon.
Boot space is unchanged, but there are now more cubbyholes dotted around the interior for the detritus that usually accompanies a family outing.
Prices won’t be announced until closer to the updated car’s launch in the autumn, but we’d expect a starting price of around £56,000 to reflect the upgrades. That means the Q7 will remain cheaper than BMW’s rival X5, but the Mercedes GLE will cost you less again.
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Best and worst luxury SUVs
As we've said, the Q7 was already the best car of its kind. But what other luxury SUVs are worth considering? Here we reveal the rest of the top 10 – and name the models that are best avoided.
10. Rolls-Royce Cullinan
For some people, only the best and most luxurious car will do, and to be seen in anything less than a Roller is a crime against decency. Now, if you want all that opulence in a large and raised-up SUV you can have it in the Cullinan.
This giant is chock-full of desirable goodies, has an interior so spacious and comfortable you'd be happy to live in it and is powered by a large and suitably refined 6.75-litre V12 motor, all of which combines to give this behemoth a sense of occasion no other car can match. It dwarfs a Range Rover and can even do a bit of gentle off-roading. For sheer wow-factor, nothing can beat it.
Our pick: Rolls-Royce Cullinan
9. Range Rover
The Range Rover is one of the great motoring icons and every bit as compelling a proposition today as it was when it was first introduced more than 40 years ago. Superbly comfortable and refined, it also offers prodigious off-road ability.
The interior is the epitome of luxury, with Oxford leather seats standard on all versions. But don't think it's old fashioned; the large digital dashboard that can be switched between three pre-set themes, including putting the sat-nav map directly in front of the driver’s eyes.
Our pick: 3.0 SDV6 Vogue SE
8. Bentley Bentayga
While it comes from a brand that has never produced an SUV before, the Bentayga could only be a Bentley, thanks to its pronounced haunches, round headlights and diamond-patterned front grille.
The interior is one of the classiest around and the performance is more akin to that of a sports car than a large SUV – although that's no more than you'd expect, given the six-figure starting price.
Our pick: V8
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