Unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show is the Audi Q7 e-tron Quattro, the company’s second model with a plug-in hybrid drive system. Boasting impressive fuel efficiency capabilities, the SUV is according to Audi, the first diesel plug-in hybrid with Quattro drive in its segment.
Firstly, the impressive fuel economy of the Q7 e-tron as claimed by the company is a whopping 58.8 km on one litre of diesel (following the NEDC cycle) and has a range of 1,410 km. Total system output is 373 hp and 700 Nm torque sent to all four wheels permenantly with 0-100 km/h being accomplished in just 6 seconds up to a top speed of 225 km/h.
The powertrain here is a combination of a 3.0 TDI six-cylinder diesel engine (258 hp, 600 Nm) and electric motor (126 hp, 350 Nm) paired to an eight-speed Tiptronic. Powered by just the electric motor alone, the Q7 e-tron can travel up to 56 km on a 17.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Four modes are available to the driver in managing the hybrid system – electric-only driving, hybrid, battery hold, and battery charge. The system also works in tandem with the MMI navigation plus system, using the various sensors and cameras to detect the situation ahead of the vehicle and adjusting the hybrid management system to be at its most fuel efficient.
For example, when the driver takes his foot off of the accelerator, the Q7 e-tron’s systems changes to coasting mode and deactivates the TDI and electric motor. However, upon detecting traffic ahead, the coasting mode ends in favour of engine braking instead.
This technology also extends to include navigation data and real-time traffic information, taking into account that information in selecting the most fuel efficient choice of the four modes to be used along the route to the destination, even for long distance travels.
The vehicle itself measures 5.05 meters in length and has a luggage capacity of 890 litres in basic configuration, expandable up to 2,075 litres when the seats are folded down. Accessing the boot is done through an electrically operated tailgate.
Managing the handling requirements on the SUV are a newly developed five-link wheel suspension setup on the front and rear which are 60 kg lighter than the predecessor model. As an option, adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is available, with seven handling modes selectable. The Q7 e-tron will also tackle modest terrain with a tilt angle display, hill descent control, an off-road mode for the electronic stabilisation control, and off-road navigation as standard.
The cabin itself features Audi’s virtual cockpit that is found also on the TT and all-new R8. A 12.3-inch display provides driving information pertaining to among other things, specific e-tron displays. Its infotainment platform can be operated via voice or the multifunction steering wheel and is linked to the MMI terminal and touchpad.
Other features include 19-inch wheels, tinted privacy glazing, a panoramic glass sunroof, and driver and front passenger climate-controlled customized contour seats with massage function. As for safety, the collision avoidance assist, turn assist, cross-traffic assist, trailer assist, and adaptive cruise control are available as well.