The new-generation 2016 Audi Q7 has launched in Australia with just one drivetrain to choose from, a 3.0-litre turbo diesel, but more engine options are on the cards.
The new Audi Q7’s sole engine variant, the 3.0 TDI, produces a hefty 200kW of power and 600Nm of torque, well above the entry-level diesels offered in rival vehicles such as the BMW X5 and upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLE.
For comparison’s sake, the entry-level X5 sDrive25d (priced from $84,200 for the rear-wheel drive model) has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with 160kW and 450Nm, and the base model GLE 250d (which will be priced at $86,900 plus on-road costs) has a 2.1-litre four-cylinder with 150kW and 500Nm.
So the six-cylinder Q7 stands out as an anomaly, and it costs $103,900 plus on-roads – leaving plenty of space for a base model to slot in beneath it.
While its competitors have opted for four-cylinder base engines, it appears highly likely that Audi will employ another six-cylinder diesel engine.
The 3.0 TDI is available in varied states of tune, and the version to be used in the most affordable Q7 is set to produce 160kW of power and 500Nm of torque. That version is known internationally as the Q7 ultra 3.0 TDI.
It appears highly unlikely Australia will see the introduction of a four-cylinder Q7, as the newest high-spec example of the Audi 2.0 TDI engine – as debuted in the new-generation A4 – has just 140kW/400Nm.
Likewise, no petrol engine is likely to be offered in the mainstream Q7 range. A 2.0 TFSI is offered in China but won't be offered elsewhere, and the existing 3.0-litre petrol V6 sold in Australia made up only a very small fraction of sales, so the new 3.0 TFSI (turbocharged V6 with 245kW and 440Nm) is unlikely.
As for alternative drivetrains, Audi has confirmed it will offer the Q7 e-tron in Australia from next year, but there’s also a good chance of a couple of other engines joining the ranks of the large SUV line.
The Audi Q7 e-tron is the first Audi with a plug-in hybrid diesel powertrain. It pairs a 190kW/600Nm 3.0-litre V6 TDI and a 94kW/50NM disc-shaped electric motor in the transmission for total system output of 275kW and 700Nm.
Fuel use is claimed at a staggering 1.7 litres per 100km, and the German brand claims the drivetrain can help propel the Q7 from 0-100km/h in just 6.0 seconds.
Another possibility for the Q7 range is a V8 version – the existing model had a 4.2-litre V8 turbo diesel as part of its ranks, so the return of such an engine would not be unprecedented.
Indeed, it is likely the engine would be the same tune as that employed in the A8 limousine, where the V8 produces 283kW of power and 850Nm of torque. There have been rumours that the flagship, performance-oriented SQ7 will feature a downsized V8 4.0-litre turbo diesel, though these remain unsubstantiated.
It produces 235kW and 650Nm, which isn’t as great a jump over the current high-output single-turbo 3.0 TDI.
Stay tuned for more on the new-generation Audi Q7 as information comes to hand.