2016 Audi Q7 Spy Shots

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Audi has confirmed that its current Q7 will soldier on for one more year, meaning the next generation of the popular SUV won’t debut until the 2016 model year. With all of its rivals currently in their second generation or later, the Q7 is long overdue for renewal.

The good news is that the new model is now in the final stages of development and is set for a reveal later this year. Audi was originally due to launch its new Q7 at the end of last year but a late change in its design meant the vehicle’s release date needed to be pushed back.

Another reason for the tardiness is the fact that the new Q7 will be the first Volkswagen Group model to ride on the automaker's next-generation MLB Evo platform, specifically the SUV version of the platform. The platform is an evolution of Audi's existing MLB structure but is lighter thanks to multi-material construction.

The platform will also be capable of adopting alternative drivetrains—the new Q7 has been confirmed to be getting an e-tron plug-in hybrid option—and will eventually underpin the rest of the Volkswagen Group’s large SUV models including the new Bentley SUV, production Lamborghini Urus and third-generation Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.

Thanks to lightweight materials such as aluminum and even some carbon fiber in the construction of the mostly-steel vehicle, engineers should be able to shed close to 650 pounds compared to the curb weight of the current Q7, which tips the scales at more than 5,300 pounds in its lightest form.

In the engine department, the U.S. market should have access to 3.0- and 4.0-liter TFSI units and a 3.0-liter TDI. As mentioned, a plug-in hybrid option will be available for the first time. In the U.S., this will be a gasoline-electric drivetrain but in other markets Audi may offer an even more frugal diesel-electric setup. We could also see a sporty 'S Q7' launched for the first time. The prototype in the latest photos has a set of quad-exhaust tips, suggesting it's a performance variant.

Look for a debut of the new Q7 at the 2014 Paris Auto Show in October, with the first examples to arrive in showrooms next spring.


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