Refreshed Audi Q7 makes subtle 'purist' changes to the basic formula

Refreshed Audi Q7 makes subtle 'purist' changes to the basic formula

The Mercedes-Benz GLE that launched in the U.S. in 1997 as the M-Class is on its fourth generation. The BMW X5 that launched in 1999 is also on its fourth generation. The Audi Q7, which appeared in 2005, is on its second generation. The current version debuted in 2015 for the 2016 model year, taking a mid-cycle refresh into the 2020 model year. For 2024, Audi’s rolling with a second facelift for its seven-seater SUV instead of an all-new or heavily revised car. The European version has just gone on sale bearing enough alteration to note the Q7 has turned a page, assuming you’re already versed in arcana like grille mesh and headlight technology. 

Overall, Audi said it “dramatically reduced” the faux aluminum shiny bits to give the Q7 “a more purist look,” so garnish like the air intake edges are now body-colored except on the base version, on the SQ7, or when redone with the Black Package. In detail, tweaks start with the reshaped edging on the Singleframe grille. Inside the grille, lower models get cascading teardrop shapes, upper trims and the SQ7 get vertical slats with staggered “U” shapes. Beside that, Audi flipped the arrangement of the headlight main beam and daytime running lights, putting the DRLs above. When buyers opt for HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi Laser Light, the first time this is an option on the Q7, they’ll get the choice of four DRL patterns that can be chosen via the MMI system. Basically, Audi turned DRLs from a mere regulatory necessity into an artful brand identifier many years ago; now that everyone’s doing it, choice is the next step. Optional OLED taillights also offer a choice of four signatures.

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Below, redrawn side intakes mimic the grille mesh while making room for inset apertures. The overseas color palette welcomes Ascari Blue, Chili Red, and Sakhir Gold. Five new wheel designs come in sizes from 20 inches to 22 inches.

Performance updates are subtle. Revisions to the four-wheel-steering system are said to provide greater ease, while the SQ7 picks up a torque-vectoring rear differential when optioned with the Advanced Suspension Package. We’ll need to wait for U.S.-spec info to find out whether any of these overseas options will be standard equipment here.  

Interior changes put fresh gloss on the cabin overhaul from 2019. Three new trims come in either Natural Elm Burl Silver on the entry-level model, Matte Carbon Twill, or Matte Brushed Aluminum with silver embossing in the S line and SQ7. For increased driver awareness, a screen in the Virtual Cockpit will show other vehicles on the road by type — car, truck, or motorcycle — among other warnings and ADAS features. And Audi’s MMI system gets compatibility with third-party apps like Amazon Music and Spotify.

The engineers didn’t touch the drivetrain. Other markets get two V6 diesels on their engine menu, plus the 3.0-liter V6 gas engine and twin-turbo V8 in the SQ7 that we have. When the Q7 gets here, we expect to stick with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, the 3.0-liter six-cylinder making 335 hp and 369 lb-ft, and the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 500 hp and 568 lb-ft. Stay tuned later this year for U.S. information, likely released on the 2025 Q7.

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