With all the buzz surrounding the recently unveiled Audi Q8 (as well as Audi’s recent decision to make it the flagship of its SUV lineup) it can be understandably easy to forget that amid all of this activity, a second large opulently equipped Audi SUV populates dealer lots. The 2019 Q7 is larger, and boasts a three row seating layout. However, with its rather drab styling and dated architecture, the Q7 can be an entry that does not necessarily leap out at consumers. Audi is out to change that, and has unveiled a rather ambitious refresh for 2020 that should breathe new life into the venerable nameplate.
Both the front and rear fascias have been heavily revamped, and its no surprise that the Q8 served as a potent design influence for this particular exercise. The front fascia embraces many of the cues that are prevalent in Audi’s current SUV design language, with the headlights featuring the latest LED technology that the company has to offer. The rear LED taillights look equally trippy, and bring much more aggression to the rear flanks than its outgoing and decidedly duller predecessor. Larger wheels also help amp up the side profile, and even bring some sport to the Q7’s DNA. With athleticism beginning to be a prominent theme in three row SUV design, it’s nice to see that the Q7 is eagerly embracing this trend head on.
Meanwhile, the interior is arguably where the bulk of the changes take place. Just like in the smaller Q8, the Q7 adopts the latest version of Audi’s MMI software, and overall the basic design of the cabin is largely in step with the Q8. This is actually a good thing, considering that Audi already makes exceptional interiors, and the last thing it would want to do is loosen the slack on arguably their second most important entry in the stable. Look for button ergonomics to also be improved, as well as a bigger suite of optional extras to help bring more individuality and customization features to the Q7. We also look forward to seeing if the cramped third row of the Audi Q7 has been improved to help make the space more accessible to a wider range of occupants.
Audi has also made vast improvements to the performance hardware, but with the brand choosing to release Europe only figures in today’s release, we will have to wait another day to find out what exact changes are in store for U.S. engine offerings. In the meantime, we do know that the suspension system benefits from the addition of several new components. For instance, the electromechanical roll stabilization technology from the SQ7 is now an optional extra on select Q7 trims, and four wheel steering is also newly available for buyers that want to try and steal a page from the Porsche Cayenne’s playbook in the quest for enhanced handling behavior.
While it is largely unknown what we can expect in terms of performance figures, the company’s European engine lineup does provide some key clues. Models sold there will initially launch with a pair of diesel engines, followed by the arrival of a gasoline powered model, and a plug-in hybrid variant that will appear later in the Q7’s production run. Meanwhile in the U.S. we will most likely get the latter two offerings, with all the engines being paired to an eight speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
Audi plans to launch the 2020 Q7 in Europe in mid-September later this year, with the initial push expected to begin in its home German market. With this timetable in mind, we could see the first examples begin to appear in the U.S. not long after that, perhaps in time for Christmas where it would have a very welcome place under the Christmas trees of lucky SUV buyers. Look for pricing to also not undergo any noticeable changes, with only minor increases and select revisions dominating this area. For comparison, the 2019 Audi Q7 2.0 liter model has a base MSRP of $54,545 which includes the $995 destination fee.