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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Audi Q7 shows new face after second, and likely last, makeover

Refresh, complete with standard hybrid assistance on all models, comes four years after the Q7's initial model upgrade.

Having soldiered on in relative obscurity since its first mid-life update four years ago, Audi has taken the wraps off of its newly tweaked Q7 in what is likely to be its final makeover ahead of Ingolstadt becoming fully electric by 2030.

Radical new look

Still its second generation having debuted nine years ago, the Four Rings’ sister model to the Volkswagen Touareg, built on the same MLB Evo platform also used by the Bentley Bentayga Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus, boasts styling from its Q8 sibling as part of a redesign supposed to reflect to a “minimalist form”.

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In-line to be demoted next year from its position as Audi’s flagship SUV by the long delayed Q9, the Q7’s reworked facia comprises a new Singleframe grille, redesigned front and rear bumpers, wider side intakes, a rounded but narrower lower air intake and new alloy wheels designs ranging from 20 to 22-inches.

As with the Q8, the Q7 also gets new head-and-taillights, the former equipped with Matrix LEDs as standard, or optionally with the HD Matrix diodes that actives full beam automatically at speeds above 70 km/h.

Audi uncovers newly facelift again Q7
Along with new, optional, OLED taillights, the Q7 also boasts a new colour option called Ascari Blue. Image: Audi

In the case of the taillights, OLED technology can be had as option over the standard LEDs. Regardless though, both get dynamic indicators as well as follow-me-home illumination.

Completing the visual enhancements are three new colours; Sakhir Gold, Chili Red and Ascari Blue, while as a further option, the black styling package carries over, along with the S line pack that comes standard on the range-topping SQ7.

Look hard inside

Inside, comparatively little has changed as apart from new colours and material inserts, the Volkswagen Group’s updated MIB3 software now features within the 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system.

Audi uncovers newly facelift again Q7
Interior has not received any major design or styling tweaks. Image: Audi

Also retained is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, the 8.6-inch climate control panel and the S line interior package as an option.

Dimensionally unchanged once again, the Q7 continues to provide seating for seven with boot space ranging from 867-litres in five seat form, to 2 050-litres with the second row folded down.

Underneath and up front

Underneath, the Q7’s chassis has been altered slightly in the form of a new, optional, electronic air suspension system with continuous damping plus a Lift mode that raises the ride height by 60 mm when going off-road, rear-wheel steering working in conjunction with the mild-hybrid active roll stabilisation system, and recalibrated steel springs in the case of the air suspension not being opted for.

On the power front, all engines are now combined with a mild-hybrid system in the guise of the 48-volt belt-starter/generator Audi says improves consumption by 0.5 L/100 km.

Still able to tow 3 500 kg, the range kicks-off with the 55 TFSI, whose 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6 develops 250kW/340Nm. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h with 0-100 km/h taking 5.6 seconds.

Updated Audi SQ7 makes world debut
SQ7 has also been privy to the same external changes. Image: Audi

As with the Q8, the entry-level 45 TFSI has been phased-out, along with the plug-in hybrid 55 TFSI e and 60 TFSI e derivatives for reasons unknown.

Carried over without change, bar the hybrid system, the now Euro 7 compliant 3.0 TDI again comes in two states of tune; 170kW/500Nm in 45 TDI badged models, and 210kW/600Nm in the top-spec 50 TDI.

In terms of performance, the 45 TDI will get from 0-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 226 km/h, while the 50 TDI will complete the benchmark sprint in 6.1 seconds before hitting a v-max of 241 km/h.

As before, all of the mentioned powerplants are hooked to an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox entrusted with sending each’s amount of twist to all four wheels.

Petrol only SQ7

With the departure of the 4.0 TDI V8 as the biggest option, the SQ7 becomes a petrol exclusive motivated by the familiar 4.0 TFSI V8.

Updated Audi SQ7 makes world debut
Flagship Q7 swaps the 4.0 TDI V8 for the 4.0 TFSI V8 in all markets. Image: Audi

The most powerful engine the Q7 will have as an RS model is unlikely in contrast to the RS Q8, the twin-turbo bent-eight develops 373kW/770Nm sends through the same Tiptronic ‘box to all four corners.

Unusually firing a 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 cylinder sequence, the SQ7 will sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 250 km/h.

Updated Audi SQ7 makes world debut
S line interior package optional on the Q7 comes standard on the SQ7. Image: Audi

As part of its unique accommodations, the SQ7 rides on Audi Sport 21 or 22-inch alloy wheels and stops significantly quicker thanks to ventilated brakes made-up of a 400 mm disc setup at the front and 350 mm at the rear.

Still to be confirmed

Going on-sale in Europe from the first quarter of this year with pricing from €79 300 (R1 620 980) to €112 000 (R2 289 404) in Germany, the facelift Q7 and SQ7 have so far not been confirmed for South Africa, though expect an announcement to made in due course.

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