At next week's Shanghai Auto Show, Audi will take the wraps off of its updated Q7, which features updated interior and exterior styling along with the latest version of Audi's fantastic MMI infotainment system. Expect it in U.S. showrooms by the end of the year.
Following up on the recent addition of a diesel engine to the Q7 line, Audi is further updating its flagship SUV with all the latest Audi design cues. Most noticeable are the exterior changes, especially up front. Like the rest of the brand, the Q7 now sports a line of LEDs around the Xenon headlights that serve as daytime running lights. Below, the old turn signals have likewise been swapped out for a thin row of orange LEDs.
More prominent is the new grille, which Audi has updated with vertical chrome strips rather than the old horizontal ones, making it appear shorter and wider and giving it a bit more presence than the old grille, whose pattern tended to get lost in the monotone black finish. Below, an updated bumper gives the brake ducts a bit more style while the reduced size of the extra openings around the fog lights help the front end look a bit shorter and sleeker.
Out back, it's a similar story. The taillights have been upgraded to LED units and the indentation in the tailgate where the license plate mounts has been enlarged to accept any plate, saving Audi from having to build different tailgates for different markets. Audi has also spruced up the exterior with two-tone mirrors, chrome door handles, 11 color options and 10 different 18- and 21-in. wheel designs.
Audi decided to give the interior a bit more pop as well. Extra chrome accents on the switch gear and new wood trim on the passengers side of the dash give the interior a bit more flash, while new leather on the front seats and ambient lighting in the doors help give the Q7 an even more comfortable image. The crown jewel of the interior, though, is the latest version of Audi's superb MMI infotainment system, updated with the latest graphics and 3D navigation displays, Sirius traffic-based navigation, Sirius artist and title preview and voice-based destination input control, which allows the driver to say a simple phrase like "I'm hungry" and see a list of the nearest restaurants.
Under the hood, the Q7 will carry three engine options in the U.S. and up to six in other markets. U.S. buyers who prefer petroleum can choose from a 3.6L V-6 or a 4.2L V-8, the former putting out 240 hp and 265 lb-ft while achieving 19 mpg on average and the latter producing 350 hp and 325 lb-ft while achieving 18 mpg on average. American oil-burning fans can opt for a 3.0L clean diesel that puts out 240 hp and 406 lb-ft, achieves 26 mpg on average and is the cleanest diesel in the world, according to Audi. Other markets can also opt for a standard 3.0L diesel V-6, a 4.2L diesel V-8 and a massive V-12 diesel. All of the engines put their power to the ground through a Tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission and Quattro AWD system.
Audi won't announce pricing until the official launch date gets a bit closer, but we wouldn't be surprised to see at least a small jump in prices. Expect V-6 models to come in a bit above the 2009 model's $43,325 MSRP, V-8 models to start higher than the current $59,425 MSRP and the diesel to cost a bit more than the current $51,725 (all prices include $825 delivery charge). Look for the updated Q7 in your local showroom in the fall as a 2010 model.