Next-gen Audi Q7 to be among the brand’s final ICE models: Report [Update]

  • Current Q7's life extended with a second facelift
  • Next-gen Q7 to arrive in 2026, the same year as the full-size Q9
  • Future Q7 family will include a two-row model as a replacement for the Q8
  • Expected to be electrified across the range

Update (April 3, 2024): ‘New Audi Q7 Design’ section updated.

Audi has confirmed that all global launches starting in 2026 will be pure-electric vehicles. According to a report from German magazine Auto Bild, Ingolstadt’s the next-gen Audi Q7 will be among the company’s final global combustion models.

The Q7, under production at the Volkswagen Slovakia plant since the end of 2005, is currently in the second generation. The original model was on sale for about ten years, and we expect a similar life span for the current one. In a few years, Audi will lift the covers off the third-gen Q7, and with that the last Audi Q7 with a tailpipe.

New Audi Q7 Design

In mid-November 2023, Audi appeared to be testing the next-gen Q7 using the body of the current model in the Alps. The purported test mule was seemingly towing a dynamometer, which is used to evaluate a vehicle’s performance during simulated uphill and downhill driving situations. It indicated that the next-gen Q7 will have wider tracks and an improved air suspension.

It’s too early to have conclusive descriptions of the next-gen Q7’s design, but illustrator Lars Saltzer’s spectacular rendering for Auto Bild has excited us. The render (set as the story’s featured image) borrows inspiration from the smaller, all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron but presents the new design theme aggressively.

Recent spy shots of a test mule indicate virtual mirrors are out of the question. In addition to the normal glass-type mirrors, this prototype showed an octagonal-shaped, shorter Singleframe, as depicted in Lars Saltzer’s rendering. However, the pattern on the grille looked different and not as attractive. The lower air intake was noticeably taller and wider and featured a honeycomb mesh pattern.

We expect the next-gen Audi Q7 to feature split headlamps comprising ultra-slim, wedge-shaped DRLs on the top and vertically stacked low- and high-beam lights below them. The shape of the redesigned model looks similar to the current SUV.

Interior

It’s safe to assume that the interior of the next-gen Audi Q7 would be completely new. Spy shots have shown it featuring a new cockpit with a single central touchscreen, potentially a large, 15-inch unit that integrates all the vehicle, multimedia, climate, and seat functions. A button-type gear selector instead of a lever may lead to more space and a cleaner center console.

New Audi Q7 plug-in hybrid

The current Q7 was the first Audi model based on the second-generation modular longitudinal platform (MLB evo platform) when it debuted in December 2014. For the third-gen Q7, Audi will likely optimize costs and carry over the platform with upgrades.

The next-gen Q7 should have electrification across variants, with plug-in hybrids offering a practical EV range of more than 50 miles on the WLTP cycle. While BMW’s X5 xDrive50e already boasts of this – 68 miles, Q7 customers (Q7 60 TFSI e) are currently stuck with just 25 miles of zero-emissions range (all range figures are WLTP).

Audi Q7 TFSI e PHEV charging
The current-gen Audi Q7 PHEV, which is unavailable in the U.S., has a very limited EV mode range (WLTP) of 25 miles. Image Source: Audi

The next-gen Audi Q7’s engines would need to comply with the more stringent Euro 7 emission norms in Europe. Instead of developing Euro 7 V8 engines for the most performance-focused variants, Audi engineers may fix up V6 engines with improved electric power and torque. Former CEO Markus Duesmann has said that the company’s last internal combustion engine will be the best it has ever built, and this unit should find its way into the Q7. The mid-range and basic variants may have V6 and inline-four mills with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech.

The next-gen Q7 plug-in hybrid may get one of Audi’s last new internal combustion engines. Oliver Hoffmann, former BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi, talked about these engines at the Audi Annual Media Conference on March 17, 2022. He said that the company’s updated engines won’t arrive before 2025. That means the next-gen Q7, including the next-gen Q7 PHEV, would have these engines as default.

In mid-2025, an updated generation of combustion engines will come, part electric as well —mild-hybrid and PHEV. And then these will come for the second half of the decade, clearly increasing the performance and the efficiency there.

Oliver Hoffmann, former BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi (Audi Annual Media Conference on March 17, 2022)

Release date

The next-gen Audi Q7 will debut in 2026, as per a report Automotive News published on August 6, 2023. The upcoming Q7 line-up will feature a two-row SUV-coupe version, positioned as the successor to the gas-powered Q8, according to the same report.

Audi didn’t find the current Q7’s plug-in hybrid variant suitable for the U.S., even when it could have been eligible for the Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit scheme. Now, with Clean Vehicle Credit having replaced the old scheme and requiring localization of PHEVs as well as their batteries, it is highly unlikely that the next-gen Q7 PHEV will make it to the U.S. either.

Audi electrification strategy

Audi has allocated about EUR 18 billion for electrification, including hybridization, between 2022 and 2026. By 2025, Audi has said that it will expand its EV portfolio to over 20 models, and all the new model launches for the global market from 2026 will be EVs. The company plans to gradually phase out the production of internal combustion engines by 2033. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 from the 2018 level. The Q7 should go all-electric eventually.

TopElectricSUV says

As the first Audi SUV, the Q7 has been a game-changer for the brand. If it weren’t for the Q7, today’s top-two selling Audi models worldwide — the Q5 and Q3 — probably would’ve not existed.

Over the years, the Q7 has proven itself a high-tech German three-row SUV that can go head-to-head with the Mercedes GLE and the BMW X5, which was the boss of the premium SUV segment. With the significant weight and space-efficiency improvements and raft of new technologies brought in the second generation, the Q7 has emerged stronger in its segment. In its third generation, Audi can try making it more exciting to drive while improving its core strengths – practicality and technology.

Next-gen Audi Q7 FAQs

What is the next-gen Audi Q7 release date?

The next-gen Audi Q7 will reportedly arrive in 2026.

What will be the next-gen Audi Q7’s price?

The next-gen Audi Q7’s prices could start between USD 60,000 and 65,000.

Which models will be next-gen Audi Q7 rivals?

The next-gen Audi Q7 will compete with the BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, and Lexus RX.

Featured Image Source: AutoBild/Yumpu