Audi is clearly not too bothered about hiding its forthcoming Q7 off-roader as it continues development testing with minimal disguise. The elegant new 4x4 will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with UK sales starting early next year. First revealed in concept form at the 2003 Detroit Motor Show, the Q7 will take Audi into competition with the BMW X5, Mercedes M-class and Range Rover Sport. It will be sold alongside the next A6 Allroad that will also arrive in the UK in 2006. The basis for the Q7 is a modified VW Touareg platform with a 130mm longer wheelbase, taking it to 2985mm. The added length provides enough space for an optional third row of seats. In a bid to give the Q7 better handling than its rivals, Audi has ditched the Touareg’s heavy transfer case and is engineering the car’s 4x4 system to provide a 40/60 rear-drive split – as seen on the second-generation RS4 revealed last month.
Among the powerplants for the Q7 are new 280bhp 3.6-litre V6 and 335bhp 4.2-litre V8 petrol units, as well as 225bhp 3.2-litre V6 and 315bhp 4.2-litre V8 common-rail diesel engines.