It has been a closely-guarded secret, but Audi has been working on a petrol/electric hybrid future. And this Q7 concept, presented at last week's Frankfurt motor show, is the result. Though currently only a concept, this eco-friendly Q7 could become a production reality by 2008 to tackle the Lexus RX400h and forthcoming Mercedes ML hybrid.
The hybrid version of Audi's brand-new seven-seater premium 4x4 combines a 4.2-litre V8 FSI petrol engine, producing 345bhp and 325lb ft of torque, with an electric motor fitted between the combustion engine and the six-speed auto that adds up to 43bp and 148lb ft of torque. Powered by a Nickel Metal Hydride battery housed beneath the boot floor, the electric motor is able to power the Q7 on its own up to 18mph, or when working in conjunction with the V8 produces an impressive performance advantage over the standard V8. From rest to 62mph takes just 6.8sec, yet the Q7 hybrid returns an average fuel consumption of 23.5mpg, 13 per cent better than the Q7 V8.
The motor and battery weigh-in at 140kg, taking the Q7's total weight up to 2410kg, still significantly lighter than Land Rover's seven-seat Discovery.