Spy-Shots of Cars

The Audi Q7 turns eight this year. Yup, it has been that long since it debuted in 2005, and it last got an update in 2009. That’s a long time for a car to survive without major modernisation, making it a bit of a dinosaur among its peers. Apart from the Volvo XC90 that is, which is even older. No surprise then, that the next-gen Audi Q7 is already in the works.

Don’t be fooled by the familiar looks, the car above is a test mule for Audi’s new flagship SUV. Notice how the wheels don’t quite fit within the makeshift bulging arches, and the nose looks to have been tampered with too. Both are telltale signs of fitting an old existing bodyshell onto a brand new platform for test purposes before the final design is finalised.

It looks pedestrian enough to drive around in public without attracting attention, until it encountered our sharp European spy photographers. Rumours are the Q7 will be put on an extreme diet to shave 300 kg off its weight. It’s still unclear if it’ll use a modified VW Touareg/Porsche Cayenne platform as before or a new all-aluminium chassis to match the latest Range Rover.

Regardless of that decision, expect the next-gen Audi Q7 to go through the usual engine downsizing regime. Choices should include the force-fed 3.0 V6 diesel and 4.0 V8 petrol engines we’ve seen on recent Audis, along with hybrid variants too. Either way, it looks set to maintain its size advantage over other premium alternatives, leaving Audi’s planned smaller SUVs to take them head on.