The next generation Audi Q7 is on its way to dealer lots soon. The new Q7 is a massive upgrade over the previous generation in every way. It’s lighter, more powerful, more efficient, handles better and has much better technology. It even looks significantly better than the, good looking but aging, previous-gen Q7. But it isn’t just its own predecessor that the new Q7 must beat. Competition is hot in the seven-seat luxury SUV segment, with attackers coming from all sides. The Q7 typically competes with its German rivals, the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GL Class. But it’s been getting some new competition lately, so let’s take a look at how it stacks up to some of its newest competition.
Audi Q7 – First let’s look at what the Q7 brings to the table. The new, second-generation Q7 is built on Volkswagen Group’s newest MLB architecture, which will be used by Audi, Porsche and Bentley on upcoming vehicles, which has made it a few inches smaller overall. More importantly, however, is the fact that the new Q7 has lost nearly 700 lbs from the previous generation, now weighing in at around 4,500 lbs. That’s akin to taking a motorcycle and its rider out of the trunk. It also looks fantastic, and possibly the most aggressive looking SUV on the road, with a wonderfully airy and tech-filled interior.
The Q7 comes with a couple of engine options, a 333 hp 3.0 liter Supercharged V6 or a 272 hp 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel. The latter engine makes up for its lack of horsepower with a whopping 443 lb-ft of torque at just 1,500 rpm. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission and power all four wheels, via Quattro all-wheel drive. It also features 27 cubic ft of cargo space (770 liters), which is good for best in class.
Range Rover Sport – The new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have also undergone a significant weight loss over their previous generations. However, despite being made mostly out of aluminum and losing a large chunk of weight, the Range Rover Sport still weighs in at around 4,900 lbs. Making it significantly heavier than the Q7. It does make up for all of that heft with some serious off-road capability that shames nearly everything in its class. Though the Q7 and XC90 aren’t too shabby when the road disappears, the Range Rover Sport puts them to shame.
The Range also makes up for its significant weight disadvantage with power. Engine options are a 340 hp 3.0 liter Supercharged V6 or a psychopathic 510 hp 5.0 liter Supercharged V8. The V8 makes the Range Rover the fastest in its class, though it is the least economical by far. The Range also has the smallest third row and least cargo space. However, it does look spectacular and the interior is quite nice as well. Though I think both the XC90 and Q7 have the Range beat in terms of both cabin quality and tech. The Range Rover is the oldest of the bunch, the heaviest and the least economical, but it is also the most powerful and is the best off-road. So it’s still a compelling option.
Volvo XC90 – The original XC90 lasted a decade, testament to how good it actually was. The XC90 was never the best off-road, it was never the best performer and never the most luxurious. But it was able to blend competence in every area to create a sensible and enjoyable Swedish alternative to the typical German and British SUVs. The new model, however, is fresh and high-tech. With masculine square-jawed good looks, a beautifully simplistic and luxurious interior and all of the safety features one can imagine, the XC90 is a fresh take on the full-sized SUV.
While the XC90 is heavier than the Q7, at around 4,600 lbs, it’s significantly lighter than the Range Rover. However, the XC90 makes up for its extra weight with some very interesting engine options. The base T6 engine option is a 2.0 liter four-cylinder that is both Turbocharged and Supercharged to make a decent 316 hp and is mated to an 8-speed ZF auto. Though double “charging” the engine does create for poor fuel economy, a 17 mpg average. However, if fuel economy is the name of your game, the T8 plug-in hybrid is available. This uses the same twin-charged engine as the T6 but uses an electric motor at the rear to make it all-wheel drive. This powertrain gives the XC90 a combined 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. So while the XC90 might not be the best at every category, it is certainly a refreshing take on the full-sized luxury SUV.
The second generation Audi Q7 is a spectacular SUV and could possibly be best-in-class, with its combination of power, performance, luxury, economy and technology. However, it does face stiff competition from all over the market. We won’t know for sure, how it stacks up, but on paper at least, the Q7 seems to be the best combination of things.