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Audi’s hybrid apart

SUV economy: The Lexus RX400h is set for some serious German rivalry.

Audi confirms petrol-electric Q7 for Oz – and indicates pricing

28 Oct 2005

AUDI’S sizeable seven-seat Q7 made its first local appearance at the Sydney motor show, where Australian Audi officials confirmed both indicative pricing and the availability of the petrol-electric hybrid version of Audi’s first dedicated off-roader.

Q7 is next year set to take the fight up to luxury SUV rivals like BMW’s X5 and the new Mercedes-Benz M-class, both of which offer only five seats.

Audi announced the turbo-diesel 3.0 TDI base model would be priced around $85,000, while the V8-powered 4.2 FSI would cost about $115K – on par with its German rivals.

Standard kit will include a six-speed auto and 18-inch alloys. And, in case you’re wondering, it will come with a full-size spare – unlike the recently launched M-class.

Speaking at unveiling of the Q7 in Sydney, Audi Australia’s general manager of marketing, Javier Degen, confirmed the hybrid version was slated for Australian release approximately 12 months after the launch of the Q7 here in September 2006.

"We are hoping to have this here in two years," he said.

Developed in-house at Audi with help from partners Porsche and Volkswagen, the hybrid Q7 uses a 4.2-litre FSI (direct-injection) V8 petrol engine mated to an electric motor.

On its own, the V8 produces 257kW of power and 440Nm of torque, while the electric unit adds another 32kW and 200Nm respectively.

Fuel use in the 2.41-tonne wagon drops by 13 per cent – to a more respectable 12.0L/100km – while the 0-100km/h sprint takes 6.8 seconds.

Drive to all four wheels is channelled through Audi’s six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

Like Toyota’s hybrid system, the Q7 Hybrid can operate purely on electric power to a set speed (30km/h), solely on the combustion engine, or with both - depending on a variety of conditions.

More conventional Q7 motivation will be provided by a development of Audi’s existing 3.0-litre TDI V6, a new 3.6-litre FSI V6 and the 4.2-litre FSI V8.

7 center imageThe Q7 begins a multi-pronged 4WD assault that will also see the introduction of the second-generation Allroad at the end of 2006.

Like the current model, this Allroad will be A6 Avant-based, but feature greater visual differentiation from its car-like sibling.

And at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, Audi is also expected to unveil the Q5 small 4WD, which will be built on the next-generation (B7) A4 platform and use Audi’s quattro AWD gear, air suspension on some models and a new range of FSI V6 petrol and turbo-diesel engines stretching from 2.4 to 3.6 litres in capacity. FSI V8s may also follow.

In other Audi news, the flagship A8 luxury sedan will receive two turbo-diesel engines in the second quarter of next year.

Grabbing the headlines should be the 4.2-litre TDI V8, the first of its type in the limousine segment dominated by the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7 Series.

Driving all four wheels via a six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox is 240kW and a monstrous 650Nm of torque available from as low as 1600rpm, catapulting the aluminium A8 from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds while returning 9.4L/100km on the Euro combined cycle.

Audi is also aiming for the limousine/hire car market with the 171kW/450Nm A8 3.0-litre TDI V6.

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