It’s almost been a decade since the Ingolstadt-based Audi opted to enter the sprawling SUV segment with its full-size Q7 model. Now, the second-generation has to compete with equally established names in the segment, such as the third-generation BMW X5.
With so much time on its hands to boil down all the necessary changes, the second gen Q7 could very well be an even bigger hit than its previous reincarnation, as the VW subsidiary seems to have been listening to the criticism and applied the changes to the right places. It’s body has slimmed down, the design has been updated in typical Audi manner, while losing so much weight means that it’s going to be very economical (for the class) and obviously the dynamism also stands to win. Losing 325 kg means the new Q7 is coming in just under two tons, which pits it against a BMW X5 sDrive25d.
Although the Q7 has seen dimensional reductions, it remains a much larger model than its X5 competitor – the length of 5.05 meters comes in 16 centimeters larger than the BMW offering. When it comes to design, each house treats its flagship SUV in typical fashion, while both feature an upgradeable visual image – the generational jump is not a revolution in both cases. They both play out their usual strengths: BMW continues to develop the dual headlight setup and accompanying “kidney” grille while its Audi competitor plays with the LEDs and large single frame radiator grille. From the side, not much has changed from generation to generation in both cases – they’re instantly recognizable. At the back, emphasis is put on the taillights, both having their own interpretation in line with the design doctrine. Obviously, when it comes to design, it’s a matter of personal taste, but it’s also noteworthy that both played the safe card of an incremental update.
Inside, both have the best technologies in the field, and it shows: although this time around here Audi seems to have the edge on innovation. The entire dashboard has been thoroughly reworked and it’s not ported from any other new model – while also showing the advances made in nearly a decade. We could give the edge here to Audi – it features a high-tech design, with less buttons and delivers a clutter-free cockpit. BMW shows a little more traditionalism, in the sense that if you drove the brand’s models you won’t have any problem using the X5 but you also won’t feel any sort of individualism on its behalf. When it comes to engines, the two models are essentially on par. The only noteworthy difference is that Audi has opted for a more unconventional approach to the plug-in hybrid setup. It’s going to have an e-tron Quattro model that combines the iconic TDI diesel to the usual electric motor for a total output of 373 hp and a fuel economy as low as 1.7 liters per 100 kilometers. The BMW X5 is again more traditional, with its own take – constantly previewed by the brand – featuring a gasoline engine mated to the electric motor.