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SUVs battle not just tough terrain but accusations of being anti-environment. Audi hope to score some brownie points with the new Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid

Story: Gaurav Nagpal

Many people laud small cars with piddly powerplants as saviours of our planet, weighed down as it is by rising CO2 levels and a depleting ozone layer. You may have the money for a fancy, big SUV but can it deflect the angry glares from environmentalists? Audi hope to be a saviour, with their new Q7 e-tron diesel plug-in hybrid.

The Q7 e-tron will be one of the variants of the new Q7 series, the first Volkswagen Group (of which Audi is a part) product built on the modular MLB platform that would also spawn the next-generation A4. This would be the company’s first model with a TDI e-tron powerplant, and the company claims it is “the world’s first plug-in hybrid with a six-cylinder diesel engine and Quattro all-wheel drive”.

The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine produces peak power of 258 PS. Integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic transmission is a 94-kW electric motor, served by a 17.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combined system output is 373 PS and 700 Nm — impressive, to say the least. In electric-only mode, the Q7 e-tron does the 0-60 km/h sprint in 6.1 seconds and, in the combined mode, the 0-100 km/h dash is dispatched in just 6.0 seconds. The mammoth Q7 e-tron rockets all the way up to a top speed of 224 km/h.

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Audi claim an overall reduction in fuel consumption of 26 per cent across the entire new Q7 range. The Q7 e-tron in particular has an electric-only range of over 50 km on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC); US test figures are likely to be closer to 30-40 km. Combined CO2 emissions are less than 50 g/km, thanks to the overall fuel consumption estimated at 35-60 km/l, which endows the SUV with an overall range of more than 1,200 km. The greens had better not complain.

Audi previously confirmed that the Q7 e-tron would be only their second production e-tron model following the A3 e-tron launched in 2014. Among overall plug-in hybrids, it will compete with the Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid, the Volvo XC90 T8 TwinEngine, and the BMW X5 PHEV. Europe sales begin sometime this year, with the US following soon. There is no word on pricing or on an India launch; considering our affinity for diesel, though, this could be a hot-seller among premium SUVs. Hope to see it soon.


About the author: Online Car India



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