For Sale By:Dealer
Disability Equipped: No
Sub Model: SPORT NAV PANOROOF
Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive
Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States
Sure, this looks largely like an Audi Q7. What if we told you, though, that it was actually a Bentley? This may be one of the very first sets of images we've seen of the aristocratic brand's SUV. Based on the borrowed Audi bodywork, however, testing appears to be in the early stages.
While it may look like an Audi Q7, there are a number of giveaways. One of the more subtle are the British number plates, in place of the traditional German plates that would be found were this a mule for the next Q7. Other changes are more noticeable. According to our spies, this mule is much wider, while its fenders have also been enlarged to accommodate larger wheels and tires.
Out back, four exhaust pipes jut out from the lower fascia, while larger brakes are hidden behind black wheels. The big indicator that this is something special, though, can be seen in the front fascia. The heavily modified front clip is home to two massive intakes below the headlights. According to our spies, these conceal a pair of intercoolers. Whether they are for Bentley (and Audi's) twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 or the 6.0-liter W12 is unclear.
Audi could be getting even more diverse with its powertrains for the A6, A8 and Q7, moving beyond offering just gas- and diesel-powered models and adding plug-in hybrid variants of the three luxury vehicles. The report comes from Indian Autos Blog, which spoke to Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi's research and design chief, who confirmed the PHVs.
The next-generation Q7, due in 2015, will be the pioneer for the full-size PHV movement from Audi, although the A3 Sportback E-Tron (shown above) will precede it. The move toward plug-ins by Audi is a big step, as the German marque has stayed quite firmly in the diesel camp, outside of its racing efforts. It's developed a few E-Tron cars over the years, including a version based on the R8, although it wasn't until recently that production of the electric sports car became serious again.
It's believed that this hesitance to really dive into the PHV market is why Audi sacked former research and design boss Wolfgan Dürheimer, with IAB speculating that his approach was too conservative.
Audi definitely made the US wait for the refreshed 2015 A8 and S8. The updated models were first unveiled last summer, but it has taken until June for the revised flagship sedan to reach dealers here.
The refreshed A8 line doesn't come cheap, though. Prices are up $2,000 or more over the 2014 model year. The basic 3.0T model goes for $77,400 or $81,400 for the long wheelbase version. The long wheelbase TDI is $85,100. The standard 4.0T model asks $86,400 or $90,400 for the longer one. An S8 sets back buyers $114,900, and the full bore A8L W12 is $137,900. All of these prices exclude destination (which was $895 last year and now stands at $925, according to Audi representative Mark Dahncke).
To make the wait worth it, Audi is packing the sedan with new technology and given it the slightest restyle. All models of the luxurious vehicle now come standard with full LED headlights. The 2015 model also benefits from electromechanical steering, available variable ratio steering and active lane assist. The night vision system is also updated to detect animals and alert the driver. Mechanically, there are some tiny tweaks as well. The 4.0T V8 is boosted to 435 horsepower, compared to 420 hp previously, and the 6.3-liter W12 now has cylinder deactivation.