A veteran of the luxury SUV war, the Audi Q7, is getting a major facelift for 2020. In a recent press release, Audi called this facelift “an all-round update.” The refreshed Q7 is set to launch in Europe by mid-September 2019. The changes will bring it in line with the new design of the Q family, including its popular, slightly larger sibling the Q8. But whether the changes made to the second-generation Q7 will finally put it on par with competitors such as the Volvo XC90 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS is up for question.
The mid-cycle refresh that Audi made for this three-row SUV is currently geared for the European market. It’s difficult to say which changes will make it to the American market, except for features that don’t comply with U.S. regulations.
In the meantime, look for these five big changes when Audi launches the 2020 Q7:
1. A More Assertive Exterior
When Audi freshened the Q7’s exterior design, it added 11 millimeters (0.4 inches) to the length of the vehicle in the process. It now measures 16.6 feet.
The front-end styling is updated with a wider grille with six beefy vertical slats, replacing the thinner seven horizontal slats on the 2019 model. The change in the front fascia hints of a family resemblance to the Q8.
To accommodate this change in the grille, Audi has reshaped the headlight clusters with optionally available with matrix LED laser technology. Due to safety regulations, this option may be out of reach for American buyers when the Q7 is released stateside. The other changes to the front end are a redesigned bumper and fancier, two-part inlets.
The side view of the new Q7 shows new sills and rocker panel trim that play up the SUV’s ground clearance and off-road capabilities, as Audi pointed out. The rims look slightly more stylized and angular, but Audi doesn’t specifically mention them in the release.
Moving toward the back, the redesigned tail lights are anchored by an eye-catching aluminum strip that runs across the full width of the SUV. And oddly, Audi continues its romance with faux exhausts in the update, as Andrei Nedelea noted in a recent Top Speed review. They seem to have gotten even larger and more emphasized for 2020, along with a more prominent rear bumper.
2. Inside, New Tech Reigns Supreme
The updated Q7 interior has considerable changes, many of which are tech-related. Dual touchscreens that provide haptic and acoustic feedback are integrated into the cockpit, as they are in the A8, E-Tron and other Audi models. The upper screen handles navigation, audio, and other functions while the lower screen is dedicated to climate control and other vehicle settings. The two displays replace the rotary dial in the 2019 model.
Audi revealed high-end “connect and assist” features that enhance the Q7’s navigation system. The connect features include LTE Advanced wireless connectivity, voice recognition, online traffic information, Google Earth navigation, hybrid radio, and Amazon Alexa voice service.
The European version of the Q7 offers a Car-to-X service that lets the vehicle’s onboard computer communicate with a city’s central traffic light computer server. Based on the information received by the traffic light server, the onboard computer provides a recommended speed and gives the driver an option to sync the Q7’s speed with the timing of traffic lights. This service will be gradually rolled out in cities on the Continent.
Assist features that make it easier for the driver on long trips make a strong showing in the Q7. An adaptive cruise assist system merges adaptive speed assist, traffic jam assist and active lane assist functions. This assist system coordinates with efficiency assist to brake and accelerate in readiness of the conditions ahead. The Q7 also has an emergency assist feature that responds when the driver is inactive by stopping the vehicle if the driver is inactive.
3. An Upgraded Cabin that Echoes the Q8
The tech-intensive focus of the interior nearly overshadows additional enhancements Audi has made there. The interior of the revamped Q7 now matches the level of quality in the Q8, including the comfort of customizable contour seats and the option of a special ambient lighting package. According to Audi, the Q7 surpasses its direct competitors in legroom, headroom, elbow room for front and back seats.
4. Options for Better Ride and Handling
While Audi seems to be keeping the same suspension for the 2020 Q7 as in previous years, the electromechanical active roll stabilization option featured in the SQ7 is being offered. When activated for sporty driving, the system stabilizes the SUV by reducing the amount it leans into curves. On the highway, the system responds with a smoother ride. An all-wheel steering option contributes to the Q7’s maneuverability and stability for both off-road and highway driving.
5. Mild Hybrid Systems for All Engines
At the Q7’s launch in Europe, two diesel engines will be offered, followed later by a gasoline engine and a plug-in hybrid. All engines will employ a 48-volt mild hybrid system that Audi uses to increase efficiency. Audi provided no details about U.S. engine options, but gasoline and hybrid versions are the ones most likely to show up at American dealerships.
A Smarter, Bolder Q7?
By refreshing the Q7, Audi has aligned its looks with the rest of the Q models as well as having given it more of an off-road aesthetic. But some buyers may not take to its wider, toothier grille and other aspects of its new looks, even with a treasure trove of tech gadgets inside. The 2020 Q7 will probably hit the U.S. market sometime in the first half of next year, so potential American buyers must wait until then to take a test drive.
All images provided by the manufacturer unless otherwise noted.