With the Q7, the German brand Audi adds its own vision of sport-utility to its range, “more exciting and sporty, less utilitarian”, as the design chief of Audi Brand Group, Walter de’ Silva, defines the impressive car debuting at the Frankfurt Show.

The decision to build an SUV for the Audi brand goes back to the beginning of 2002 when Volkswagen presented the Magellan concept car at the Detroit Show, an anticipation of the production Touareg, namely of the “twin” of the Porsche Cayenne. That same floorpan would later also serve for a third vehicle, this time for Audi, and the styling explorations of brand designers began immediately. The result was revealed to the public at the next Detroit Show, in January 2003: this was the Pikes Peak prototype, innovative but highly credible. “The Q7 is 80% Pikes Peak,” de’ Silva points out, saying that the modifications were the result mainly of production-related technical constraints. The front remained practically identical, like the sides, while the rear light trim changes.

Only the interior presents more evident differences compared to the prototype, as almost always happens. The Pikes Peak was a six-seater car with four seats set on two rows and a bench seat behind these, whereas “the Q7 was born with seven seats from day one, even though the cab is highly flexible and five, six or seven-seat configurations are possible. The cab design is ergonomic, rational, “more oriented towards the canons of the top-of-the-range saloon than towards those of the off-roader. The lines are, however, resolutely dynamic. And then there is the usual attention to every tiniest detail and the high quality of the materials, an absolute must for Audi”, comments de’ Silva again.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 154

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