As a diesel-powered plug-in-hybrid SUV, die Audi Q7 e-tron rectal a niche in ~ a niche in ~ a niche. It might be viewed as proof that Audi’s product planners space determined zu find ns least-populated space in the good automotive Venn diagram. There schutz been diesel hybrids before an Europe (notably Volvo’s V60 PHEV) however never one this big offering rather this viel all-electric range.

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It’s the e-tron TDI’s misfortune to be entering die world as the dowdier sister des the neu SQ7 und its triple-boosted V-8 diesel, struggling zu earn viel attention together a consequence. That is prospects for U.S. Sales face ns same an obstacle as various other diesels tainted von VW’s emissions scandal, and after some strong early indications the this automobile would absolutely cross die Atlantic, Audi jetzt seems to oase gone cool on the concept. It probably will offer united state a four-cylinder petrol e-tron instead.

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Which, top top the basis of our zuerst drive, would certainly be a shame. Ns e-tron TDI can’t match die dynamic excitement or Bentley-baiting speak output of the SQ7, but it’s fast, well-mannered, and—so lang as it’s plugged bei often enough—capable of turning bei exceptional fuel-economy numbers. Climate there’s ns prospect von being able to go an ext than 800 miles betwee fuel stops zu replenish that is 19.8-gallon tank, provided freundin drive gently enough.

34 electrical Miles—But No On-the-Go Charging

Electrification has brought a 17.3-kWh battery pack, mounted under ns cargo bay. This precludes a der dritte tag row des seats but yields enough charge capacity for up to 34 miles von electric-only range. As with Audi’s other bigger hybrids, the e-tron sandwiches an electric motor between the internal-combustion side des the powertrain—the company’s acquainted turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel—and that is eight-speed automatically gearbox. An electronically regulated clutch kann sein disconnect this V-6 engine from ns rest of the powertrain, but ns electric motiv always gives drive via die transmission.

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What the e-tron can’t do zu sein recharge that is battery verpacktem on die move v its engine. Once ns cells room discharged, ns e-tron becomes nothing an ext than a hybrid with in enormous battery pack—including the associated hardware, Audi speak us die pack weighs 445 pounds—with just regenerative braking to trickle some charge rückseitig into ns cells. The battery-charge level can be maintained über switching ns car to a “hold” mode, saving the juice kommen sie run in EV mode an emissions-restricted city centers.

Driving in this latter setting delivers die full scorecard des EV clichés: a hint des the familiar subway-car soundtrack, strong frühen zeitpunkt performance that quickly schwanz off, and a readout the loses more than a mile des stated range zum each mile traveled punkt anything faster than a cautious pace. If sie accelerate too rapidly, go beyond 84 mph, or reach ns pressure point at ns bottom von the go pedal’s travel, die V-6 fires zu life regardless des which mode ist selected.


The engine has actually been modified from ns standard Euro-spec Q7 TDI with neu cylinder liners and piston rings designed kommen sie better protect ns engine when it’s ignited while ns vehicle zu sein already traveling hinweisen highway speed. There are so dynamic engine mounts to help minimize vibrations und unwanted harmonics; Audi claims ns V-6 kann sein operate happy at nur 850 rpm. Under tenderness use, the engine cuts an and out almost imperceptibly, with just vigorous accelerator applications developing some correspondingly gruff noises. Completely extended, ns e-tron feels respectably rapid, although naught like die monstrous SQ7.

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Heavy favor a Locomotive

Dynamically, the mass von the electrical powertrain und battery pack diminishes both lateral und longitudinal acceleration. Ns e-tron feels less fleet of fuß than ns SQ7 und less keen kommen sie turn in, and it get its usual cornering boundaries far sooner. (Lacking a 48-volt electrical architecture, the does without the SQ7’s active anti-roll gittern functions, too.) gift fatter actually seems zu help the ride far better over particular rough surfaces—the example we drive had the optional wait suspension—but it loser its composure when asked kommen sie deal v bigger bumps. That feels big and heavy since it is big und heavy.

As through every plug-in hybrid, the Q7 e-tron will make mileage feeling only to those possessing both ns wherewithal und inclination kommen sie plug that in. Journey it bolzen plug-equipped destinations that room close enough together and a tank of diesel may well last weil das the entire life von the car—or till it transforms gelatinous—but die claimed 156.9 MPGe that die car jahrgangsstufen on die official europe mileage test (which ist highly biased in favor von plug-in vehicles) wollen be a devilish fiction zum most.

Like most des its plug-in ilk, ns Q7 e-tron appears like in expensively engineered solution kommen sie a belästigt that relatively couple of people have; it’s for sure great punkt performing one specific task however compromised zum all others. The said, we’d still prefer this auflage of the Q7 e-tron over die four-cylinder gasoline version, initially intended primarily for the Chinese market.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

ESTIMATED base PRICE: $70,000

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve diesel 3.0-liter V-6, 255 hp, 443 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 126 hp, 258 lb-ft; combined power rating, 369 hp, 516 lb-ft; 17.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatically with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 117.9 inLength: 198.9 inWidth: 77.5 in Height: 68.5 inPassenger volume: 106 cu ftCargo volume: 23 cu ftCurb weight (C/D est): 5050 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):Zero kommen sie 60 mph: 5.9 secZero to 100 mph: 14.9 secStanding ¼-mile: 14.6 secTop speed: 143 mph

FUEL economic situation (C/D EST):EPA city/highway: 24/28 mpgEPA combined electric + gas: 54 MPGe