The new Audi Q7 will debut not just a much lighter chassis and all-new styling outside, but a cabin that is fresh from the carpet upward and absolutely packed with tech goodies.
Where to start? The latest Virtual Cockpit design uses a 12.3-inch TFT panel in the main guage cluster, able to show 3D instruments, full Google-Earth navigation and maps, and a dozen other custom displays as needed. These are operated by voice, redundant knobs and buttons on the wheel and dash, or by the new MMI Touch control panel with multi-touch capabilities (ahead of the shifter).
On the road, the Q7's second-generation, Nvidia-developed Modular Infotainment Matrix by Nvidia controls the central screens, dash display with a T30 processor. The 11-inch rear tablets run on a separate Tegra4 chipset -- with all able to handle individual functions and displays depending on what is needed: climate, maps, online services or media playback, etc.
The online portion of the Audi Connect suite takes a huge leap into the future with a built-in 4G LTE connection for the car itself, plus a hotspot for its users' devices.
Speaking of phone syncing and pairing, the Q7 also debuts a new chargebox system for inductive phone charging when your iPhone or Android device is wearing a special case.
In terms of syncing, the Q7 is equipped with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This suite lets the new MMI screens become a second screen, showing and allowing control of most phone apps and services right from the Audi MMI screens.
It is all a bit of a mouthful to describe or take in, but these features help the Q7 vault well ahead of the Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg in terms of cabin technology. The cruz will be how easy these features are to use -- but running push updates from Audi will be able to hotfix and patch any software glitches via the built-in SIM car and 4G processors.
The Audi Connect suite for true WLAN in-car internet is sure to have a monthly fee for owners eventually, with pricing typically about $200-$300 annually projected. This might seem steep, but once accustomed to all these connected services -- it will be very hard to go back.
Above all, this new tech helps the Q7's cabin to feel luxurious and extremely modern. When you want to just drive and relax, the myriad tech controls will sink to black and let you relax.
We're projecting the new Q7 to arrive stateside around July of 2015 as a 2016 model-year, with pricing from $60,000 upward. A hybrid powertrain and perhaps even a front-drive base model will be part of the product mix eventually. Standard engines will be a turbo (perhaps supercharged instead) TFSI V6 or atmospheric V8, plus a turbo-diesel six-cylinder TDI.
2016 Audi Q7 Cabin Tech
Most of us today aspire to be “always on” in everyday life, including in our cars. The Audi connect solutions are Audi’s response to this. Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, music streaming or an online update of the navigational map, Audi offers its customers a broad selection of cloud-based applications, all supported by ultrafast data transfer based on the LTE standard. A smartphone can be used in the familiar way. In addition, it can now open and lock the car via the Audi mobile key function.
Audi connect broadband Internet module
Audi ranks among the pioneers in the field of mobile networking. The brand began an intense cooperation with leading suppliers of hardware and software in 2005. Four years later, Audi connect in-car internet services became available. In 2010, Audi became the first manufacturer to introduce broadband internet access via an integrated UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) module throughout its model range. In 2013, the brand presented a fully integrated LTE (Long-Term Evolution) module.
Today, the Audi connect module with broadband internet access combined with a mobile WLAN hotspot is available in many Audi models, enhancing the brand’s top-of-the-line MMI Navigation Plus and marking a great step for Audi in terms of mobile high-speed internet. The integrated WLAN hotspot allows the car’s passengers to connect as many as eight personal mobile devices.
LTE – a wireless standard five times as fast
The fully integrated LTE module supports data rates of up to 100 Mbit/s downstream, 50 Mbit/s upstream, making for very short response times and permitting exchange of large amounts of data. Passengers in the new Audi A3 can run different applications at the same time on their mobile devices.
For example, one passenger might participate in a video conference while another watches a movie. The driver, too, benefits greatly from LTE technology, such as when using Audi connect services, among them navigation based on Google Earth and Google Street View, which load extremely quickly. Full integration of LTE will permit further expansion of the Audi connect offering, starting with cloud-based music and social media all the way to car-to-X services such as wireless payments and exchange of information with traffic lights.
Audi connect in the new Audi Q7
Audi will expand the connect portfolio further in the new Q7 to be launched this year. MMI Navigation plus will come with a pre-installed LTE module.
Briefly after market launch, the Audi Q7 will offer new services beyond the current Audi connect portfolio “Audi connect Emergency Calling & Service” will become available, offering emergency calling, online calls in case of a breakdown and online booking of Audi service appointments. The “Audi connect vehicle management” package includes vehicle status report, remote locking and unlocking, park position as well as remote operation of the optional auxiliary heater. “Audi connect Emergency Calling & Service” will be free of charge for 10 years.
On the launch of this new SUV, Audi will add another gem to its Audi connect portfolio as Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto become available via the Audi smartphone interface. Audi has been in contact with Apple since early 2013 and with Google since 2014 to ensure its customers benefit quickly and widely.
Connect an iOS or Android cellular phone is connected to the USB port (iOS from version 7.1; Android from version 5.0 Lollipop) and the respective environment will open in the Audi smartphone interface. Both are tailored for use in the car. A the core of this feature is online music. This opens up the gigantic offering of Google Play Music and iTunes to Audi drivers.
In addition, both platforms offer navigation functions, missed call/appointment reminders and messaging functions. Functions can be controlled via voice, the rotary pushbutton and via the multifunction keys on the steering wheel. In the future, numerous 3rd-party applications such as Pandora, Spotify and Whatsapp will complement the offering. Audi will be demonstrating the new Audi smartphone interface at 2015 CES in an S3* concept car and other technology exhibits.