A new prototype of the next-generation Audi Q7 SUV has been spied testing at the Nurburgring and this particular test mule is particularly interesting because it is the first plug-in hybrid variant snapped so far.

The car gives up its real identity as a Q7 Plug-In Hybrid because of the electric warning stickers across the rear end as well as featuring two ‘fuel’ caps with one for petrol and the other to refill the batteries with electricity.

Beyond being offered as a hybrid, the new Audi Q7 will feature the Volkswagen Group’s MLB structure which will also be utilised in the production-ready Bentley SUV, Lamborghini Urus and future Porsche Cayenne and Touareg models. Thanks to this extensive change, the 2015 Audi Q7 is expected to weigh at least 300 kg (660 pounds) less than the current car.

From this prototype, we can see that the 2016 Audi Q7 will feature a host of visual modifications including tweaked headlights and taillights, a redesigned front grille and front air intakes as well as modified bumpers both front and rear. This particular prototype also features new rectangular exhaust pipes.

Under the hood, the 2015 Audi Q7 will be available with a selection of different engines just like the current car. While such systems have yet to be confirmed, they’re likely to include a twin-turbo V8 engine with upwards of 430 hp, a 3.0-liter TFSI V6 producing 310 hp and a selection of different diesel engines. These could include a 3.0-liter TDI V6 delivering 258 hp and a 4.2-liter V8 TDI with 385 hp. Additionally, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with 240 hp is possible with the plug-in hybrid all but confirmed.

Topping out the range will be the 2016 Audi SQ7. It will be the company’s second diesel powered S model offered by Audi alongside the SQ5 SUV and will feature an electric turbo engine similar to the recently revealed Audi RS5 TDI Concept.

[Via Carscoops]

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