Spy photographers have caught a next generation Audi Q7 mule cold weather testing in Sweden today. If it doesn't look much different from the current car, don't fret. Audi usually tests cars early in their gestation period wearing bodywork from the current car.
Underneath the Q7 bodywork is where the key changes are. The next-generation Q7 will migrate to Audi's modular longitudinal architecture (MLB) that already unerpins the A4, A5, Q5, A6, A7 and A8. By the time the Q7 appears on MLB Audi will have put into production an evolution dubbed MLB-evo that makes even further gains on weight reduction. As a result, Audi engineers have already revealed that the new Q7 will shed some 400 kg. And though it will be lighter, it appears size won't change much.
The front overhang is expected to be less and that's probably one of the reasons this mule has the most notable changes at the nose. More than likely, those air inlets mirror the openings on the next-generation car to better simulate airflow for the drivetrain. Those turn signals and lighting in the bumper aren't quite up to Audi's clean design details but it is important to remember this is a mule. Based on what we've seen with the current-generation of cars like A6, A7 and A8, it's entirely probable that all lighting functions will be performed in the headlight assembly. Interestingly, this headlight assembly is a bit different from the current production unit internally and we're not sure what (if anything) that signals though we bet there are some current Q7 owners out there who wouldn't mind having a set for their cars.
Also of note on this mule are the fender flares. The tack-on fender flares of this mule indicate that the next-generation Q7 will have a wider track than the current car. With such an aggressive weight drop we wondered if the Q7 would shrink in size. It now seems that, if anything, the Q7 will grow.
For the record, the Q7's two corporate cousins that share the current chassis - the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, will also move to MLB for their next generation as well.
See more spy photos of this MLB Q7 test mule after the jump.
PHOTO GALLERY: Q7 TEST MULE