The heavily-guarded prototype for Audi’s new Q7 SUV made a surprise appearance at a special event marking the manufacturer’s 25 years of quattro. The stunner’s official debut is scheduled for the Frankfurt show in September.

The heavily-guarded prototype for Audi’s new Q7 SUV made a surprise appearance at a special event marking the manufacturer’s 25 years of quattro. The stunner’s official debut is scheduled for the Frankfurt show in September.

Making a very brief appearance at the event, the slightly disguised Q7 showed off aggressive styling that hinted at its four-wheel drive capabilities. Audi promises that, at its launch, the SUV will be equipped with high-performance petrol and diesel engines, while its experience with the quattro four-wheel drive system will ensure high levels of grip over any terrain.

Added competition for the luxury SUV brigade, including the BMW X5, Volkswagen Touareg, Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne, the Q7 will appear on international markets at the start of 2006. And until its Frankfurt début, all further appearances will be to select audiences behind closed doors.

However, before its September unveiling, the newest luxury 4X4 will need to endure more intensive tests in some of the world’s most inhospitable areas, including the Arctic and desert regions.