It has been quite some time since we tested the Audi Q7, almost 2 years in fact and while the previous model was good it had some limitations that took a little of the shine off what was otherwise an appealing vehicle.
The new generation Audi Q7 3.0L TDi QUATTRO AWD SUV we recently tested is an excellent vehicle with few if any faults. It sets the benchmark for luxury 7 seat family SUV driving. For those in a hurry that is all you need to read.
The first thing you notice when you approach is that for a big car it looks compact. The overall length is 5.05m, which is longer than a Toyota 200 Landcruiser. Yet for all this size it has a svelte appearance more fitting a luxury wagon than an AWD SUV. That is one of the features of the Q7. It is more than it seems. However the new Q7 is less also, 240kg less to be precise. Like all of us, less weight usually means being more nimble, use less fuel and handle better.
Style can be a matter of personal taste. To me the Q7 exterior simply looks good and is very appealing. The Mercedes Benz GL is like the ugly sister in comparison.
At this level you expect a quality luxurious interior, but the essence of true luxury is integration. Integration means that the whole interior not only flows, it works seamlessly and has subtlety. Some vehicles in this class seem to have a love affair with buttons or switches, others seem to like minimalism, to the detriment of functionality. The Audi Q7 strikes almost a perfect balance between form and function.
The drivers’ alignment to the steering wheel and dash can be adjusted for all drivers to find the perfect position. Our reviewers range from 195cm tall to 170cm tall, slim to larger than the average bear and all commented on just how comfortable they were.
The large and clear virtual digital dash can be changed to suit personal preferences and is amongst the best in class. I believe that while being able to adjust the dash layout, most drivers will find what they like and leave it.
Again the more than it seems feature of Audi comes through. The dashboard, centre console layout seems simple, almost bland, but after a little while you realise how easy and integrated it all is to use.
Sitting on top of the centre dashboard is the MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. This is displayed on an 8.3-inch extending screen that is sharp, brilliant and rich in contrast. The optional head-up display (HUD) directly within the driver’s field of vision means that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
The controls are intuitive to use with the intelligent new MMI control concept: fewer buttons yet more functions, including vehicle settings, navigation, telephone, media and the optional Audi connect. A larger touchpad creates a better user-experience. I found it very sensitive though, but once you grasp it the simple functionality wins you over. There is a lack of centre console storage though.
Front seats for driver and passenger are excellent, rear seats great for two passengers but can accommodate three in comfort with adequate head, knee and leg room.
The third row of seats while reasonable for teenagers do feel a slightly restricted in head room and leg room, unlike the Mercedes Benz GL which has the best in class.
There is however adequate luggage space with all seats in use. One clever feature is the flexibility in luggage configuration with individual folding seats that fold flat.
There are far too many standard and optional features and packages to list here when you are looking at the Q7 and to be honest its best to look at the Audi site for a list of them. Suffice to say the Q7 has an incredible long list of standard safety, luxury and comfort features with an even longer and expensive options list.
Safety is obviously 5 star ANCAP and the Q7 is class leading in passive and active safety features. However I found that sometimes the vehicle was overriding normal driving ability. For instance the lane assistance system was more sensitive than I believe is warranted, turning the steering wheel against my input. It’s not dangerous, just a little annoying at times. I would have all the safety features and put up with the car thinking it’s a better driver than me though. It probably is!
The Q7 is powered by a 3.0L TDI engine that produces 200kW @ 4250rpm of power and 600Nm @ 1500-3000rpm of torque. This translates to the road through the QUATTRO AWD drivetrain and 8 speed auto transmission. The Q7 can reach a top speed of 234 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. It does all this while drinking fuel at a miserly 6.5l/100km on our test. These figures were around town and some freeway driving.
These are the raw figures. The real world driving experience though is even better. The abundance of torque at low revs makes for smooth, powerful and extremely relaxed driving experience. Combine this with the adaptive air suspension and you have a big AWD SUV that handles and drives like a luxury sedan. You simply forget you are driving a 5.0m long AWD SUV.
In short I loved driving in the Q7. I had the opportunity to test it over normal road surfaces and some dirt roads. Its ride, handling dynamics and comfort are class leading. Let’s face it not many (if any) Q7’s will ever see any real off road driving, however I would be more than happy to take one to Birdsville for the annual races. That would be a drive along some of Australia’s iconic roads to an iconic Australian experience in luxury and comfort. I got side-tracked apologies.
The overall appeal of a powerful yet economical diesel engine mated to an 8 speed transmission driving all four wheels through Audi’s outstanding QUATTRO system that has dynamic handling yet smooth ride, is equally at home at the Opera and at Birdsville, accommodating its occupants in luxury and comfort for around $120,000 is exceptionally strong. This might sound strange but it actually represents reasonably good value. If I was looking for a luxury 7 seat AWD SUV the Audi Q7 3.0L TDi QUATTRO would be at the top of the list.
What is good!
- Power and Economy
- Ride and Handling
- Internal layout
What is not good!
- Centre console lack of storage
- Long and expensive options list
- Having to give it back
Model: Audi Q7 3.0L TDi QUATTRO
Model Price: $114,437 RDAP
Engine: 3.0L TDi
Drivetrain: QUATTRO AWD 8 speed auto
Power: 200kW @ 4250rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 1500-3000rpm
Safety: 5 Star
CO2 Emissions: 153 g/km
Economy: (ADR comb) 5.9 L/100km
Tow Capacity Max: 3500 kg
Tow Ball Rating: 350 kg
Warranty 3yr/ unlimited km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 90/100
Behind the Wheel 10
Ride & Handling 9
Fit for Purpose 9
Towing Ability 10
Off Road Ability 6
Value for Money 9
Jeep has released its 2011 Grand Cherokee and we took the Laredo for a test drive. The 2011 Jeep Gra...
In a league of its own and starting from around $155,000 MLP the Audi SQ7 could well be the ultimate...
Lexus has provided more sophistication, style and features across the range for only marginal price ...