The launch of the brand new Audi Q7 farewelled the hugely popular circa 2006 model. For a luxury SUV to hang around without major changes for so long proves what a capable vehicle it already was. But let me tell you the new Q7 is simply remarkable. It lifts the bar so high that I doubt rivals will come close anytime soon. I have spent a week in the Audi Q7 at a time when the awards are starting to pour in.
The 10 Minute Test Drive.
The Audi Q7 sports a dominating, sophisticated presence. With the latest Audi gaping front grill, laser sharp design of the front headlamps, freshly pressed sheet metal and dynamic looking rear tail lamps it just oozes class.
Jumping inside reveals yet another stunning Audi interior, the best yet. A virtual instrument display gives the flick to analogue dials forever. It delivers reams of configurable information and can even project an entire Google maps satellite navigation map right before your eyes. It’s the best instrument cluster I’ve ever seen.
The construction of the dash and cabin in general is done to exacting standards. The quality of the metals, plastics, dials and leather is first rate. The ambient lighting is a sight to behold at night, with strips of customisable colour streaking throughout the car. It’s like some kind of futuristic disco on wheels.
The 3.0 TDI engine while still obviously a diesel with the windows down, remains comfortably quiet inside. It also packs a perfect punch when needed combined with a transmission that seems incredibly smart and blindingly quick.
For a large seven-seater it’s possible to corner like you’re in some kind of hot hatch. The adaptive air suspension takes care of most of the pitch and roll, plus somehow 325kg has been thrown out from the previous model which automatically aids nimbleness.
It takes just 10 minutes to be blown away by the Q7, but of course it all comes at a price.
Ins and Outs
A 3.0L TDI V6 turbo-diesel engine certainly gets things moving with 200kW and 600Nm on offer. That’s good for 0 – 100km/h in 6.5 seconds. Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is fitted along with the famous Quattro all-wheel drive system. Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional Adaptive air suspension, this can raise or lower the car depending on circumstances. Anywhere between 35mm above the standard setting for off-road work to 55mm below for easy access and loading when stationary.
The Q7 is one of the more practical seven-seaters and actually has the largest cabin in its class. The middle row can be slid forwards and backwards and of course tumble forwards to allow the smaller ones to clamber into the third row. Cleverly the third row can be sprung from the floor electrically at the touch of a button. Of course at this level you’d expect an electric tailgate and adequate air conditioning all round and the result is a 4-zone independent control.
The Tech Inside.
This is where the Q7 leads the way, the list of technology is long and extensive but here are some of the key features. The so-called “virtual cockpit” is mind-blowing for anyone not used to driving the latest and greatest cars. Mostly these days modern cars feature a least a couple of analogue readouts like the speedo and tachometer plus some kind of digital display in the middle. Audi has torn up that tradition and introduced a completely digital readout. It has any number of functions but in the main it is the centrepiece for what you want to look at. Be it a satellite navigation map, what song you’re playing complete with album artwork or phone lists. You vary the view via a button on the steering wheel, the choice is yours as to what you want to see.
— Trevor Long (@trevorlong) November 13, 2015
All this is supplemented via the MMI system found in Audis which is enhanced by not only a rotary/push button for navigating the pop up centre mounted 8.3-inch monitor but with a large touchpad. It accepts various swipe, pinch and touch prompts useful for moving around a map. You can also draw numerals or letters for dialling phone numbers for example. However you really need to be left-handed for this to be a useful feature.
Safety and convenience technology is crammed into the Q7. Via an optional assistance package you score Active Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and Traffic Jam Assist. This works a treat mainly on motorways when things slow right down, it automatically shuffles the car along removing the need for constant manual braking and acceleration, a task that is surprisingly tiresome and of course irritating.
The Audi Q7 has your back when it comes to avoiding collisions. Using cameras and radars it is capable of first warning the driver of impeding drama but then unlike other systems, takes complete evasive action. It will determine an escape route and literally tug the steering wheel in the correct direction to avoid whatever it is you shouldn’t hit.
The Turn Assist system watches for oncoming traffic when turning right at intersections and when under 10km/h, it will stop the car if you fail to give way to oncoming traffic.
The list really does go on and on, but to put is simply the dazzling array of technology almost puts an invisible protective shield around you at all times, it even warns you of say an approaching cyclist when opening a door!
The Hip Pocket.
Fuel consumption is rated at 5.9L/100km 20 percent lower than its predecessor. Of course I didn’t near that and hovered around 8.1L/100km which I still consider excellent. You can score an Audi Q7 from $103,900 before on roads. But there are some very tempting boxes to tick like $4950 for 21-inch wheels, Assistance Package ($4075), LED headlights which are remarkable ($5500) or what about among others $14,850 for a ripper Bang & Olufsen sound system, ouch!
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.
The Audi Q7 is by far and away the best luxury SUV currently on the market. The freakishly precise construction, fit and finish and remarkable technology make for a wondrous vehicle. In fact so radically improved is the Audi Q7 I’d suggest most buyers may not even fully comprehend just exactly what lays beneath all that steel and aluminium. It’s now time for the others to catch up, I award the Audi Q7 the EFTM Distinction Rubber Stamp of Approval.