First Drive Review: Audi Q7 2016
Any new car wanting to seriously compete in the premium 4x4 segment would have to be better than just alright if it hoped to gain any kind of sales success.
Currently, there’s BMW’s excellent X5, Porsche’s powerful and stylish Cayenne, Volvo’s supremely comfortable XC90, and now, Audi’s second-generation Q7.
3.0 TDI 218 Quattro S Line 5dr Tip Auto
- 10k Miles p/a
Per Month, INC VAT
£2879.94 initial payment
The all-new SUV promises lots of advanced technology, as well as a new lightweight design with a more powerful diesel engine, but does it offer enough all-round performance to tempt buyers away from its very capable competition?
While there’s talk of a sensible and lower-powered 215bhp diesel arriving in the UK in October, for now you’ll have the choice of a 272PS 3-litre V6 and, er, that’s it.
It’s paired with Audi’s eight-speed automatic transmission, and produces 268bhp, so it’s not short of power. There’s also an impressive 443lb ft of torque on offer so the 0-62mph sprint can be done and dusted in just 6.5 seconds.
That’s despite its obvious bulk. At over five metres long, the Q7 is a big lump of metal but it doesn’t feel it on the road. There is plenty of grip available thanks to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system and, despite the car being taller than the outgoing model, body roll is kept under control.
The Q7 isn’t intended to be driven as a sports car though, being more about comfort and the car really does shine on the motorway. It’s makes a pretty good fist of things in the city too, especially if you opt for the all-wheel steering system which reduces the Q7’s turning circle by a metre, making it much easier to manoeuvre around tight streets.
Head off-road and you’ll be impressed with how the car tackles all sorts of tricky inclines and muddy slopes. The Quattro all-wheel drive system has been configured especially for the Q7, plus there’s a Hill Descent system on hand to help the car manoeuvre down particularly steep slopes.
More than 300kg has been shed from the Q7s kerb weight, which helps keep things under control on those steep descents, but it also means that running costs have been greatly improved with a combined fuel economy of 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions down to 153g/km.
That means private buyers will be facing a car tax bill of £180 per year, while a 28% BIK burden will leave company car drivers with a tax bill of a little under £500 per month for higher rate taxpayers.
Our test car, which is in S line trim, would cost you £53,838 to buy outright, and comes with a wide variety of kit as standard such as 20-inch alloy wheels, leather and Alcantara seats, a new eight-inch multimedia screen, heated seats, sat-nav, LED headlights with high beam assist, a four-zone climate control system and privacy glass.
There’s also a wide range of options on offer too, including the high-tech Audi Virtual Cockpit that we’ve seen put to such good use in the new TT, and an adaptive suspension system that automatically regulates ride height and damping depending on the driving mode you choose. The Audi Drive Select system gives you five options, although few will ever switch it out of normal.
As is the case with Audi in recent years, the interior quality is excellent throughout. It’s also spacious (as it should be, considering its size!) with increased headroom and shoulder room. Adults may struggle to get comfortable in the third row of seats, but there’s plenty of space for children and young teenagers.
A total of 770-litres of luggage space is available with all seven seats in place, or up to 1,955-litres if only the front seats are occupied, making the Q7 one of the biggest load luggers available in the segment. If you need something bigger, it’s time to lease a van.
The Q7 is everything you’d expect from a car with a £50k+ price tag; the amount of kit on offer is vast and the luxurious interior is sophisticated, spacious and supremely comfortable. Drive this car on or off-road and you’ll be suitably impressed, while running costs aren’t as frightening as they could be thanks to that lightweight construction. It’s still two tonnes, though.
The only real issue with the Q7 is that, despite the luxurious quality, it’s actually quite bland.
Q7 at a glance:
Boot space: 775 / 2035 litres
Petrol engines: None
Diesel engines: 3.0 TDI 204PS / 245PS
Trims: SE, S line
Model tested: 3.0 TDI quattro S line (£53,385 OTR) – 6.5s 0-62mph, 47.9mpg, 153g/km CO2
Average leasing rates: £580 business, £694 personal
OTR price range: £50,340 - £53,835
Key rivals: BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90
Available: August 2015
All numbers correct as of 29 June 2015. Leasing rates based on a 10k 3+35 agreement.