- Easy to drive
- Range of options
- Not cheap
- Limited range of engines
Since it was introduced in 2006 the Audi Q7 has found over 500,000 homes, and finally, nine years later, an all-new model has arrived on UK shores. To most – beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all – this Q7 is anything but a ‘looker’ yet this new car promises to be the best to drive and most technically advanced SUV from the firm yet.
Lightweight but packed with tech
Audi has always been proud of its aluminium technology, first used extensively on the 1994 A8, and it’s no different with the new Q7; up to 325kg has been shed from the kerb weight compared to the previous generation. That’s said to make it even better to drive, and certainly if you’re looking for a full-size SUV that feels no more taxing to pilot than a family hatchback the Q7 is a worthy proposition.
And that’s thanks in part to the vast array of technology offered on this Q7; the four-wheel steering makes it feel more stable at speed, while below 9.3mph it turns the rear wheels in the opposing direction to the front axle direction, increasing agility and manoeuvrability. Optional adaptive air suspension, which keeps the car level, ensures it remains comfortable regardless of road surface, too.
There’s an equally lengthy list of standard and optional safety kit, including warnings to stop you opening your door into oncoming traffic, an ability to brake the car to a halt if it detects a collision (with humans, vehicles or other objects) is imminent and a form of semi-autonomous driving that sees the car accelerate, brake and steer all by itself in traffic. It’ll even park itself, and the Trailer Manoeuvre Assist makes short work of reversing anything you may be towing.
Lightweight engine options
Only two engine options are available in the UK from launch, both 3-litre diesels with differing outputs of 215bhp and 268bhp. Truth be told the former can feel a little under-endowed, while the latter is far more suited to the car’s, still considerable, bulk. An efficient and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox transmits that power to all four wheels – quattro is understandably standard on this car – and the Q7 comes with hill descent control as standard. Not that many owners will venture off the beaten track.
UK-spec Q7s come with seven seats too, though you can delete this last row as a no cost option, and the third row can be folded electrically from buttons in the boot. There’s more space wherever you sit, the middle row especially benefitting from extra head and shoulder room over the first Q7.
Buyers here can choose from SE and S line specifications, the latter’s highlights being larger alloy wheels, more aggressive body styling, LED headlights, sports front seats and four- rather than two-zone climate control.
Typically Teutonic cabin
As a company famed for its interior design and quality, it’s pleasing to note the new Q7 continues the tradition; the dashboard looks to be solidly constructed, tastefully designed and uses plush, premium materials. Switchgear is finely crafted too, and most often in the place you’d expect it to be.
A new Multi Media Interface (MMI) debuts in the Audi Q7, with a larger touchpad surface and familiar rotary controller – easy to use, even for the uninitiated, it operates a large 8.3-inch screen that rises from the dashboard to display all manner of information. The Q7 also comes with the option of the firm’s Virtual Cockpit instrument display, previously seen on the Audi TT, that replaces the conventional instrument pack with a fully digital and customisable screen nestled behind the steering wheel.
It’s also the first Audi to offer Apple’s CarPlay as an option, which allows you to plug in your iPhone and operate all of its relevant functions either through Siri voice activation or the MMI controller. If you have an iPhone, it’s certainly worth adding to your Q7’s spec list.
But clever standard and optional equipment apart, this car has some tough competition, so read the rest of the Parkers full Audi Q7 review to find out how it stacks up against its main rivals.