Imposing, capable and efficient full-sized SUV lacking subtlety
- Easy to drive, less bulky than old model
- Exemplary build quality, inside and out
- Acres of interior space, front and rear
- Lacks ultimate off-road ability
- Expensive in relation to rivals
- Limited range of engines
Since the original Audi Q7 was introduced in 2006 the German company's full-sized SUV has been a notable success, finding more than 500,000 homes. In 2015, the second-generation Q7 was introduced – with a much less imposing style, and a raft of updated technology.
To most – and beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all – the current Q7 is anything but a looker. But it is lighter, more efficient, better to drive – and most technically advanced SUV yet from Audi.
Of course, the Audi Q7 is upagainst some tough competition, not least the excellent Volvo XC90, the established BMW X5 or refreshed Mercedes GLE, so does it compete effectively enough to secure your money?
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 Q7. It's lighter by 325kg, and this weight has been shed thanks to some very clever body engineering.
This ruthless approach to weight management means it's good to drive. 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.
The Audi Q7 is packed with a vast array of technology. The four-wheel steering means that it feels more stable at speed. However, at less than 9.3mph the system 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.
Inside it's something special
There’s an equally lengthy list of standard and optional safety kit, including warnings to stop you opening your door into oncoming traffic, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. The Audi Q7 was among the first cars to feature these driver aids.
But it goes even further – the Q7 will 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 3.0-litre diesels with differing outputs of 212hp and 265hp. Truth be told the former can feel a little under-endowed, while the latter is far more suited to the car’s bulk.
An efficient and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox transmits that power to all four wheels – Quattro is standard on this car – and the Q7 comes with hill descent control as standard. Not that many owners will venture off the beaten track, but it's good to know it will if it has to.
The family seating plan
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.
The cabin is a masterclass in design and quality
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.
The Audi Q7's infotainment system (MMI) features a large 8.3-inch screen that rises from the dashboard to display all manner of information, and is controlled using a rotary control and buttons in the centre console. The Q7 also comes with the option of the firm’s Virtual Cockpit instrument display.
The Parkers Verdict
We like the Audi Q7. More importantly, so do you. It's a popular choice in this class, and one that ticks a great deal of boxes when it comes to equipment, technology, quality and comfort.
With the more recent arrival of the latest (and bestselling) Audi Q5, you might be left wondering why you'd want to plump for its older, larger brother. But there's something very special about the Q7 that befits its position as Audi's flagship SUV.
It's not perfect – the steering and ride aren't a patch on the Range Rover Sport's, for instance – but it's hugely capable nevertheless, and its cabin is unrivalled in the SUV universe.