The Q7 is Audi’s full-size SUV - a seven-seater crossover with three rows of accommodation and a big boot. You can tell from the large Q integer that this SUV sits at the top of the family tree; only its sister car, the more coupe-influenced, less practical Q8 sits above it in the pecking order.
As such, the Audi Q7 faces competition from the likes of the BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX L and Volvo’s popular XC90, all of which offer SUV practicality and space for larger families with a pop-up row of occasional seats in the boot (see below).
The Q7 is laden with the latest tech, and some of the flashier gadgets offer real wow factor, at a price. For instance, you can spec Audi’s Virtual Cockpit for all-digital dials, letting you choose whether to gaze upon traditional instruments or flick into full-screen navigation mode with detailed mapping replacing the speedo and rev counter. It’s very clever.
The latest Audi Q7 was launched in 2015 and there is only one bodystyle available today, making your research and car shopping surprisingly easy. This is a big car stretching to a whisker over five metres in length, with only one wheelbase available - and every version sold in the UK is equipped with seven seats (where some rivals offer five-seat versions).
Today there is a simple choice of just two engines available in the Q7: pick from the 45 TDI and the 50 TDI diesels. No petrol models are offered any more, although earlier derivatives did (see Audi Q7 Model History below). Both diesels are in fact powered by the same 3.0-litre V6 engine, tuned for different power outputs.
A simple choice of trim levels let you choose the spec of the Audi Q7 to suit your budget and needs. The cheapest model is the Sport, escalating through S Line, Black Edition and range-topping Vorsprung for nearly £30,000 more than the base model. As you might expect, each step on the model ladder adds extra equipment and trinkets, but even the cheapest Audi Q7 comes with leather upholstery, 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps and digital instruments. They're all well equipped.
The Audi SQ7 is the most sporting model in the Q7 range. And it’s something of a treat, mixing rocketship performance with comfortable plump for an amazingly versatile family all-rounder.
There’s a 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine, mated to a 48-volt electrical system which powers a supercharger and a clever anti-roll system designed to quell the lurching body movements of a big SUV. Performance is astonishing for such a civilised, family-friendly vehicle.
Just watch out for prices, which can quite easily spiral towards six figures if you get busy with the options.
The latest Audi Q7 is a slickly styled premium SUV that somehow manages to look more like a pumped-up estate car or shooting brake than a lumbering 4x4. The same was not true of its predecessor, which was somewhat super-sized.
Although it looks lower-slung than some SUVs, interior space is in fact excellent in all three rows. You may wish to shop elsewhere if you want the roomiest third row - the Land Rover Discovery still trumps the Q7 for seats six and seven.
One ace card the Q7 has maintained is interior quality. Audi really does have classy cabins all sewn up - the whole thing is made with attention to detail and it feels built to last.
The Q7 is one of our favourite large SUVs to drive: Audi has pulled off that rare trick of making a colossal people-carrying vehicle feel remarkably agile and compact for one so big. It feels every inch the premium Audi it is.
The ride and handling in particular are especially well tuned, and the performance on offer should meet most needs: simply pick a power output to match your needs. The reality in this sector is that most people still buy diesel, but this is likely to shift over the coming months as Audi rolls out its new plug-in hybrids.
For now, Audi offers just the 45 TDI and 50 TDI in the UK, with no petrol or electrified versions. Performance is surprisingly brisk, even in the smaller-engined model.
The Audi Q7 is a popular car for the brand and prices are comparable to rival premium SUVs, starting at north of £50,000. Most buyers take out finance deals, however, and at time of writing Audi sales staff would offer considerably cheaper deals than their BMW counterparts selling a rival X5.
As the Q7 ages, it’s worth shopping around for sharper discounts. Even top-end Audis like this are now surprisingly high-volume models - and we’d back your chances of snagging one at a decent saving off the list price.
See what drivers of the Audi Q7 have to say about their SUV in our warts ’n’ all Q7 owners’ reviews.
Watch our Audi Q7 video review
Audi Q7 Model History
The first Audi Q7 was launched in 2006. It was primarily designed for the US market and became the first Audi to offer three rows of seats and accommodation for seven passengers.
This first-generation model was a large, lumbering car - with associated advantages for practicality and interior space, but the downside was a car that was quite ponderous to drive and felt big on typically tighter British roads.
Most versions of the 2006-2015 Audi Q7 sold in the UK were powered by the 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, which provided stolid performance, a nice multi-cylinder soundtrack and fair-to-middling fuel economy, on account of the heavy kerbweight of this five-metre long car.
If you look really hard, you might find the odd petrol-engined Q7 from this era, as Audi did offer numerous go-faster versions, culminating in the 3.0 TFSI and 4.2-litre V8 Q7. This became something of a Q-car performance special, its 350hp making for surprisingly brisk progress.
Diesels were order of the day, however, and the 4.2-litre V8 TDI was a hidden gem, its bi-turbo engine offering 331hp for a 6.4sec 0-62mph dash. Even rarer in the UK is the madcap V12 TDI (above) - a slightly zany, low-volume 6.0-litre diesel mustering a supercar-bothering 500hp and performance figures to embarrass most hot hatchbacks.