The Audi Q7 has been on the road for around a decade now and in that time, hasn’t really received any dramatic changes and as such was starting to look a little dated compared to others in the segment, however things changed recently with the all new Q7 being offered at dealerships.
Audi SUV’s are not something that have ever really been on my radar as something to own due to the fact they are more suited to asphalt than being a true utility vehicle, hence their popularity as a large, safe and very practical family car.
Outside the new Q7 hasn’t changed greatly, just enough I feel to say it is a new model and in turn Audi have been able to introduce their latest technology throughout the Q7 with the LED front (£950 option) and rear lights as well as massive front grill being the big visual changes for me.
This S-Line test model is finished in the £675 option “Daytona Grey” which I must admit was a beautiful in the flesh and a big change over the black which seemed to be the most popular colour on the old models.
Protruding below the infamous four rings badge on the front grill of this model is a frontal camera which is part of the £1150 optional parking pack and combined with the rear camera I must say really helped greatly when in the city or in a car park as the Q7 is far from small!
Quattro and S-Line badges grace the side whilst electric folding mirrors (£100 option) along with heat and sound insulated privacy glass (£525 option) finish off not only aesthetics but also quality. A large rear roof spoiler adds a sports edge combined with the dual exit exhaust.
Load space is more than ample when the Q7 is in its five seat configuration and when the third row of seats is in use, the boot becomes very snug indeed. During my week with the Q7, myself and some friends set off to a concert and the two smallest ladies clambered into the third row and with five other adults in the German SUV, it was quite cramped.
As such, in the real world the Q7’s third row is only suited for young children which is quite normal for most of the vehicles in the class as very few offer vast room for six or seven adults. It may have been a tight squeeze for everyone though it didn’t get claustrophobic due to the £1700 optional panoramic roof.
Rear passenger safety is aided with £350 optional rear side airbags and the second row of seating is equipped with heated seats for the outer most seats. As a five seat vehicle there is a mountain of room and comfort that will suit the needs of every possible owner.
Upholstery on this test car is a mix of black leather and alcantara with the front seats being heated also and the driver’s seat has the optional memory function and electric adjustment £350 option). Comfort is something that was in abundance in the seats and the overall seating position gave one of safety and control.
Infotainment was aplenty; Bluetooth, DAB radio, USB input, Aux input etc for playback of all your favourite hits along with the BOSE speaker upgrade at a cost of £1100 providing fantastic quality and proven sound time after time.
This model is also equipped with the £1950 Technology Pack which incorporates 12.3” pop up screen in the dash, fully digital and customisable instrument cluster which I must say is awesome, head up display and high beam light assist.
Engine wise this test model from Audi UK is equipped with the 3.0 TDi producing just shy of 270bhp with just over 440lb/ft of torque and combined to the 8 speed tiptronic gearbox I feel it is the perfect combination for such a vehicle.
Power is smooth and torque in abundance as expected from the large capacity engine whilst remaining pretty refined as well. 0-62mph is covered in just 6.3 seconds while annual road tax is a mere £185/annum. Real world economy on my week of having the car was late 30’s.
On the road the Audi Q7 is very large indeed and on cornering this is evident with some roll on fast bends, that said, I was able to drive this model from Rathfrailand to Bangor on a miserable old day, on a tight time schedule and when in sport mode and using the paddle shift it covered a serious amount of ground in confidence, without drama and the ‘box impressed me hugely over the meandering roads home.
In that regard as a road vehicle I will admit it was pretty impressive, however off-road I fear the Q7 is let down somewhat by its low ground clearance and on taking it into a freshly cut barley field within Ireland Off-road Experience, the short stubble tickled the under-tray meaning anything more than taking a horsebox into a field or a gravel lane is out of bounds.
From what I can see there is no option for air suspension, enabling more off-road agility though Audi’s renowned Quattro four wheel drive system will certainly make crossing fields a breeze and towing a joy, indeed the Q7 matches the likes of Volvo’s XC90 [read review here] with 2800kg towing capability.
With pricing starting around £48k for a base model, the Q7 certainly isn’t cheap and this S-Line model with all its options comes in at just shy of £64k. Other models to consider in this segment are the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90.
Words & Photos: Graham Curry