Audi Q7 200kW luxury seven-seater road test review
FOLLOWING the footsteps of a legend can often be a bridge too far.
Doggone, just ask Mitchell Pearce. Or Dannii Minogue. That perhaps explains what it has taken nearly a decade for the second generation Q7.
The first big, plush high-riding wagon performed admirably around the world, but nine years on the successor has arrived.
For now it's only available with one engine option, another more frugal version of the same diesel will arrive soon, but it's strikingly lighter and is packed with some cool new technology for its $103,900 price tag.
Put simply, the confines are luxurious and spectacular.
Progressing slowly in recent years, Audi cabins have in recent years been a carbon copy of varying sizes, whereas the Q7 is a leap into the modern era.
Some similar technology was first showcased in the TT roadster, but a more expansive cabin allows for some extra cool kit and functionality.
The awesome full digital driver display, large touch pad and stubby gear shifter ensure this is one family hauler which stands out from the crowd.
Once you have directional bearings it all makes sense, and even the high-tech gizmos are easy to get your head around. The drive's colour display is brilliantly crisp (the needle graphics are refreshed 60 times a second), and you can configure it to your preference and environment…for example the sat nav directions can be made prominent with a smaller tacho and speedo.
The main menu is controlled via the central dial in combination with the touch pad. If you can operate a smart phone, then this is a breeze. Given the dimensions it comes as no surprise that the Q7 can handle a growing family. Seven pews, including an expansive back seat that can easily accommodate three adults, there is generous space in terms of head, knee and leg space.
On the road
Floating with consummate ease the V6 turbo diesel feels effortless.
There's no hint of vibration, or the agricultural soundtrack often associated with oil-burners, and under acceleration it's downright hairy-chested.
Sliding into eighth on the highway, the sizable wagon rarely works up a sweat and cruising at 100kmh barely ticking over 1000rpm.
Armed with what Audi calls Drive Select, you can opt between various personalities and it controls acceleration response, efficiency characteristics and steering input.
We found the comfort and efficiency modes too light, especially with the optional Active Lane Assist functionality which stops the driver from straying outside the line above 60kmh.
Our preferred choice was Dynamic mode for its weightier steering and rapid retort to right foot prods.
What do you get?
Basic equipment incorporates the 31cm LCD virtual cockpit is joined by a pop-up 21cm monitor, satellite navigation, electric leather seats, auto air-con, leather trim, 19-inch alloys, cruise control and xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, drive mode select, automatic air con, 180-watt 10-speaker sound system and full Bluetooth connectivity.
Safety is five star, with a suite of air bags, including head-level curtains for front and rear passengers, exit warning and rear cross traffic alert, plus a 360-degree camera and automatic parking. There is an array of options, mostly expensive, with a few packages available offering the best value.
Also in the diesel running is the BMW xDrive 30d ($102,900), Infinti QX70 Crossover 3.0d ($77,900), Porsche Cayenne V6 ($106,100) Range Rover Sport TDV6 SE ($102,300) and the soon-to-arrive Jaguar F-Pace 30d S ($99,940).
Unfolding or dropping the two rear chairs can be done via an electronic switch in the boot.
Strangely though, the centre seats which can fold upright, have to be altered manually.
The middle row folds in a 35-30-35 and when they are laid flat there is an excellent 1955-litre load area.
That creates a brilliant space for sporting equipment, and our test week saw a bike slot nicely down the middle between the two cherubs with room to spare on either side for a weekly grocery shop.
With all chairs being used there is limited boot space, but they are more designed for kids and occasions use.
Boot space is a very useful 770 litres with the third row folded, easily handling a few large suitcases.
All five rear seats have Isofix anchorage points, so you could have five child seats in use simultaneously (courageous).
Depending on how hard you drive and the terrain in which you live, the big SUVs can be tough on brakes and tyres. Those in the hills could be up for new rubber and discs in a shorter timeframe than your standard sedan or wagon.
There are no such concerns on fuel economy, we managed just over six litres for every 100km. That's outstanding given the size and performance attributes.
Losing some 240kg over its predecessor, the Q7 has been on an impressive diet.
The big single-frame grille proudly wears the four rings, while the muscular wheel arches and tall shoulder lines make it an arresting offering.
Wonderfully mannered, the expansive big wagon is remarkably easy to drive. With an ability to shrink around the driver, it feels nimble and quick.
It's certainly a beautiful chariot for the well-heeled family which combined good looks, opulent finishes and performance.
Model: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro.
Details: Five-door seven-seat quattro all-wheel drive large SUV.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel generating maximum power of 200kW @ 3250rpm and peak torque of 600Nm @ 1500rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed tiptronic automatic
Consumption: 5.9-litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 6.5-seconds, top speed 234kmh.
Towing: 3500kg, tow ball 350kg.
Bottom line (before on-roads): $103,900.
What matters most
What we liked: Wonderful supple ride, burly diesel performance, digital instrument cluster.
What we'd like to see: Improved steering feedback in comfort and efficiency mode, centre row to fold electronically, more kit as standard.
Warranty and servicing: Three year/unlimited kilometres warranty with roadside assist. Servicing is annual or every 15,000km.