With its combination of sportiness, versatility, class-leading technology and sheer luxury, the Q7 is a Sports Utility Vehicle that really can perform. Eye-catching good looks just add to its appeal.
The goodBeautifully crafted and equipped
The badSpotted on too many school runs
Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro – first drive (2016)
Audi certainly has something to shout about when it comes to the premium brand’s latest Q7 model, but in all honesty it’s all a little bit hush, hush!
That’s because the Q7 e-tron is the German marque’s second venture into the ever-growing plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) segment following in the footsteps of the A3 e-tron.
The chunky SUV features a 3.0 V6 TDI engine combined with a 94kW electric motor and together they provide 373PS of power and 700Nm of torque.
But don’t be fooled into thinking there has been any compromise on performance because the Q7 e-tron, which is priced from £64,950, can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and tops out at 143mph. Official figures claim the car can deliver combined economy of 156.9mpg with carbon emissions from as low as 48g/km, but in real world driving the mpg figure is a tad far-fetched – we saw an average of 52.3mpg on our test run.
The battery can be charged in just 2.5 hours via a public charge point or domestic wallbox and the car is capable of travelling up to 34 miles on electric power alone.
There are three driving modes to choose from – EV mode prioritises electric driving; Hybrid Auto mode allows the car to select the most appropriate driving settings for the situation and finally, Hybrid Hold mode allows you to store a charge for later use – possibly when driving through a city centre or entering a congestion charge area.
The Q7 has always been an imposing SUV that has a real presence on the road and the e-tron is no different. The test car was priced at £85,605 and that included £20,240 of optional extras. It featured 20-inch alloys (which increased the carbon emissions output to 50g/km), Audi Matrix LED headlights, dynamic sweeping rear indicators, a powered tailgate, e-tron specific body styling such as a front bumper with specific air inlet ducts, unique e-tron LED daytime running lights, e-tron design front and side grilles and rear bumper with diffuser.
The interior boasts all the sophistication and luxury associated with the Audi name and incorporates a host of premium materials to help create an elegant cabin environment for all occupants. And, of course, there is bundles of technology at your fingertips, including the fabulous virtual cockpit which allows the driver to personalise the information on display with plenty of e-tron-specific detailing.
Other techno treats include the likes of a Bang & Olufsen sound system, ambient lighting, a multi-media interface with 8.3-inch central fold-down high resolution colour display screen, all the connectivity systems you could wish for and plenty more besides.
And the car boasts a number of ultra-clever systems to maximise efficiency too. For example, there is the Predictive Efficiency Assistant which uses the route data from the sat nav to alert the driver to situations in which it would make sense to reduce speed, such as before bends, villages or speed limit signs that are not yet visible.
Then there is the all-too familiar green boot icon that appears in the head-up display to suggest when you should ease off the accelerator in order to anticipate an upcoming reduction in speed limits.
And the Q7 e-tron is also the first PHEV that comes fitted with a heat pump which collects any waste heat and uses it to warm the cabin. All very clever and very efficient.
And when it comes to the driving experience, the car lives up to all the hype too. The first thing that has to be said about the e-tron is how eerie it seems to have a full-sized SUV pulling away in absolute silence – it does take some getting used to.
And even when that 3.0-litre powertrain kicks in, the transformation is seamless and the cabin is well insulated against any engine or road surface noise.
Acceleration is rapid and there is a constant supply of power on tap as the car eats up the Tarmac, absorbing all the bumps and dips along the way. The ride is so smooth it actually feels like the vehicle is gliding at times.
It is reassuringly planted which means tight bends can be attacked with confidence and there is next-to-no body roll even at higher speeds.
Comfort levels are supreme and there is bags of room for three adults – of the taller variety – to stretch out in style in the back seats.
Unlike standard Q7 models, the e-tron is available in five-seat format only. And as one would expect the boot capacity is very generous at 650 litres or 1,835 litres with the 35:30:35 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
All in all, when you factor in all the innovative safety kit on board, the Audi Q7 e-tron is a fabulous piece of kit. It’s the first plug-in hybrid of the Q7 range and the first Audi SUV with hybrid power, making it the ideal model for active families who want to maintain that premium styling and quality, combined with blistering performance capabilities while maximising efficiency along the way. And that’s quite a combination.
Audi Q7 – first drive (2015)
Audi’s stand-out flagship SUV – the Q7 has been on quite a health kick, it’s shed the pounds, lost the bulk and looks fitter than ever.
In fact, it would be fair to say the all-new second generation model is likely to make quite an impact in the premium 4×4 sector.
Priced from £50,340 to £53,835, the Q7 is available with just one engine at launch – a 3.0-litre 272PS V6 diesel – although other powertrains will be introduced a little later down the line.
Buyers can select from two richly-equipped trim levels called SE and S line and as is the trend these days, there is a whole host of optional extras and packs on offer.
And while the latest Q7 is new from the ground up, it’s the hidden features such as the new platform that really benefit performance and efficiency. For example, the car is now up to 325kg lighter than the outgoing model on a five-seat model and 240kg less on the standard seven-seater.
Its length and width have been reduced slightly, but the vehicle still offers vast amounts of space for occupants and luggage.
The Q7 certainly looks the business with its large single-frame grille, stunning light clusters with sweeping indicator function, smart alloys (in a choice of sizes), powered tailgate, privacy glass and lots more besides.
Step inside the spacious cabin and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the outstanding build-quality, luxurious surroundings and range of premium techno treats and infotainment systems at your disposal.
For example, there is an 8.3-inch fold-down colour display system with high-resolution graphics, a brilliant pitch-perfect sound system which is compatible with all modern media devices and Bluetooth connectivity
It features the stunning virtual cockpit (first seen on TT models), Audi Drive Select to switch between the various driving modes, a third row of seats that are electronically raised or folded flat to the boot floor and depending on the spec selected, there is a four-zone deluxe electronic climate control system.
Options include the likes of a Bose surround system with 19 speakers, a panoramic sunroof, all-wheel steering for improved stability, agility and comfort, Audi active lane assist, park assist and Matrix LED headlights that are linked to the sat nav system to maximise illumination yet not dazzle other drivers.
In fact it would be fair to say that I have just touched the surface of the list of options and packs available.
So the all-new Q7 looks amazing, is packed to bursting with state-of-the-art technology and offers all the versatility that a premium SUV should, but what about performance?
Once again the car is a winner on all counts.
In the past, the Q7 has been viewed as more premium comfort rather than premium performance, but that has all changed. For the new model has one of the highest power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios in its class and that translates into performance stats such as a 0-62 sprint time of just 6.5 seconds and top speed of 145mph.
The new engine generates 11 per cent more power yet emits 27.5 per cent less carbon emissions which brings readings down as low as 153g/km and a claimed 47.9mpg on a combined run.
We tested out three models on a lengthy route through the glorious New Forest and onto faster-moving motorways and although they had varying trim levels, different kit and some were fitted with more bells and whistles – they all impressed in their handling, driving dynamics, comfort levels, versatility and ease of use.
Audi is still targeting the likes of the Range Rover and BMW X5 with this new Q7 because it still has all the luxury one would expect, but the engineers have certainly upped the ante when it comes to handling.
The adaptive air suspension makes light work of any crumpled road surfaces and the options on the Drive Select feature means you can adopt a comfort, allroad, efficiency, auto, individual or dynamic setting to suit your mood and circumstances.
It takes just seconds to switch between the different driving styles and they can be adjusted via a button on the multi-function steering wheel.
The car is deceptively nimble and agile whilst weaving through busy towns and along narrow streets, but when the open road shows itself, the Q7 laps up the challenge.
It eats up the Tarmac and seems to glide across the surfaces absorbing all bumps and dips along the way.
Any road, engine or wind noise is kept to an absolute minimum thanks to the car’s efficient insulation and all occupants are treated to exceptionally high levels of comfort.
The two rear seats can quickly be set to an upright position and although a tad cramped for adults, they are ideal for children.
And storage capacities vary depending on the seating configuration, but limits range from 770 litres to 1,955 litres.
Of course, the Q7 is packed with a whole host of safety features including quattro all-wheel-drive and there are extra add-on packs that can introduce additional systems.
All in all, the new Q7 is a truly fabulous piece of kit – it’s bursting with innovative technology and creature comforts, is an absolute dream to drive and offers highly impressive stats along the way.
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro S line Tiptronic
With our ever-changing climate there is always something pretty reassuring when I get behind the wheel of Audi’s mighty all-wheel-drive Q7.
And that was the case on my recent test when Mother Nature threw rain, gale force winds and hailstones in my path.
But the Q7 coped with ease and it’s these assurances along with an incredible range of on-board technology that makes Audi such a premium brand ahead of a chasing pack.
Versatility is key when choosing an SUV – it has to be practical enough to meet day to day demands and then be flexible when those expectations change.
And that’s where the Q7 excels once more. Initial inspections suggest the vehicle is a five-seater, but upon closer scrutiny there are another two seats tucked completely flat to the boot floor, making the vehicle a seven-seater as and when required.
The larger-than-life SUV looks fabulous from any angle thanks to sweeping lines, smart light clusters, 20-inch alloys, body-coloured door mirrors and handles, tinted windows and twin tailpipes.
And once inside, you won’t be disappointed either as the Q7 is packed with class-leading technology with creature comforts at every turn.
Using a combination of black leather and Alcantara the interior has a very classy, elegant and sophisticated feel to it and the seats feature controlled heating settings along with electrical adjustments and memory settings so that perfect driving position can be stored.
On-board features include a brilliant entertainment system incorporating a hard drive, sat nav and DAB radio.
There is a highly efficient dual-zone climate control, double glazing, cruise control, rear sun blinds and plenty more besides.
The boot is very generous in size and even with the two extra seats in use, there is still plenty of storage space.
All-round visibility is excellent thanks to the high-seated driving position and that is a massive bonus as so many of the Audi Q series can be spotted on dreaded school run patrols these days.
The 3.0-litre, diesel engine provides plenty of power as the Q7 cruises effortlessly through the eight-speed automatic transmission. There are steering wheel-mounted paddles if you want to take charge of the gear changes.
The road holding is brilliant even in very wet conditions and the suspension absorbs every bump and dip along the way.
The Q7 boasts a comprehensive list of safety features and although very few owners will venture far from the Tarmac, the all-wheel-drive capabilities is a heartening thought.
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SE
These days size matters and because of that fact our people carriers are getting bigger and bulkier, and sadly in many cases uglier too.
But that’s not the case with the Audi Q7 which, despite its size, is strikingly good looking and guaranteed to stand out in any crowd.
This was Audi’s first venture into the very competitive sports utility vehicle market and believe me, it’s made quite an impression thanks to its dazzling design, fantastic spec list and performance figures to blow your socks off.
Admittedly, the price tag may cause a sharp intake of breath, but for that rather steep outlay you really do get value for your money with quality in abundance.
Boasting three rows of seats, the Q7 can easily accommodate seven people and unlike some rival SUVs you don’t need a tin opener and a shoehorn to prize the back seat passengers in and out.
The drive itself also lives up to all expectations and the 3.0-litre engine is certainly no slouch on the performance front. It delivered excellent power and acceleration as the automatic transmission shifted smoothly through the gears.
In town, the Q7 was deceptively agile and the high-seated driver’s position meant good visibility, although the view through the rear window is rather limited due to an abundance of headrests in the way.
Then, out on the open road, the Q7 proved it can compete with the big boys with ample power and that added peace of mind that permanent four-wheel-drive brings with it.
The Q7 is crammed to bursting with quality features including the Multi-Media Interface which is responsible for controlling most of the in-car functions such as the sat nav, climate control and audio settings.
And as one has come to expect from Audi over the years, the safety spec is first class with anti-lock brakes, stability control, parking sensors and a warning system that alerts you if the vehicle starts to drift across lanes.
So, the Q7 seems to have it all – it’s beautifully crafted, boasts great creature comforts and can perform to its engine’s content, so what’s the snag? Only one really, the price, but as I said value for money counts in this case.