Audi’s premium SUV has had the likes of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE in its sights for some time now, and it’s finally ready to pull the trigger. It’s hard to believe that Audi has only been producing SUVs for 10 years, entering the market with the first generation Q7, a car that’s achieved sales of 500,000 worldwide and broken new ground for the SUV market.
Unlike many of its rivals that have flooded the market with SUVs over recent years, when it comes to the Audi Q7, Audi has taken a considered approach to updating and in doing so has created one of the most luxurious and high performing SUVs available. With a lighter and more nimble platform, ultra high spec interior and a mighty 3.0 litre V6 engine, the German manufacturer looks certain to extend its loyal fan club.
The Audi Q7’s new design is certainly impressive, with a slightly reduced outer shell that does little to detract from its striking looks. Extra lines and an enlarged chrome grille also adds an extra element of cool to proceedings and should help the Audi Q7 gain greater affection among executives keen to make a memorable first impression.
While the Q7 might have executive looks, its seven seats are just at home taking a large family out for the day as they are ferrying your colleagues around, with back seats that fold to reveal a jaw dropping 1,955 litres of load space. However, the real black magic lies in the Q7’s kerb weight, which is a startling 325kg lighter than its predecessor – trickery that is made possible by bodywork that is made up of 40 percent aluminium. The Q7‘s smooth handling around the winding roads of the Northumberland countryside creates the illusion that you were in the company of one of Audi’s more compact models.
This illusion is maintained by the Q7’s frankly brilliant 3.0 litre diesel V6 TDI engine, which produces 268bhp and got me from 0–60mph in 6.2 seconds, with a punch to the acceleration that left any preconceived ideas of what an SUV is capable of in the dust. Not that such heavy acceleration would have been noticeable to my rear passengers, with Audi’s typical zero tolerance for cabin noise in full force as I zipped through the Q7’s 8-speed automatic gearbox.
The interior is also classic Audi in that it is comfortably one of the best around. Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’, which works so well in the TT, is present and correct, as is a larger touch pad that gives you the option to handwrite instructions to your sat-nav. The Q7 shies away from taking too many cues from the TT though, swapping its elaborate aviation-inspired air vents for a more streamlined dashboard, while adding extra touches such as a larger palm-filling gear stick, an adjustable dual arm rest and suede side panels.
This is a considered, well thought out SUV, with a classic yet modern design that is matched by performance that, for an SUV, is in a different league. Here’s to the next 10 years.
To experience the new Audi Q7 for yourself visit drivebenfield.com/audi, book a test drive by calling 0843 218 8148 or visit your nearest North East Audi dealership.