The new AUDI Q7 has plenty of room
The second-generation Q7 is meant to be a single model … in theory. Yet Q7’s enormous list of options means probably very few are built the same. The first choice is for either the 160kW or 200kW version of the 3.0-litre diesel engine at $96,300 and $103,900 respectively but one can easily add tens of thousands to this. Some of the ‘extras’ such as adaptive cruise control and metallic paint really should be standard on such a car … seriously, flat paint on a $100k Audi?
Q7 trims down
The original Q7 was so loaded with mid-2000s gadgetry and luxury that one might charitably term it ‘big-boned’. It was a large car and certainly imposing. The all-new model is a lot trimmer at around 200kg lighter. Our review found that while it still feels a substantial unit (and at 2135kg, it is), but it’s no means unwieldy thanks to a well done adaptive power steering system. You can even option a four-wheel-steering system for better manoeuvrability.
Fortunately the weight and size reduction hasn’t impinged on Q7’s greatest asset, fantastic interior space. While the old car was nominally a five-seater, its optional third row meant it could easily consume seven lucky patrons in its dour yet sumptuous interior. The new Q7 has gone one better by making the third row seat standard. They’re proper seats too, able to take full-size adults in a manner that won’t leave them in need of a chiropractor afterwards. The top-quality cabin is also a far less ominous-feeling place than Audis of yore.
Ergonomics have improved
Audi has improved its ergonomics, too. Once even fairly simple stuff such as pairing phones involved a nightmare of scrolling through sub-menus with a recalcitrant click-wheel thing. Now this is logical process via intuitive controls. Audi has clearly been paying attention to the likes of Kia on how this should be done. They’ve even seen the light and given you a USB socket so you can use you own cable rather than having to purchase an adapter.
The 200kW model gets a fully digital instrument panel while the 160kW model has a more modest analogue set-up but the eight-inch display tells you all you need to know.
Regardless of the engine you choose, the car is no sluggard, with Audi claiming a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds for the 160kW model while the 200kW car gets the job done in a mere 6.5. While this is decent speed, I did notice quite a lag in throttle response on the 160kW model that was pretty annoying. Also annoying was the fuel-saving stop/start system, although to be fair I don’t think anyone has ever made a smooth one.
The quattro all-wheel-drive system powertrain is otherwise smooth and quiet, and the eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent.
The isolation of noise in the cabin is quite remarkable, particularly given this is a diesel. You really feel it is a luxury car.
Choose your drive setting
Q7 gives you a choice of multiple driving settings: Auto, Offroad, Comfort, Efficiency, Dynamic and Individual (basically a custom mix). This all works to adjust the steering feel, gearbox settings and, if car fitted, the adaptive suspension. They all work well, but you can’t help feeling you’d end up leaving it in Auto once the novelty wears off.
Left in that mode, and equipped with the bare-bones steel spring set-up, Q7 drives better than any car of this size has a right to, so while the adaptive suspension does offer incremental refinement, it’s nice to have rather than it being a necessity. Spend that money ($4950) on another option such as the Assistance Package which gives you top-end safety technology including more advanced autonomous emergency braking than the city-oriented system fitted as standard.
Car review: Nick Platt
2016 AUDI Q7 3.0 TDI
- Engine: 2967cc-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel.
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive.
- Safety: Eight airbags, autonomous emergency braking, Audi side assist and rear cross-traffic alert, auto lights and wipers, active bonnet, 5-star ANCAP rating.
- Standard features: Electric front seats. Third row of seats. Sat-nav. Digital radio. Auto tailgate.
- Specifications: 160kW model: $96,300 (+ on-road costs). 160kW@3250-4750rpm, 500Nm@1250-3000rpm. 5.8L/100km.
- 200kW model: $103,900 (+ on-road costs). 200kW@3250-4250rpm, 600Nm@1500-3000rpm. 5.9L/100km.
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Published: RoyalAuto October 2016