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Audi’s hi-tech magnificent Q7

06:18 15 August 2015

Audi says its second-generation Q7 is a luxury sport utility vehicle fit for an oligarch but you don't need the budget and trappings of one to run it.

Audi says its second-generation Q7 is a luxury sport utility vehicle fit for an oligarch but you don't need the budget and trappings of one to run it.

Audi

When it comes to big, luxury sport utility vehicles Audi’s Q7 has always been imposing but the second-generation model makes an even bigger impression by giving more from less, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Pluses and minuses add up

It makes a bigger impression but this all-new Q7 is slightly shorter, narrower but taller, yet has more space inside and actually looks less bulky.

The pluses and minuses don’t end there – it’s shed up to 325kg which, according to Audi is seven Kylie Minogues, so weighs less than competitors having added a wealth of new technology.

But it’s no lightweight when it comes to performance - more powerful but economy and emissions improved by around a quarter and quicker off the mark and faster than rivals.

Audi Q7

Price: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro 272PS SE 350,340; S line £53,835

Engine: 2,967cc, 272PS, V6 turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 6.5 seconds; top speed 145mph

MPG: Urban 44.1; extra urban 50.4; combined 47.9 (19 and 20in wheels); 42.2, 47.1, 45.6 (21in wheels

CO2 emissions: 153g/km (19 and 20in wheels); 163g/km (21in wheels)

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 28% and 30%

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 5,052mm; W 1,968mm (excluding door mirrors) ; H 1,740mm

Add competitive pricing and no wonder Audi is saying you can have the car of an oligarch without the trappings and budget.

Heart of the matter

The 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel is launched in a more powerful 272PS guise which will be joined in October by a 218PS version, both with eight-speed automatic transmission. Combined with the lighter weight, the 272PS version has class-leading performance, the 218PS version will be tops for economy and emissions, still on the pace for performance and cuts the lead-in price from £50,340 to £47,755.

This refined engine is so much quieter and the hush is heightened by little tyre noise despite some launch cars riding on 20in alloys.

How it drives

The more stylish Q7 looks less bulky and that’s the impression when you drive it. For an SUV more than five metres long it’s so agile you can forget the size of this beast which is the limiting factor on narrow roads.

Standard coils springs would be my choice, feeling more involving to drive on twisty roads while giving a compliant ride that soothes away defects without divorcing you from what’s going on under the tyres. If you spend a lot of time on main roads and motorways the optional adaptive air suspension, with variable damping, is worth considering – the Q7 wafts along and leans less through corners when driving hard.

In the original Q7 I once had to three-point turn my way out of a multi-storey car park so would have appreciated the option of all-wheel steering for sharper low-speed turning and more agility at speed – it has the turning circle of an Audi A4.

Space and comfort

The Q7 has seven seats as standard, although you can have third-row of two seats deleted as a no-cost option - but why anyone would want to reduce it desirability on the used market when they simply fold one-handed into the boot floor.

With the middle row three seats sliding back and forth you can adapt legroom for seven adults, although those in the rear-most seats need to be small and supple to get in and out. The second row split 35/30/35 so all three occupants get a decent backrest.

With all seven seats in use there’s still a supermini-like 295-litres boot when you raise the standard powered tailgate. Drop the third row of seats – they rise and fall electrically - and it rises to a whopping 770 litres, and 1,955 with the second row folded flat.

At the wheel

The fascia is pure Audi – tasteful with classy ergonomics, big, clear dials, slick control stalks and buttons and most functions controlled on the MMI (multimedia interface) controller between the front seats via a large screen. A virtual cockpit incorporating a hi-tech 12.3in digital instrument panel display is optional.

And with lot of seat and wheel adjustment you soon feel at home driving this big SUV even if you’re not!

The classy cabin is quite exquisite and beautifully finished with top-notch materials and attention to detail.

Equipment

The Q7 doesn’t skimp with all models having drive select which alters the driving character, satellite-navigation, keyless entry and ignition, visual and acoustic parking aids and a city system to help avoid or mitigate front-end shunts.

With this Q7 having the most technology of any Audi, there’s a host of clever features and extra safety systems so you can tailor it to your needs.

Final say

The Q7 has huge appeal with acres of space inside but doesn’t feel big to drive. That speaks volumes for the engineering expertise that has gone into it. And, with strong residuals and much lower running costs, you don’t need to be an oligarch to run one.

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