The new face
Audi is both praised and criticized for its model range having a very uniform look. However, the Q7 is a slight departure; it is very distinguishable from the other models in the range. Up front there is a new single frame grille, which is more hexagonal in shape than the other Audi model with square grilles.
The side profile of the car looks great with blistered wheel arches that house wheels ranging from 18 to 21 inches. The rear end of the car looks more squat, with tasteful rectangular tailpipes and LED taillights. Overall, I’m not the biggest fan of the looks ,but I can see the car growing on me.
Audi just knows how to produce great interiors and the new Q7 steps up the game yet again. There’s an all-new dashboard design which features full-length air vents that run across the length of the dashboard; Audi claims that these improve air circulation.
There is also a newly designed climate control system, which looks very upmarket. Then, there’s an 8.3-inch infotainment screen with MMI navigation plus, as standard. My personal favourites have to be the steering-wheel design and the virtual cockpit in the instrument cluster; it may be an option, but the functionality of the system is amazing.
The new model is considerably lighter, with some models being up to 325kg less than the model it replaces, which makes it more efficient and faster, for those who care about performance. Only one engine will be available from launch, which is the 3.0-litre turbo diesel model with 183kW/600Nm.
The performance is ample, with enough power to get the car from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds, while consuming a claimed 5.7 litres/100km. The oil burner makes use of an eight-speed torque converter automatic. In January, next year, there will be a 2.0-litre turbo petrol model added to the model range, which will have 185kW/370Nm.
This new Q7 is one of the nicest cars that I have ever experienced in terms of ride quality, overall comfort and refinement. The new MLB platform coupled with the air suspension fitted to the units that we drove, makes this a very comfortable car; it whispers along and is such a pleasant thing to pilot. The Drive Select system allows you to choose whether you’d like to drive in an off-road, sporty or regular mode, which adds to the adaptability of the car.
The Q7 does come with quite a bit of kit; expect Xenon headlights, two USB slots, partial leather upholstery, reverse camera, electric tailgate, cruise control, dual-zone air conditioning and front/rear PDC.
The really nifty kit does come at a price, though. The four-wheel steering, which helps with manoeuvrability, is an extra cost item as is the virtual cockpit, the excellent trailer assist, traffic assist and collision avoidance assist.
I was of the opinion that Volvo had moved this large premium SUV segment on with its new XC90 however, after driving the new Q7 I have to say, the Swede has its work cut out for it. The Q7 is a great product, but as with any Audi, the optional extras that make the car special, does come at a price.
Warranty and service
The new Audi Q7 comes with a five-year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro tiptronic: R924 000