In the popular world of SUVs, some cars really stand out: one of these cars is certainly the Audi Q7. This 4WD pinnacle of high-tech never ceases to surprise and amaze you. The massive and silky smooth power of this V6 truly transports you in higher spheres. It can do this with ultimate comfort, or with uncanny sportiness, making the Q7 a delight to drive with abandon. Just read further...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Q7 came to us in graphite grey metallic, and cedar brown leather seats. A very dignified colour combination which suited our test car very well. The Q7 exudes craftmanship, with a breathtaking finish level both inside and out. We like the new, slightly more angular styling language Audi is adopting in its recent models, and the car looks good, and unmistakably timeless "Audi" from any angle.
Sliding behind the wheel, one finds the familiar, elegant lettering and design of instruments and dials, and we were charmed by the new design elements found on the centre console, especially the new gear selector handle, with an elegant ergonomic shape, a handle which we also find back in the new A4 by the way.
Seating comfort behind the wheel is of course exemplary. The thigh support is - noblesse oblige - electronically adjustable, and the pneumatic lateral support is also adaptable, providing just that ideal level of tightness when you are driving with spirit on winding roads.
Pushing the starting knob will let the V6 come smoothly into life, a flick on the Tiptronic handle and off you go. At slow speeds, the car feels surprisibly nimble. This is thanks to the rear wheels, which also steer in opposite direction when speeds and revs are low, and steer in the same direction when the pace is faster. This leads to more precise and agile handling when driving with speed on curvy roads, and parking and manoeuvring in tight city centre streets is that much easier. State of the art...
The 90 ° V6 engine is an aluminum unit with combined demand-controlled gasoline direct injection and manifold injection, double overhead camshafts (DOHC), mechanical charger module (can be deactivated) with two intercoolers and two charge movement flaps. It works ever so smoothly, revs with a marvellous sound, and with 245 Kw or 333 hp between 5500 – 6500 rpm and 440 Nm of torque over a wide rev range between 2900 and 5300 rpm, the performance is nothing short of brilliant, as you will read later.
As soon as (legal) speed limits are reached, it is time to engage cruise control and let the awesome ACC system do its work, while you just are settling even more snugly in the comfortable seats. The Adaptive Cruise Control works ever so smoothly and functions at any speed between 0 and 250 kmh... You can also select five preprogrammed distances, and what's more, you can fine tune acceleration and speed adjustment behaviour through the Audi Drive Select system.
Need we say more? Yes, we do: up to a speed of 60 km, the system will also help you to steer the car through the so called traffic jam assistant. This system detects cars in neighbouring lanes, road markings and the like, and based upon this information, steers the car along a virtual ideal path, with soft steering wheel movements, which of course the driver can override at any moment. We were truly breathless when we tried it...
The system detects in combination with the MMI Navigation Plus, the curve radius of forthcoming curves, and adapts the speed accordingly.
In the MMI CAR menu, you can even activate the Audi Pre Sense Front system, which completes the Pre Sense City system with collision warning, partial braking and emergency braking recognition...
When you feel it is time to take matters in your own hands, it is good to know that you have gearchange paddles and sporting driving modes at your disposal, and can enjoy some good old fashioned sporting driving, revving the engine high to a throroughbred staccato.
Performance is of course of the highest order: 0 to 100 km is absolved in 6,3 seconds, top speed being not less than 250 km or 155 mph. But besides speed, we advise you also to enjoy the silk smooth progress of this Q7 when motoring at a more leisurely pace. It is the quintessence of what the automobile has always been all about.
Fuel economy on such a big and powerful car depends of course greatly on the way the car is driven. One must keep in mind that the new Q7 is not less than 716 pounds or 325 kilograms lighter compared to the old model, and that this Q7 is also the first vehicle to use the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, which will likely form the basis for many other large cars as well. So one can expect some impressive results.
The manufacturer quotes 8,3 litres/100 km on average, and indeed, driven with anticipation, we achieved 8,6litres/100 km. Combined CO2-emissions are 193 g/km.
The Q7 is a true master on the motorway, or "Autobahnmeister", as it would be put in the beautiful German language. It also feels quite at home in the city, where a City assistance pack and parking module will make urban life easier. Four additional wide angle camera's will let you look at all sides, and they can combine in a virtual top view.
This new Q7 is a genuine seven seater, and life in the cabin is great indeed. You can pamper yourself on the front seats, which offered massage function in our test car, through not less than 10 pneumatic cushions. Airco ventilation of the seats was also provided, adjustable in 3 levels through the Airco function.
And then the Bose Sound System 3D, with not less than 19 speakers, wirh a 15 channel digital amplifier, total power of 558 Watts. Never mind the power, just listen. For example to Frederica Von Stade, or Renée Fleming, when singing Antonin Dvorak's Song to the Moon in his
Rusalka masterpiece. There are speakers placed in the A post, to give you that 3D listening experience on the front seats. Be moved, dear reader!
Of course there is a CD player placed in the trunk, where you can load 6 CD's or DVD's...
The boot lid will of course lift automatically, and when the Q7 has recognized the comfort key, just the mere presence of your feet behind the car will open the lid.
Audi has developed the Q7 into quite a formidable car. It drives beautifully, offers sublime comfort, boasts uncanny refinement in its drivetrain, and bristles with state of the art electronics and driving aids. It is everything a modern car can, and should be.
Add to this the timeless styling, the impeccable build quality and finish, and the wide array of engines, including some very frugal Diesel versions, if you don't choose for this smooth and feline V6.
Indeed, we would like in the future to lay our hands on the frugal "Ultra" Diesel powered version of the Q7, the ultra 3.0 TDI Quattro... but in de meantime we would say, just book a test drive, for a heavenly experience with this Q7...
Hans Knol ten Bensel