Audi Q7 SUV (2005 - 2011) review
Read the Audi Q7 4x4 (2006 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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Audi, so there are few surprises as to how the cabin looks. There are plenty of sober grey tactile plastics, which are pleasant to the touch, and a smattering of silver trimmings. A colour screen is the focal point of the dash, and is controlled by Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface), which is similar in concept, but better in execution than BMW’s iDrive. A number of shortcut keys arranged around a rotary dial are used to cycle through menus. It’s easy to get a good driving position though a fully-adjustable drivers’s seat and steering wheel.
Audi Q7 is a big beast, and its typical Audi design does little to hide its girth. It sports Audi’s trademark grille up front, and on this it’s surely bigger than any other Audi grille before it. A lower front bumper with fog lamps stretches the Q7’s face downwards, in a similar way to that of the
Porsche Cayenne. The rear wears Audi’s latest-look lights, which both encase a pair of hollow rectangular light units, which beam bright when the tail or brake lights are activated. It also has a pair of sporty exhausts, one on each side.
It should come as little surprise that there’s plenty of space inside. The boot contains two extra seats, turning the Audi Q7 into a spacious seven seater. The second row of seats fold forward easily, allowing access to the rearmost seats. Boot space varies from 330 litres when all seven seats are in place to 775 litres with the rears folded. Drop the second row seats as well, and it offers more than 2,000 litres of room. The biggest barrier to ultimate practicality is the Q7’s size, at almost two metres wide and more than five metres long, it over-fills most parking spaces.
Ride and handling
The Audi Q7 is among the best in its class for ride comfort and handling, though the car’s girth compromises absolute driver enjoyment. Only the
BMW X6 clearly betters it, but that car is designed solely for on-road driving. The steering is direct and accurate, offering levels of feedback rare in this class of car. The 3-litre TDI we tested was also refined. The ride is smooth, with minimal bodyroll. All models are available with adjustable air suspension, which allows the driver to alter suspension firmness or ride height via the car’s MMI system.
We tested the entry-level 3-litre TDI, the most popular model in the range. The 236bhp engine produces a thumping 406lb/ft of pulling power, allowing the Q7 to hit 62mph in 8.5 seconds, before reaching 134mph. Even though it’s the smallest engine, it offers all the pace needed in a big 4×4. Top performance honours go to the 6-litre TDI, which develops a
Porsche Panamera-rivalling 493bhp, covering 0-62 in 5.4 seconds with a 155mph top speed. Petrol options comprise a 3.6-litre, which matches the 3-litre TDI for acceleration, or a 4.2 petrol covering 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds before hitting 154mph.
No model barring the 3-litre TDI returns more than 25mpg (the 3-litre TDI will cover almost 29mpg). The petrol models mpg figures are in the very low 20s, but amazingly the 6-litre V12 TDI can return around 25mpg. All models fall into tax band G, and insurance groups between 16 and 18 will be expensive too. Used values are among the strongest in it class and when taking equipment levels into account, the slightly dearer Q7 looks like reasonable value against the
Like pretty much every car Audi has made in the last few years, the Audi Q7 feels solid. It’s a complex machine, but Audi has been building tough four wheel-drive systems since the 1980s.
The Audi Q7 missed out on a full five star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test programme by one star, but has a comprehensive level of safety kit. Driver, passenger front side, full-length curtain and side head airbags for the middle row occupants are standard on all models. ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability programme with special functions for on and off-road driving, as well as a trailer stabilisation system for safer towing also feature across the range.
For a £40,000-plus car, it’s unusual to see leather upholstery missing from the standard equipment list, and sat-nav isn’t standard on any model – it’s part of the £2,500 Technology Pack. Standard kit includes 18-inch alloys, adaptive air suspension, climate control, MMI, parking sensors, four 12-volt electrical sockets, cruise control and trip computer. SE model add leather and alcantara upholstery, electrically operated and heated front seats, ambient interior lighting and chrome exterior trims. Range-topping S-Line also receives 20-inch alloys, front sport seats, leather and alcantara upholstery, S-Line badging and headlamp washers.
Audi is the car maker of the moment, and seems to do no wrong. And when those four rings are on a car which oozes ability, it reinforces Audi’s reputation as a manufacturer to be reckoned with.