When it comes to Audi’s they don’t come any larger than the Q7, it’s the battleship of their luxuriant and technologically packed fleet. All the available room in the Q7 has given Audi the opportunity to roll out a mighty feature list that’s sure to impress the commander at the helm, as long as they’re willing to pay for the privilege that is.
In true Audi tradition the styling for the Q7 has been kept clean and reserved giving off a quiet yet confident impression on the road. The front end plays host to the large chrome grille and its neighbouring LED headlights which lend their daytime running light design to the brake lights too.
Our Q7 came with the $6,100 optional S-Line style package that adds 21″ Audi Sport alloy wheels, the aforementioned LED headlights with rear dynamic indicators, extra dark privacy glass and the S-Line body kit. Not content with a simple flash on and off for their indicators, the dynamic indicators light up rapidly from one side to the other in an animated fashion giving those behind you a small lightshow should you flick them on.
The visual enjoyment obtained from the outside of almost any car is fleeting as you’re going to be driving it hopefully from the inside and that’s where Audi are at their best. For drivers and passengers the Q7 is a soothing place to settle into and cover lengthy distances. Room up front and in the middle row is excellent, the final row is even adult friendly if you can persuade those in the middle to give up a portion of their legroom.
Soft touch surfaces, cool to the touch brushed metal and plush carpets can be found all throughout the interior furthering Audi’s reputation for excellent interior styling and material choice. Unfortunately there’s plastic used for the inside of the frequently touched door handles and a more durable slab of plastic used for the lower door trims which leaves room for improvement on the design table.
For a further $4,300 you can spec up the interior of your Q7 with the optional Comfort package as found in the Q7 on loan to us. This equips a number of additional features such as the ambient lighting package which changes colour to match the selected driving profile and heated front seats that allow you to select where you want the heat concentrated. You also get a sunblind for the rear window and rear doors, more stylish interior inlays and electronic steering column adjustment that saves to the seating profiles.
There’s other cleverly implemented interior elements that raise the comfort levels inside such as the dual sun visors which stop the need for frequent adjustment on winding roads and the air-con vents that spread the width of the dash for exceptional airflow.
Mounting child seats to ISOFIX points can be a real struggle at times and the Q7 has a simple yet clever way of making the whole procedure a walk in the park. There’s a removable section at the base of the seats that can be quickly pulled away to provide easy access eliminating the guesswork usually involved.
Getting in and out of the third row seats is no challenge either, the mid row seats fold out of the way so you can step and turn right in. When not in use the final row of seats can be slowly tumbled or raised electrically from either the boot or middle row of seats. Lying flat you’ve got a substantially sized boot measuring 770L which opens up to a colossal 1955L with all the seats dropped. When dropped the boot floor gives a vast flat surface to easily load bulky items onto and the anchor points make sure they stay where you put them.
Usually an optional extra, the Q7 TDI comes fitted with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as standard which has the instrument cluster replaced with a display that can adapt to show various information, the most impressive of which is the navigation map.
Parking cameras and vehicle configuration are still handled by the dash mounted display which can be electrically lowered and hidden when not required. Interaction is left to the centre console mounted rotary dial and touch pad that can be used to draw in addresses letter by letter. It makes more sense in a left hand drive car as the right handed among us may lack the finesse to accurately draw in those characters leaving the voice activated approach or touch screen method as the fastest choice.
The level of customisability in the Q7 is going to keep the control freak in you satisfied, there’s options to set where you want the heat in your seats distributed and you can even specify the temperature that you want for the footwells or what colour the ambient lighting should be set too.
All Q7’s are powered by Audi’s 3.0-litre TDI V6 turbo diesel engine, ours being the mid-spec 200kW model. There’s also a 160kW entry level model and the top spec e-tron hybrid with a combined total of 275kW. Power delivery is refined and smooth throughout the entire rev range making it a versatile and enjoyable powerplant to drive with. There’s 600Nm of torque from just 1,500 rpm only dropping off after 3,000 rpm and peak power is reached at 4,250 rpm so no matter where you are in the rev range, there’s plenty of grunt tucked away under your right foot.
A selection of 8 gears through the automatic gearbox has been matched up to the engine giving it both ample performance and respectable fuel economy. After our test we had the fuel economy sitting at an average of 8.6L/100km which is excellent once you factor in the 2,310kg tare weight. Audi claims you can get those figures down as low as 5.9L/100km. By engaging the economy driving profile and resisting the urge to stomp on the throttle should see your figures closer to the factory rating. Get it out on the freeway and the big V6 cruises along barely above idle, which means with a full tank you’ll crush more than 1000km before needing more juice.
There’s numerous driving profile modes available that alter the engine, gearbox and steering to accommodate different styles. You can tone everything down for comfort or have it all tighten up for more aggressive driving. What was lacking was a middle of the road setting that kept the engine from being rev happy without resorting to the fuel saving economy mode.
The 2.3 tons of weight underpinning the Q7 means it’ll never be light and nimble in the handling department, instead it performs in a sure footed and planted manner that inspires confidence even in fairly rotten conditions. Naturally the Quattro all-wheel drive system plays a big role here and the suspension setup assists by keeping the rolling inertia under control.
Given that most Q7s will be living out their days in the urban jungles of the world what matters most is that the ride is setup to suit, never too hard or too soft. Of course if absolute comfort is high on your list of priorities you can always include the optional Adaptive Air Suspension for the tidy sum of an additional $4,690.
Out of the box the Q7 is a well featured machine but that’s nothing compared to what it can be once you start ticking those option boxes. If your pockets are deep enough you can go bonkers and option yours well past $50,000 in extras with items like the $13,990 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System or the $4,800 night vision assistant with pedestrian detection or the $2,650 all-wheel steering system and one of the many styling extras on offer.
Ours came with a “mere” $22,700 in optional extras thanks to the Comfort Package, Technik Package, S-Line Style Package, Assistance Package and finally the Samurai Grey paint.
The Assistance package includes active lane assist and active cruise control which makes use of Audi’s pre-sense front and traffic jam assist technologies. Of all the lane keep assist systems I’ve tested the one from Audi is king, it’s not invasive and progressively takes over as you drift away from the lane centre and approach the lane lines. I wish I could speak such high praise for the active cruise control, most of the time it’s excellent, however on occasion it does lock onto cars in the next lane over and refuses to accelerate to fill the gap directly in front.
The Technik package comes with the very cool and surprisingly useful heads up display that shows a whole bunch of information. You get the usual speed and navigation instructions but I really enjoyed the distance warning that would let you know when you’re following too closely to the car in front based on the settings provided. Also included is the wireless charging mobile phone pad located in the centre glovebox, rear seat entertainment which is kind of redundant in the age of tablets and finally the 558 watt Bose 3D surround sound system composed of 19 speakers with subwoofer. It’s definitely a cut above most car stereo systems, turn the dials up and it gets loud and with thumping bass booming around the cabin.
As standard you can expect your Q7 to come with a hoard of features designed to make the SUV more capable and convenient in day to day use:
- 10-speaker stereo with CD/DVD player, DAB+, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay
- Memory card reader
- 19″ alloy wheels
- 4-zone climate control
- Front rear and side camera with top down view
- Keyless entry and start
- Digital instrument display
- Electronic front seats with memory settings for driver
- Engine stop start
- Satellite Navigation
- Bi-Xenon light sensitive headlights with auto dipping highbeam and automatic electric level adjustment
- Electronic parking brake
- Parking assistance with automated steering
- Power boot
- Rain sensing wipers
- Roof rails
- Wireless hotspot
- Gear shift paddles
The Q7 does become forgetful between drives with the stereo defaulting back to the entire list of available channels rather than sticking to your favourites and the auto high beam feature also reverts back to its default off state which can be a minor annoyance.
Scoring a healthy 5-star ANCAP rating the Q7 comes with a number of active and electronic safety aids to keep it scratch free:
- Blind spot sensor
- Forward collision mitigation (low speed)
- Forward collision warning
- Park distance control front and rear
- Speed limited cruise control
- Lane departure warning
- Side exit door warning
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Rear cross traffic alert
Design & Comfort
Performance & Handling
Equipment & Features
- Brilliant engine with huge range and economy
- Very well thought out interior design
- Lane keep assist system is top notch
- Active cruise control would occasionally lock onto cars in the next lane
- Forgets radio and auto high beam settings when turned off
- Throttle settings need adjustment
For a family orientated premium SUV the Audi Q7 makes a strong case for itself and while it can get pricey the option list allows you to spec the Q7 up to your precise needs. What minor gripes exist are easily overshadowed by the impressive technology and care put into the overall design with a strong emphasis on convenience and comfort.
2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specification
|Price (Excl. on-road costs)||From: $106,900
Samurai Grey Paint: $2,250
As tested: $129,600
|Warranty||3 Years/Unlimited Kilometres|
|Warranty Customer Assistance||3 Year Roadside|
|Country of Origin||Germany (Built in Slovakia)|
|Service Intervals||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine||3.0-litre TDI V6 turbo diesel
200kW @ 4,250rpm, 600Nm @ 1,500-3,000rpm
|Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg)||86.6|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km)||Claimed: 5.9 / Tested: 8.6|
|Fuel Capacity (L)||85|
|Body||5-door SUV, 7 seats|
|Safety||5-star ANCAP, 10 Airbags, Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners (front), Front/Side/Reverse Camera, Hill Holder, Adaptive Cruise Control, Hill Descent Control, Forward Collision Mitigation (low speed), Forward Collision Warning, Park Distance Control (front/rear), Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Side Door Exit Warning, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Anti-Lock Braking System, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Stability Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution.|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm||5052/1968/1741/2994|
|Tare Weight (kg)||2,310|
|Boot Space (Expanded) (L)||770 (1,955)|
|Towing Capacity (kg)||Braked: 3,500 / Unbraked: 750|
|Entertainment||7.0-inch colour touchscreen with satellite navigation, 10 speakers, Bluetooth, USB/AUX, DAB+, CD/DVD Player, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, Memory Card Reader|