Stationary in the parking lot, I looked at the typically Audi sort of instrument panel to take the trip reading before I drove off with the Audi Q7 3.0L Supercharged. The steering felt quite the right size, perfect for a racing style facing grip even in this 5.09 m long SUV. The gear was in P position, when suddenly the screen lit up and the rearview camera came on, calling my attention to a fast approaching car from behind. Crazy drivers who think the parking lot is a testing ground fielded with sentinels of resting cars! It passed without incident, but this was a good start to feel safe and alert inside Audi’s large family SUV, the Q7.
UPSIDE: Fluent power stream, Efficient acceleration and braking, Rear camera with guidelines, Class-leading finesse
FLIPSIDE: Third row access not easy enough, Third row fit for children, Reduced cabin storage, Advanced Driver assist features are optional
Audi Q7 PRICE: Starting from AED 208,000 for 3.0 TFSI quattro, AED 246,700 for 3.0 TFSI Supercharged quattro, AED 276,500 for 4.2 TDI quattro and AED 486,400 for 6.0 TDI V12
The Q7 is a complying car – in fact the incident in the parking lot was not long before I found out that the Audi Q7 does score well in braking efficiency too. At a point when the cars ahead swerved almost causing an accident on the highway, my Q7 slowed down abruptly, sticking to its driving line.
Despite its aggressive manner, it is essentially a matronly family car in the way it reacts. Like, the crossing of the 120kms speed limit triggers a sharp and long business-like beep rather than a tame and timid continuing signal. Likewise the flashing warning of the blind spot occurrence is abrupt and almost blinds you, demanding complete alertness. Yet, the most archaic thing in the car is the parking brake, which feels like you’re kicking down a truck at stop, and even gets released with a naïve and noisy thud!
With an unladen weight of 2240 kg and a 3.0 m wheelbase, the Audi Q7 comes across as a heavy and large car – it’s one of the largest SUVs in the market. The feeling follows you when you try to push the car around a bit. It does comply well for its size but sometimes feels a bit reluctant during demanding maneuvers. It is responsive on curves but there is a definite hint of the weight when you attempt high-speed maneuvers or carve out corners. After all, it is not a sports car; you have many other Audis that qualify for that. However, the heavy drive is actually much faster than it appears to be. The Audi Q7 Supercharged did a 0-100 in 7.7 seconds in my test, which is good by any standards and is awesome for a 7-seater.
If you overlook the imposing mass, the Q7 is designed just like any other Audi – minimalistic and impressively elegant. The minimal upward curve of the windows adds to the elegance but doesn’t take away from the road view. But the slightly elevated front with the side pillars mildly hampers the front side vision while tackling curves even from your vantage seating position. The large mirrors are partly to blame because they are not the kind that covers blind spots on their own. Which is why I wonder, why Audi Q7 has the blind spot monitor only in its top end model; they should be made standard. The finesse of the Audi exteriors is top class as vouched for by our cleaning team that says the surface is so polished that it makes their job damn easy!
The Audi Q7 supercharged has 333 brake horsepower which makes the car very efficient on the roads, preferred as much by executives as by super-moms. The good thing about it is that even the 272 horsepower delivered by the regular version is adequate for the large sized car, and the 6-speed transmission channels the power stream so fluently that you never feel that there is too much.
As a 5-seater the Audi Q7 is pretty spacious with enough legroom for the second row seats but the sloping roofline makes it hard for those in the rear, so they’d rather be kids, or Woody Allen himself. The tough part is that you might have to hoist people on to the third row. The east access isn’t easy enough yet, even with the second row seats down and pushed forward. The seats are ISOFIX ready and for those spending the extra bucks, the Bang & Olufsen 14-channel music system makes for 1000W of quality family time.
The boot space is reasonably good, and grows from a meager 775 L to 2035 L with the second row seat backs down and the sixth and seventh seats flattened out. It comes with a convenient automatic tailgate as well!
Cabin and Controls
The sporty edge to the design is obvious in the tachometer and the odometer dials in red, white and black. But the additional digital speedometer is quite a practical thought because while the panel looks like a sport watch dial, the crowded numbers could make for hard reading on the go.
The multimedia with its vertical and sideways operation can be a little perplexing in the beginning. But once mastered it is one of the best multimedia interfaces in any premium car in town.
The cabin storage in the Audi Q7 isn’t terribly overwhelming. There isn’t much provisions but for a few cups and side-sill bottle storage. The concept of rear seatback storage is totally missing. And the usual deep pocket that is under the armrest is completely usurped by the 6-CD changer. But yes, there is space for your sunglasses above.
Audi Q7 and off-roading
Now, people often wonder whether the Q7 is equipped to dare the desert or the ‘un-beaten’ tracks. On its 21 inch wheels and Quattro transmission, I’m sure the Q7 will take you places your sedan won’t but, somehow, it gives you a feeling of not being the vehicle of choice for an off road adventure by its sheer elegance and of course the absolute lack of any extra assistance. The Audi Q7 is for you to mark your presence on the road and among peers, and that bit it does very well!
Drive Courtesy: Audi Volkswagen Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy