It’s been a long old summer, especially as the weather has been as indecisive as a bride-to-be choosing a wedding dress. At least the new footy season has started and it won’t be long now until the next series of Strictly Come Dancing starts (only me? Ok).
Back in the world of motoring though, anticipation has been bubbling away nicely for the launch of the Audi Q7, a car that I described back in March as “bigger than Game of Thrones”. Well it’s fair to say that such a claim holds up, except there’s no White Walkers and no massive internet breaking twist at the end. This car is amazing from start to finish.
Audi’s premium SUV has had the likes of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE in its sights for some time now, and it’s finally time to pull the trigger.
It’s hard to believe that Audi has only been producing SUVs for 10 years, entering the market with the first generation Q7, a car that has gone on to achieve sales of 500,000 worldwide and broken new ground for the SUV market.
Unlike many of its rivals, when it comes to the Audi Q7, Audi shares rapper Dr Dre’s considered approach to updating its material and in doing so has created one of the most luxurious and high performing SUVs available on the market.
With a lighter and more nimble platform, ultra high spec interior and a mighty 3.0 litre V6 engine, the German manufacturer looks set to extend its fan club even further.
The Audi Q7’s new design is certainly impressive, with a slightly reduced outer shell that does little to dent its reading on the head-turn-o-meter. Extra lines and an enlarged chrome grille also adds an extra bit of cool to proceedings and should help the Audi Q7 gain greater affection among executives keen to make a memorable first impression. I could well imagine Alan Sugar stepping out of the back of this and firing a random passer-by with his big finger.
While the Q7 might have executive looks, its seven seats are just at home taking a large family out for the day as they are ferrying your colleagues around, with back seats that fold to reveal a jaw dropping 1,955 litres of load space.
However, the real black magic lies in the Q7’s kerb weight, which is a startling 325kg lighter than its predecessor, trickery that is made possible by bodywork that is made up of 40% aluminium.
As a result the lightweight feel of the drive creates the illusion that you’re in control of a much smaller car. And I’m not talking the Q5 here. Given how smooth the Q7’s handling was around the winding roads of the Northumberland countryside, you could be mistaken for thinking you were in the company of one of Audi’s more compact models.
This illusion is maintained by the Q7’s frankly brilliant 3.0 litre diesel V6 TDI engine, which produces 268bhp and got me from 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds, with a punch to the acceleration that left any preconceived ideas of what an SUV is capable of in the dust. Not that such heavy acceleration would have been noticeable to my rear passengers, with Audi’s typical zero tolerance for cabin noise in full force as I zipped through the Q7’s 8 speed automatic gearbox.
The interior is also classic Audi in that it is comfortably one of the best around. Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’, which works so well in the TT, is present and correct, as is a larger touch pad that gives you the option to handwrite instructions to your sat-nav. Just don’t use it to find anywhere in North Wales. It ain’t an Etch A Sketch.
The Q7 shies away from taking too many cues from the TT, swapping its elaborate aviation-inspired air vents for a more streamlined dashboard, while adding extra touches such as a larger palm-filling gear stick, an adjustable dual arm rest and suede side panels.
This is a considered, well thought out SUV, with a classic yet modern design that is matched by performance that, for an SUV, is in a different league. Here’s to the next 10 years.