The Audi Q7 - Too Big For Britain?
The Audi Q7 - Too Big For Britain?
December 16, 2013
Now then. I often seem to be at odds with others when it comes to the suitability of certain cars on UK roads and the Audi Q7 is a case in point. True, this behemoth is not a ‘B’ road special but that’s not what it was designed for. Basically, car manufacturers are on a hiding to nothing. They design a big, seven seat go-anywhere family cruiser and are then criticised for it being to large for our narrow town and village high streets. They can’t win.
More to the point, the Q7 is getting on a bit now. We first saw it in 2005 and it went on sale in 2007 as Audi’s first true SUV. Naturally, the design has been refreshed and all the high-tech toys added but with the trend for smaller, lighter offerings from other manufacturers does the Q7 still have what it takes?
The model shown here has the more powerful 254PS version of the 3.0L V6 TDI coupled with an 8 speed Tiptronic ‘box and is specified with S-Line trim. I spent a happy forty minutes lording it over the traffic small-fry. As you can see from the top image, part of my trip was down country lanes and I didn’t experience any size issues with oncoming traffic. If I had, then, with Quattro technology, what are verges for?
The three litre engine (with unobtrusive Stop/Start) has bags of gusto; it gets the massive Q7 up to speed without drama, and it's very smooth. The traffic light sprint is accomplished in a decent 7.8 seconds but that’s not what this car is about. In the gears there is plentiful power for effortless overtaking and for rolling on to 135mph. Audi reckon that fuel consumption should be in the mid-thirties and I think that’s achievable - if you drive appropriately.
That’s the problem. With this great engine the tendency is to push on a bit and gobble up the miles. It pays to remember though this is no sports car. Take on a sharpish corner at full pelt and you can expect trouble. Nevertheless, with Quattro and stability control as standard it does the job better than some similar sized vehicles from around the world. Only the Porsche Cayenne is better, but that’s a blood relation anyway.
Comfort is taken care of by adaptive air suspension – electronically controlled with a continuously adaptive damping system for all four wheels which regulates ride height and damping automatically. There’s a choice of five modes (automatic, comfort, dynamic, off-road and lift) selected via the MMI system. The whole thing sits on 20” alloy wheels which are just the right size, but a little ordinary if I‘m honest.
The comfort is further augmented by the firmly supportive seats. The driving position is excellent and the interior is a nice place to be but, compared with some of the latest Audi saloons, it would not be unfair to suggest that the Q7 interior is getting a bit dated. The second row of seats offers plenty of legroom but the third row is strictly for the kids. They won’t mind - plenty of mischief to be had without being under the parental noses. Surprisingly, the boot wasn’t as massive as I had expected although 765L is probably big enough for most purposes. With the third row of seats down it becomes positively cavernous.
The vehicle featured had the technology package that included Sat-Nav - obviously - Audi’s advanced parking and voice dialogue systems and a host of other kit you’d expect to find. There was a panoramic sunroof, adaptive Xenon headlights and a very good Bose sound system. This all brings the price up from a S-Line base of just under £46,000 to a more hearty £53,415.
Overall then, The Audi Q7 is a luxury motor that focuses on comfortable seating for the whole family, and a comfortable - and safe - on-road ride. Not that most buyers will be likely to need much in the way of off-road capability, but the Q7 won’t disappoint if the going gets a bit gnarly. Yes, it is very big and sometimes parking can be a bit of an issue, but it drives like a smaller car and, be honest, in the real world just how often do people get into tight spots? Anyone worrying about that can always buy a Q5, or a Q3 or ….