These luxury seven-seat SUVs have been a long time coming. Now, which one is superior? Joshua Dowling adjudicates
The previous Q7 started at $90,000. The new one is so dear because Audi is launching with its big 3.0-litre turbo diesel. More affordable models may follow but don’t hold your breath. The options list is significant: our test vehicle had $25,950 worth of extras including metallic paint ($2400), air suspension ($4950), premium audio ($2775), ambient cabin lighting ($1380), aluminium trim ($2170). The list goes on.
With its massive grille the Q7 is very much in your face but inside it’s a simpler design. Despite the acres of space and the vast dashboard, the Q7 has a small centre console, and the gearshift gets in the way of the cabin controller. You can easily think you’ve put the Q7 into Park even though it may still be in Drive. Disturbingly, it doesn’t lock into Park once the driver’s door is open, meaning you could have a runaway Q7. We nearly did.
The 3.0-litre (200kW/600Nm) is epic and effortless. Don’t believe the fuel rating label, though (5.9L/100km). As has been well documented recently, this is a lab test not a real world number. Drive smoothly, however, and you will use less than 10L/100km.
All the usual mod cons are covered and it has fivestar safety. But some of its highlights are optional, such as radar cruise control with automatic lane keeping ($4075). Curtain airbags extend to the third rows.
Superb on the road, it has effortless power and light and precise steering. The Q7 has lost 200kg so it feels more nimble than before. With a slightly lower and wider stance than the XC90, it feels more secure in corners.