JOIN THE QUEUE FOR THE Q7
BIG BUT MISERLY AUDI IS ALL CLASS
CAN one call a $96,000 vehicle a 'base' model?
Especially when the top-ofthe-range lookalike is only $7500 more expensive? No, we don't think so either. But Audi has such a situation with its second-generation Q7 SUV, now available in 160kW /500Nm and 200/600 packages.
Both use a 3.0litre V6 turbodiesel with quattro (all-wheel) drive and eight-speed tiptronic transmission, and both come with a lot of options that can easily propel the price skywards.
Our aristocratic drive-mobile was the 160kW version, which has more than enough power for most needs and is capable of taking the 2.1tonne seven-seater to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds.
But of greater interest to most owners might be the diesel's lean appetite.
It uses an average of 5.8litres/100km, which makes the big, luxurious beast a lot more fuel-efficient than most small petrol-powered hatches.
It's 20 per cent easier on fuel than the original Q7, and aluminium components make it stronger and lighter as well.
The Q7 is big on luxury and interior space, with lots of head, shoulder and legroom for all three rows of seats, though it's a tad more cramped in the rearmost ones, which are intended for children.
And if you don't need to carry passengers, the second and third rows can be folded flat to turn the Q7 into a premium carrier of goods. And yes, of course the tailgate is powered for handsfree access.
The doors can be powered too, if you wish, via a $1550 option.
Standard fare is extensive, with drive select, auto-on headlights and wipers, leather trim, powered front seats, automatic aircon, parking sensors front and rear, reverse camera with cross traffic view, hill hold and hill descent control.
The test vehicle also had Audi connect, metallic paint, Assistance package, Parking package, LED headlights and brushed aluminium inlays, which elevated its price to $111,000.
And there are many more items that collectively can double the car's price.
The Assistance item is impressive, comprising adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking, plus 'traffic jam, collision and turn assist’, all sophisticated bits of magic that add up to greater safety. The Parking pack also includes a 360degree bird's eye view camera for pinpoint parking precision.
The classy dash has an 8.3inch infotainment screen with great features, especially the satnav, and Audi's iPhone and Android integration. The DAB audio is also top class.
The ride, on 19-inch alloys, is super-quiet and compliant, the handling excellent for a heavyweight and it's certainly not lacking in performance.
It's a fine country cruiser, running along stress-free with just the barest of fuel needs, but with a great wallop of power in reserve for quicker, safer overtaking.
Verdict: An elegant and capable vehicular statement.
Audi's latest Q7 can be tailored to endless buyer desires.