The Asian Age

FAD­ING RHINO

THE Q7 4.2 V8 TDI IS CAR THAT CAN TAKE YOU RE­ALLY LONG DIS­TANCES, WITH­OUT TROU­BLE. HERE’S WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW

- SID­HARTH SHAROTRI

Eight years is a long time. Most mar­riages don’t last that long. World wars have been won and lost in less. In car terms, eight years is an Ice Age. Es­pe­cially th­ese days, since pref­er­ences are so fleet­ing and buy­ers’ minds so fickle.

That Audi has thought to keep the Q7 on sale for that long is a moot point for the pub. It stands to rea­son that no car, no mat­ter how unique and spe­cial it was, could have sur­vived this long.

When the Q7 launched in In­dia, it was a mas­sive hit. It was the ob­vi­ous choice for the rich and in­fa­mous. Big, bom­bas­tic and four- ringed, it was the only proper lux­ury SUV on the mar­ket. It also had a great run for many years un­til Land Rover, Mercedes- Benz and BMW joined the party. And even then, the Q7 held its own. The trou­ble with this sce­nario is di­min­ish­ing ex­clu­siv­ity. Rich peo­ple al­ways want to be dif­fer­ent. Par­tic­u­larly with their cars. And we’ve ar­rived at a point now where the Range Rover is the best Uber SUV and the Mercedes GL and ML Classes fill in the rest. So, has the gi­ant Q7 turned ir­rel­e­vant? Let’s find out.

It’s still big. No, wait. It’s still huge. Imag­ine two Ad­nan Samis ( circa 1998) and you know what I mean. The looks, whether good or griz­zly, are de­bat­able. What isn’t de­bat­able is its pres- ence. Or rather it is be­cause the Q7 is just too fa­mil­iar on city streets. Its head- turn­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties have left the build­ing.

Inside, the age is be­gin­ning to show as well. There’s a slot for the key left­over from the old car. This is odd be­cause it has key­less en­try and key­less go. The DriveS­elect only gives you sus­pen­sion op­tions. It has sep­a­rate but­tons to start and stop. And the se­lec­tion for Sport on the gear­box is be­low Drive, not be­side it. This meant that I found my­self won­der­ing a few times if I hadn’t in ad­ver-tently awak­ened the God of war while park­ing and do­ing 3point turns.

On the up­side, the qual­ity is leg­endary Audi. Ev­ery­thing feels solid and ex­tremely well put to­gether. It has a full- length glass roof, a high- qual­ity stereo from Bose and the MMI has many things to fid­dle with in traf­fic jams.

It is a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to drive in the city, es­pe­cially if you’ve driven the sim­i­larly- sized Merc GL. It feels like a land- yacht. We’ve said time and time again that all lux­ury cars and even sportscars are easy to drive in ci­ties. And the Q7 is in some ways. Ex­cept in terms of ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity. You can feel the dis­tinct lack of en­thu­si­asm for agility. Let me put it this way; if you see a gap, don’t bother.

But it does have a sweet spot. Like our beloved Q5, it has the in­her­ent abil­ity to cruise ex­cep­tion­ally well over bad roads. And good ones for that mat­ter. Un­like the Q5, it has a 4.2L V8 Diesel. The V8 diesel Range Rover has 700Nm of torque. An AMG Mercedes GL with a biturbo petrol V8 makes 760Nm. This has the same. The re­sult of this is cruis­ing as ef­fort­less as I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced. The power is re­lent­less through all eight gears. It never peaks. It’s just one long con­stant surge. I loved it. As en­gines go, this one is bril­liant when you want to sim­ply haul your­self long dis­tance. And long dis­tance it goes be­cause it has 100L fuel tank and a high­way kpl fig­ure of 13kpl. The­o­ret­i­cally, that 1300km on a tank. Prac­ti­cally, it’s about a 1000. But 1000km is still Mumbai to Ben­galuru. In the face of its mod­ern com­pe­ti­tion, the Q7 4.2 V8 TDI is a dif­fi­cult car to con­sider, es­pe­cially since an all­new Q7 is due next year.

But I like it for its long dis­tance abil­i­ties on real In­dian roads. If you have a fam­ily of seven — all of whom are afraid of fly­ing — then the Q7 is the car for you.

The Q7 has the in­her­ent abil­ity to cruise ex­cep­tion­ally well over bad roads

 ??  ?? THE GI­ANT: The qual­ity of this car is
leg­endary Audi. Ev­ery­thing feels solid and ex­tremely well put to­gether
THE GI­ANT: The qual­ity of this car is leg­endary Audi. Ev­ery­thing feels solid and ex­tremely well put to­gether

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