Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quat­tro


Nam Wheels - - Front Page -

Big­gerI is al­ways bet­ter, right? We drove Audi’s new Q7 for a week to find out.

If big­ger re­ally is al­ways bet­ter prob­a­bly de­pends on who you ask so let’s keep our minds out of the gut­ter and firmly pinned on au­to­mo­biles.

With global trends of dwin­dling re­sources and heav­ier traf­fic, ris­ing taxes and fuel bills, it’s no won­der Audi de­cided to shove its Q7 flag­ship SUV into the gym.

The first gen­er­a­tion of this huge soft-roader launched in 2005, in the twi­light of a time when the world was drunk on ex­cess.

Shortly af­ter its in­tro­duc­tion and partly fu­elled by the global re­ces­sion, even the Q7's tar­get Amer­i­can mar­ket started buy­ing smaller and more ef­fi­cient cars. Pick-ups ex­cluded, nat­u­rally.

In de­fence of the orig­i­nal Q7, there wasn’t much to ri­val it for seven-seater spa­cious­ness. The down­side of this gen­eros­ity was its no­tice­able bulk which topped Audi’s to-do list for gen two.

The old car’s mod­u­lar plat­form “MLB” was fur­ther en­hanced to “MLB2", which also hosts other lux­ury SUV’S from the VWAG sta­ble.

Look­ing at the white press car we were handed for a week, the slightly tauter ve­hi­cle shows Audi’s sharper de­sign lines and an­gu­lar pro­por­tions as op­posed to its lumpen fore­fa­ther.

Per­son­ally I wouldn’t de­scribe the old Q7 as ugly but this new one man­ages to hide its size very well. Good job, Audi.

Ditto for the su­per-size in­te­rior with its ar­ray of fancy gad­gets. The new Vir­tual Cock­pit (dig­i­tal in­stru­ments, a N$9,400 op­tion) and the lat­est-gen­er­a­tion MMI Touch in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem are in­te­grated into a classy cock­pit with su­perb crafts­man­ship and lux­ury ma­te­ri­als. Our test car also fea­tured sump­tu­ous half­suede, half-leather seats and an op­tional third row.

A tiny point of crit­i­cism was the steeper learn­ing curve most testers ex­pe­ri­enced with this newer MMI sys­tem – var­i­ous op­tions and sub-menus weren’t as in­tu­itively placed as be­fore.

The user in­ter­face seems more re­spon­sive though and I has­ten to add that any new owner just needs a wee bit of prac­tice to mas­ter its op­er­a­tion.

The new Audi Q7 is avail­able with a 2-litre four-pot or this 3litre turbo- Diesel V6 churn­ing out 183kw or 600Nm to all four wheels (Quat­tro) via a smooth eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box to reach a top speed of 225km/h or hit 100km/h in 6.3 sec­onds. Our GPS test­ing equip­ment spat out a Gti-scaring 6.63 sec­onds to a hun­dred kays an hour.

An­other test I sub­jected this car to was mild off-road­ing of the farm / veld va­ri­ety; which it aced. Ex­cel­lent sound damp­ing joins the adap­tive air sus­pen­sion (N$32,000 ex­tra) for ex­cel­lent ride com­fort and sta­bil­ity. The only real draw­back is the car’s siz­able body which you don’t want to scratch.

That also ap­plies to the Q7’s use around town, as il­lus­trated by one of our testers when she had a meet­ing in the city cen­tre and ner­vously asked “don’t we have an­other car?”

The Q7 is big. It’s amaz­ingly easy to drive and feels quite light on its feet but we urge any po­ten­tial own­ers to or­der ev­ery avail­able park­ing aid op­tion.

One thing I wanted to yank out of the car was its auto- park­ing brake. Al­though se­lectable, this both­er­some nanny comes on when you least ex­pect it. In slow traf­fic. While park­ing. Or when crawl­ing into your messy garage. Added to the grabby brakes (at low speeds), it’s prob­a­bly just a safety net be­tween the Q7’s heft and in­ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers.

Does that mean that this huge car is a point­less, flashy, gross ego ex­ten­sion? Maybe for some but we found the new Audi Q7’s call­ing through a com­bi­na­tion of many fac­tors.

Take one long jour­ney, throw in coun­try roads in vary­ing states of dis­re­pair, add a dash of dirt or rain, mix with at least four tall adults and blend un­til happy.

Yes, there are cheaper, smaller and more ef­fi­cient ways to travel but if you like to par­take in big trips with many peo­ple of the big va­ri­ety, an Audi Q7 will be just what you need. Its smooth V6 even sounds good and can be rel­a­tively fuel- ef­fi­cient - Audi claims 6.3L/ 100km while our aver­age for the 2-ton be­he­moth came to just un­der nine.

The priv­i­lege of driv­ing Audi’s big­gest car will set you back at least N$980,000 with­out spaceage op­tions. So it isn’t just about size, it’s how well you use it...

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