ALL CHANGE: A MIGHTY MAKEOVER FOR THE AUDI Q7

Audi’s first SUV is back for a sec­ond in­stal­ment with less weight, bet­ter ef­fi­ciency and even more space in­side

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - MATT JOY

AUDI Q7 3.0 TDI S LINE

WHAT’S NEW?

Large pre­mium SUVS are more pop­u­lar than ever and, given that the out­go­ing Q7 is near­ing its ninth birth­day, Audi has de­cided it’s time for a new one.

Rather than a re­fresh, the Ger­man maker has gone to town with Q7 MKII; there’s a new body and chas­sis with a sub­stan­tial weight re­duc­tion, a new ex­te­rior and in­te­rior, the lat­est en­gines and a ma­jor up­grade in terms of stan­dard and op­tional tech­nol­ogy too. Few stones have been left un­turned in the quest for the best-in-class ti­tle.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

Pres­ence and stature are ev­ery­thing at this end of the mar­ket, and clearly Audi have given the Q7 as much of both as pos­si­ble. Ditch­ing the grey plas­tic cladding around the lower por­tion of the car for body colour gives it a smarter look, and the old car’s curvy waist­line has been ditched for some­thing a lit­tle more squared off. Whether it’s bet­ter look­ing or not is a mat­ter of opin­ion how­ever; the front grille is in­spired by the smaller Q3 but looks huge on the Q7.

There’s noth­ing to touch the Q7’s

im­age this side of a full-size Range Rover. Peo­ple will see you com­ing and be in no doubt about which man­u­fac­turer your mighty SUV comes from.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

It might be lighter than the old car, but the new Q7 is cer­tainly not short of space. In­side it is ab­so­lutely vast; it doesn’t mat­ter which seat you sit in, there’s head, leg and shoul­der room in spades. The larger win­dows help the feel­ing of space too, while the space it­self is very well man­aged. The third row of seats can stow elec­tri­cally while the sec­ond row tilts and folds for easy ac­cess. You can fit three child seats across the sec­ond row, giv­ing you the night­mar­ish prospect of be­ing able to carry six in­fants in one car. Even with all seats in place there’s 770 litres of boot space, and 1,990 with them all folded.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

There are few bet­ter views than from be­hind the wheel of the Q7, thanks to the high driv­ing po­si­tion and large glazed area. There’s fewer but­tons now thanks to the slick MMI Touch sys­tem and it all works beau­ti­fully well.

Diesel will be the pre­ferred op­tion in the UK and the lat­est 3.0-litre TDI unit is a gem. Re­fined and with plenty of torque on of­fer, it can move the Q7 along very briskly in­deed, with 0-62mph tak­ing only 6.5 sec­onds, although it’s so re­fined it doesn’t feel as fast. Re­mark­ably, it’s also fru­gal with it, with a claimed com­bined con­sump­tion fig­ure of 47.9mpg with 153g/km of CO2.

It’s se­cure and sta­ble, rather than thrilling to drive, but it’s the level of com­fort on of­fer that is most im­por­tant, and the re­fined driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and low noise lev­els are im­pres­sive.

VALUE FOR MONEY

All Q7 mod­els come with a lengthy stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion, with high­lights such as DAB au­dio with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, elec­tri­cally op­er­ated and heated front seats, elec­tri­cally fold­ing third row and elec­tric tail­gate, cruise con­trol, au­to­matic lights and wipers, front and rear park­ing sys­tem, key­less start and hill des­cent con­trol. SE mod­els get 19-inch wheels as stan­dard too, whilst S Line mod­els add 20-inch wheels, leather seats, pri­vacy glass and four-zone cli­mate con­trol.

The op­tions list is huge too, but in­cludes good­ies like the clever vir­tual cock­pit al­ready seen in the TT, Ap­ple Car Play or Google An­droid Auto and a smart rear tablet for en­ter­tain­ing pas­sen­gers.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

If there was ever a per­fect fam­ily wagon then the new Q7 is it. With so much space in­side and a great deal of flex­i­bil­ity on how that space is used it can prob­a­bly cope with any kind of com­bi­na­tion of pas­sen­ger size, num­ber and ac­com­pa­ny­ing lug­gage as you could throw in it. What’s more, those pas­sen­gers will be car­ried in com­fort. It’s not cheap of course, but it’s a lux­u­ri­ous cabin and an ef­fort­less driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to boot.

IN A NUT­SHELL…

This car summed up in a sin­gle word: Mas­sive If this car was a... boat, it would be a lux­ury cruise liner; big, com­fort­able and a fine place to re­lax.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 S Line, £54,540 En­gine:3.0-litre unit pro­duc­ing 268bhp and 443lb.ft of torque Trans­mis­sion: Eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box driv­ing all four

THE OP­TIONS LIST IS HUGE TOO, BUT IN­CLUDES GOOD­IES LIKE THE CLEVER VIR­TUAL COCK­PIT AL­READY SEEN IN THE TT, AP­PLE CAR PLAY OR GOOGLE AN­DROID AUTO

In­side the Q7 is ab­so­lutely vast; there’s head, leg and shoul­der room in spades

Many in the UK will opt for the 3.0-litre TDI op­tion

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