In fidelity we trust

Ex­otic fling sends Bul­mer rush­ing for Q7’s em­brace

Wheels (Australia) - - Showroom - GED BUL­MER

THE GRASS is al­ways greener, or so the say­ing goes, and I was re­cently tempted to swap the keys of the Audi Q7 for a few days at the wheel of a bright-shiny new bauble from an­other renowned Euro­pean brand.

It rep­re­sented the car maker in ques­tion’s first foray into the au­to­mo­tive hon­ey­pot that is SUVS and, with the brand’s rep­u­ta­tion forged in sports cars and per­for­mance sa­loons, my ex­pec­ta­tions were high.

How­ever, af­ter a week of en­dur­ing the leaden lump’s heavy steer­ing, vast turn­ing circle and lethar­gic diesel per­for­mance – all at a fully-op­tioned price tag that would have en­abled me to park an S3 Sportback along­side the Q7 for sim­i­lar money – I prac­ti­cally hugged the big Audi when the time came to re­unite.

The in­ci­dent re­minded me that, a few months ear­lier, I’d run into a mate who’d pur­chased a Q7 and was ea­ger to tell me how happy he was with his de­ci­sion. I was steer­ing a Volvo XC90 diesel at the time, which said-friend had run the rule over dur­ing his due-dili­gence, but had cho­sen the Audi on the ba­sis of its su­pe­rior re­fine­ment.

I con­sid­ered the XC90 a de­cently re­fined propo­si­tion, and thought him a bit harsh on what is ar­guably the Swedish mar­que’s most im­pres­sive product. But, hav­ing now spent de­cent wheel time in both seven-seaters, I have to con­cede he was spot-on.

It’s not so much that the XC90 is lack­ing in re­fine­ment; more that Audi has taken the whole noise-vi­bra­tion-harsh­ness busi­ness to an­other level, prac­ti­cally ban­ish­ing un­wanted diesel drone from the Q7’s cabin.

No doubt there’s plenty of nois­esu­press­ing cladding be­neath the Q7’s hand­some al­loy skin, but at the heart of the mat­ter is Audi’s re­mark­ably re­spon­sive and free spin­ning turbo-diesel V6.

Hitched to a seam­less eight-speed auto, this driv­e­train com­bi­na­tion en­sures the Audi SUV is not just a re­fined and supremely re­laxed tourer, but also an im­pres­sively en­gag­ing drive, with brisk off-the-mark ac­cel­er­a­tion and crisp throt­tle re­sponse.

Of course the Q7 isn’t ex­actly petite, so it’s un­der­stand­able that it might seem an easy tar­get for a spot­ty­faced P-plater in a rorty hatch seek­ing to make his mark at the lights.

But drop the ham­mer and the usu­ally re­laxed V6 springs to life, pour­ing on its 200kw and 600Nm in a re­lent­less wave that sur­prises and de­lights as it pro­pels the 2135kg wagon to a hot-hatch bet­ter­ing 6.5 sec­ond 0-100km/h sprint.

Of course, all of this good driv­e­train work might have been brought un­done, had Audi’s chas­sis en­gi­neers bundied off and gone for an early bratwurst and pils. For­tu­nately, they’ve also aimed up, with the re­sult that the Q7 also tack­les cor­ners with a sure-footed flu­id­ity that makes it a plea­sure to drive.

All of which ex­plains why the Q7 and I have re­newed our vows, and I’ve promised never to stray again.

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