AUDI Q7 40 TFSI
Audi is the expert when it comes to downsizing and now it has plonked the 2-litre petrol motor into its flagship SUV
SINCE YOU’VE already glanced at the spec sheet you know this Q7 gets a petrol engine and you’ll be as surprised as we were that with a moderate 248bhp and 370Nm of torque from its turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine, the Q7 40 TFSI (another confusing badge) manages to accelerate from standstill to 100 in a claimed time of under 7 seconds. That’s a more than respectable figure for a luxury SUV with three full rows of seats and all that weight. Over the diesel variant, the obvious thing to notice is the added refinement you get – on start up, at idle and when
Sgiven the beans. It’s superbly quiet, so the first job of the petrol variant is taken care of, but then, even with the bigger diesel engine, the Q7 has always been a refined SUV. Despite the flattering figures, you do feel the effects of downsizing. There’s a slight hesitation as you get moving from standstill, even if it’s in regular traffic conditions. It’s not that the engine or gearbox aren’t ready. The fact remains that the small engine has a lot of car to move and while the turbo does start spooling quickly, you can feel that it’s working hard to haul the mass of the Q7. The good news is that once spooling beyond 1800rpm, you get a nice surge that makes the car squat a bit and get a move on. Of course the eight-speed automatic gearbox has quick and crisp shifts, particularly in Sport mode or when shifting manually with the steering mounted paddles, which no doubt helps. All through the rev range, the four-cylinder spins very smoothly, never feeling stressed while moving the massive Q7. Once you’re up to comfortable cruising speeds, the engine-gearbox combo works well together and the Q7 40 TFSI feels adequate and the slight hesitation you get at the start feels like something you can almost completely ignore, making this a brilliant highway cruiser.
It’s not as smooth or effortless as the V6 diesel when it comes to making quick overtaking moves, but that’s something to be expected from the smaller engine. The petrol Q7’s slightly lower weight also makes it feel nimble and responsive, changing direction quickly and predictably, while other brilliant qualities get carried forward from the bigger diesel-powered sibling. The Q7’s suspension easily absorbs bumps and keeps the body from rolling excessively. You get a super comfortable ride from the air suspension and sharp body control, irrespective of which mode you choose from the Drive Select menu. Most of the time, I used it in the Auto mode in Drive Select which is quick to detect a change in your driving style and recalibrate the engine, gearbox, suspension and steering to suit your preference. It also remains a very refined vehicle, with very little outside noise entering the cabin, giving you a nice cocooned feeling. Front and rear seating areas feel open and expansive, thanks in no small part to the standard panoramic sunroof. We can’t say the same for the third row, which is best left for kids to use or folded to make way for cargo.
Other than the engine, there’s not much that’s changed. Audi has made the space-saver spare tyre where the seventh seat would be an option now. Which means you have to choose between a passenger and/or luggage space or being stranded with a flat in case you pick up a puncture because the Q7 doesn’t have run flat tyres. The other cosmetic change is body coloured base around the car, as opposed to a grey cladding that was there earlier. You could argue that the newly launched Land Rover Discovery we’ve tested in this issue has more character and slightly better ride quality than the
Q7 or the Volvo XC90 has better road presence with a properly usable third row of seats, but at a starting exshowroom price of just over `67 lakh (going up to `74 lakh for this technology pack version), the petrol version of the Q7 is actually fantastic value for money, while dynamically it holds an edge over its rivals. It’s light, agile, smooth riding and even fun to drive, making the Q7 in an all round term, a true king of the road.L
It’s superbly quiet, so the fiRST JOB OF THE petrol variant IS TAKEN CARE OF
`74.4 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)