Audi is the ex­pert when it comes to down­siz­ing and now it has plonked the 2-litre petrol mo­tor into its flag­ship SUV

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Ro­hit G Mane Aniruddha Rangnekar (@anirud­dha_a) rating

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)

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