MaHB De­sign

The base model of the AUDI Q7 ticks all the boxes of a de­sir­able SUV: pow­er­ful, spa­cious and func­tional.

Esquire (Philippines) - - THIS WAY IN - by Paul John Caña

Bru­tal Ef­fort: Rick Owens Fur­ni­ture is bold, beau­ti­ful, and ballsy.

The Q7 is the first SUV from Audi. In­tro­duced in 2006, the model has gone through dif­fer­ent it­er­a­tions since, but has al­ways po­si­tioned it­self to be a lux­u­ri­ous op­tion for those look­ing for a cross­over SUV.

Last year, I got be­hind the wheel of the Q7 and drove it in the steep and rocky hills near Mount Arayat in Pam­panga. The unit had a 3.0-liter diesel V6 TDI en­gine pro­duc­ing 272 horse­power and 600 Nm of torque and was outfitted with Audi’s vir­tual cock­pit, or a full dig­i­tal screen lo­cated di­rectly in front of the driver just be­hind the steer­ing wheel.

This time, the lo­cal Audi dis­trib­u­tor handed me the keys to the 2017 model, with a 2.0-liter TFSI turbo-charged four cylin­der gas en­gine (252 hp/273 lb-ft of torque). In­stead of tak­ing it out for an off-road ad­ven­ture, I chose to see how it would be­have in the con­crete jun­gles of Manila.

There’s noth­ing quite like the smell of a brand-new ve­hi­cle. In the Q7’s case, the soft leather seats gave off a tan­ta­liz­ing scent that only height­ened the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The scroll wheel in­put con­troller made se­lec­tions in the dig­i­tal dash­board sim­pler and faster;

there’s still the 12.3-inch dis­play screen that re­tracts into the cen­ter con­sole; and the Blue­tooth con­nec­tion with my iPhone was a breeze, just like be­fore. Play­ing a song on Spo­tify through my phone, the au­dio was crisp and clear. When I got off the car, the sys­tem re­mem­bers the song and it au­to­mat­i­cally picks up ex­actly where I left off and plays it the next time I climbed in and turned the ig­ni­tion on. I didn’t even have to restart the con­nec­tion. It’s a smart and time­sav­ing fea­ture that should be stan­dard with all ve­hi­cle au­dio sys­tems.

As an SUV, the Q7 is nat­u­rally a big ve­hi­cle. Driv­ing on EDSA, other cars seemed to spon­ta­neously de­fer to it—which is fine by me. This ver­sion of the Q7 is a few mil­lime­ters smaller and sev­eral hun­dred pounds lighter com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, but re­mark­ably, it felt like the in­te­rior was much roomier. It’s still a seven-seater, al­though the third row can com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­date only small chil­dren. When not in use, both the sec­ond and third row seats can be folded to ac­com­mo­date big­ger cargo. I didn’t re­ally need for all that room in the few days I had the Q7 with me, but it’s good to know that it’s there for any­one who needs to stretch or space to trans­port any­thing from suit­cases, golf clubs and mov­ing boxes.

The Q7 might be a bit too big for a sin­gle guy in the city, but for a fam­ily of three to five, it’s more than ad­e­quate. Audi says it can zoom from zero to 100 kph in about seven sec­onds and can reach a top speed of 233 kph, but it was a lit­tle hard to test these num­bers if you have to deal with mind-numb­ing traf­fic dur­ing rush hour on EDSA. Still, the slight­est nudge on the ac­cel­er­a­tor pushed the ve­hi­cle for­ward sig­nif­i­cantly, which told me all I needed to know about the power the Q7 was pack­ing un­der the hood.

One other thing that de­serves men­tion: the sus­pen­sion sys­tem is ex­cep­tional. It’s a well-known fact that Manila’s roads are far from per­fect, but the Q7 ran over holes, cracks and bumps with ease, re­duc­ing the usual crash­ing sounds into into dull thumps.

One thing about Audi is its op­tions to per­son­al­ize and make your ve­hi­cle truly your own. Cus­tom paint fin­ishes, in­te­rior trims and tech­no­log­i­cal up­grades— the Ger­man mar­que of­fers pretty much any­thing you can dream up to help you re­al­ize your dream car.

When it came time to re­turn the Q7, I dis­cov­ered I had no com­plaints. On and off-road, it’s an SUV that re­tains much of the qual­i­ties we love about Audi— aes­thet­ics, per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity.

The Audi Q7 nav­i­gates Manila’s con­crete jun­gle with rel­a­tive ease and a mod­icum of street-wor­thy style.

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