New Audi is right on Q
AUDI Q7 3.0TDi 272 QuattroSE Tiptronic S Line
Like the race for the Champions League spot at the end of each season, the premium SUV market (excluding the more expensive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport) is annually dominated by the same top-four badges.
BMW’s X5, Land Rover’s Discovery, Audi’s Q7 and Volvo’s XC90 always seem to be in the running and challenging each other for top honours.
The BMW X5 was the SUV of choice for the yummy mummies during the Celtic-Tiger era, while the Land Rover remained a firm favourite with land owners and builders who needed something with proper off-road abilities.
However, this year both Audi and Volvo have introduced new models of the Q7 and XC90 respectively, and they have been receiving rave reviews around the country.
Audi’s second-generation Q7, and this one is head and shoulders above the first offering in terms of looks, performance, technology and fuel economy. On the outside, the new Q7 has been given a major makeover. The curvy body that appeared on the first generation has been replaced with sharper creases down the sides and LED lights which are standard on S Line models along with 20-inch wheels (my test car was fitted with the optional 21-inch wheels).
On the inside, the new Q7, which comes with seven seats as standard, is extremely spacious. The third-row seats are full-size seats that are not just fit for a couple of four-year-olds. New too, for the second generation is that the third-row seats now have a very slick electric operation that folds them down in a matter of just seconds.
Elsewhere in the cabin, the new Q7 has that real premium feel that is now part and parcel of the Audi brand. It is absolutely crammed with the latest technology and it is now available with the ‘virtual’ cockpit from the new TT that we just love.
It does come as an added extra on the SE model, but believe me it’s the best that I have seen and uses Google maps – still the best sat nav in the business.
One of the highlights of the new Q7 is 325kg weight loss over its predecessor, and this is evident from the moment you get behind the wheel.
Along with new engine technology and the weight loss, the new Q7 is now 26 per cent more efficient that the outgoing model.
The 3.0TDI 218 quattro variant consumes a claimed figure just 5.7 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, or 149 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This puts the Q7 diesel in to the €390 a-year tax bracket.
Even the 3.0-litre TFSI petrol only uses a claimed 7.7 liters per 100 kilometers and emits only 179 grams of CO2 per kilometer – costing €750 a-year to tax.
Even with its sheer size, the new Q7 is a pleasure to drive. It may not be quite as good in the handling stakes as BMW’s X5 or have the off-road capabilities of the Land Rover but it’s a much more comfortable place to be.
All versions come with quattro four-wheel drive and the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox as standard.
My test car for the week was the S-Line model, which was loaded with extras. In fact, it had close to €30k worth of extras on top of its €89,190 asking price.
Now, although I absolutely loved the new Q7, if I am going to fork out that kind of cash on a premium SUV I would want that kind of equipment as standard in my model.
That’s pushing you towards a top-of-the-range V8 5.0 supercharged Range Rover Sport, which would definitely be the choice for me any day.
Prices for the new Q7 start at €72,975 and finance is available from €759 per month with a 4.9 per cent APR rate.
The Q7 comes with three equipment lines: SE, SE Business and S Line. SE Business prices start at €77,375 featuring additional luxury features such as virtual cockpit. S Line additional equipment includes LED headlights with pricing starting at €79,875.
Model: Audi Q7 3.0TDi Quattro, Tiptronic S Line.
Price: New Q7 from: €72,975 (S Line test car €119,074).
Tax: Band C (€390). Note: My test car was on 21-inch wheels which puts it in to €570 bracket.
Economy: 5.7l/100km (claimed)
0-100kph: 6.5 seconds.
Boot capacity: 770 to 1,955 litres.