2016 Audi Q7 Review
Car Tested: 2016 Audi Q7 Diesel; Road Test No. 708
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 86.79 – Rs. 99 lakhs
The new Audi Q7 feels more agile to drive, offers more punch and is tech rich on the inside
The Q7 was the first SUV in Audi’s portfolio, introducing the Q moniker in the family in 2005. The first generation Q7 made a big impact in the luxury SUV segment across the globe and specially in the Indian car market. However, the first generation Q7 was getting quite dated off late amongst the newly updated Europeans but now Audi has finally launched the second generation model in India. The new Audi Q7 gets drastic changes inside out and we explore the new German to see if it really has what it takes.
Motor Quest: The first generation Audi Q7 had a lifespan of 10 years, launched in 2005. It received a mid-life facelift in 2009 and shares its platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne. The new generation Audi Q7 was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in 2015 and has entered the Indian market soon after its global launch.
Exteriors – The second generation Q7 is based on a new and lighter MLB platform and hence has been redesigned from the ground up. However, while the design is more subtle instead of the beefy and tall profile of the outgoing model, some styling cues have been retained. Some of the similar bits include the hexagonal grille up front and the shape of the headlamps as well as the tail lamps. The front profile gets a good dose of chrome on the grille and the matrix headlamps give it a sharp appearance.
The bulky muscular profile has been transformed to a lean athletic body
On the side profile of the new Audi Q7 you get to see the well designed 5-spoke alloys, sharp shoulder line and a sloping down roofline, which sometimes makes it look like a station wagon compared to the upright profile of the outgoing Q7. The LED tail lamps are similarly styled as the head lamps that lend a crisp appearance. The lower half of the bumper gets a silver skid plate integrating dual exhausts. The overall design looks modern and aerodynamic but that macho SUV attitude is gone. Also, the cladding on the lower half of the body is a big mud magnet.
Interiors – Walk in to the cabin of the new Audi Q7 and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the simple yet classy styling. The four-spoke steering wheel feels great to hold, it gets integrated buttons for cruise control and infotainment system along with the paddle shifts for changing gears. The updated all-digital instrument cluster has some fancy tricks up its sleeves. It shows an array of information related to the car and has a huge display for the navigation as well, nifty feature. The central part of the dashboard gets a seamless layout of AC vents across the panel. There is a layer of brushed aluminium below it and then a gloss wood panel followed by beige colour tones. The quality, fit and finish is just supreme as the buttons feel tactile to use and the materials feel premium when you touch anything.
The interior styling is simple yet classy offering lots of space and practicality
The best part about the styling is that it’s very minimal and uncluttered yet looks fancy. Push the button to start the engine and a 8.2-inch infotainment screen pops out of the dash neatly. If you find it intrusive while driving, you have the choice to fold it down with a touch of a button. The interiors are driver focussed and you have all the controls within reach. The updated MMI system also gets a touch pad along with the rotary knob, which is very convenient to use as you can scribble names/numbers while driving. The Bluetooth connectivity is quite extensive as you get to access your contacts as well as music library. The Bose audio system churns out excellent quality music that was expected from a car in this class.
The ergonomics are top notch as you get an electrically adjustable steering wheel for both reach and rake as well as seats with memory function. There are quite a lot of storage bins to keep the cabin neat and tidy. The steering to the seat angle is quite confident inspiring and there is a good view of the road ahead for comfortable long drives. However, the driving position is a tad lower than what we thought considering it is an SUV. The leather seats get fantastic cushioning and support at the front. The rear seats are very spacious and offer ample legroom with good headroom and also enough shoulder room to accommodate third passenger in the middle who gets individual support cushioning unlike many other cars. The sad part about this seven seater is that it’s not a seven seater in India since it gets a spare wheel mounted in the boot that takes the space of the rear right seat of the third row. Boot space is good though and you have flexible seating options as all the seats are individually foldable.
Performance – Powering the new Audi Q7 is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that produces 249 BHP and 600 Nm of torque. The figures look quite exciting on paper but while driving, the new Q7 feels even more punchy and powerful and that’s because of the lighter weight. Push the throttle and it picks up immediately without any turbo lag. It keeps pulling across the range since the massive torque kicks in very early at 1500 RPM, gets meatier in the mid-range and those 249 horses under the hood hold the top-end grunt of the V6 quite well. You won’t feel the need of more power at any given point of time. The refinement levels are excellent, no diesel burble inside the cabin and the V6 engine sounds surprisingly sporty when you rev it hard.
The 3.0-litre V6 diesel offers tremendous thrust to surge ahead like a boss
Mated to this engine is a new 8-speed tiptronic automatic transmission that channels the power to the Quattro all-wheel drive system. The gearbox is quite clever and offers smooth shifts as most of the changes go unnoticed while driving sedately. Push the throttle hard and it quickly adapts to the sense of urgency downshifting a gear or two. You can chose the way it behaves with the comfort and dynamic options. In Comfort, the system changes cogs early and seamlessly while in Dynamic it tries to extract the maximum power shifting late. It does the 0-100 km/hr sprint in just 7.1 seconds while the top speed is rated at 234 km/hr. You can control the gearbox manually with the steering mounted pedals but it’s not too engaging since downshifting is limited to some extent and it upshifts on its own when you hit the redline. However, the transmission is very frugal and the new Q7 returns a claimed fuel efficiency of 14.75 km/l, we easily got a 10.5 km/l mileage figure on our test. In the top gear at 100 km/hr, the tachometer just hovers around 1400 RPM.
Driving Dynamics – The new Audi Q7 comes with adaptive air suspension that offers versatile dynamics and comes with various modes – Offroad, Allroad, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. In the offroad mode, the car lifts for optimum ground clearance to tackle rough terrain and high obstacles. It accordingly tweaks the gearbox and engine to offer good low-end grunt. In the comfort setting, the ride quality is super cushy that absorbs anything coming its way but there is a bit of body roll and the steering is very light for easy manoeuvrability in city conditions. Put the car in the Dynamic mode and the steering gets more direct and heavier offering a good sense of confidence and the ride is not bad either, it is pliant and flat but a bit tauter for high speed stability.
There is minimal body roll and you can flick it around the corners quite easily
The new generation Q7 has lost a massive 325 kgs of weight and that reflects in the way it moves. The SUV feels eager to corner hard, maintains its line if you push it around the corners without any drama. The handling feels more sedan like, composed behaviour on the twisties. The steering has a bit of an artificial electric feedback but it is good enough to have fun with. The Pirelli tyres offer tremendous grip along with the quattro system that doesn’t let loose the traction at all. The Individual mode helps you tweak the car according to your driving style, you can change the suspension, steering, engine, transmission modes as you like. Braking bite and performance is top notch for a SUV this size, it comes to a halt from triple digit speeds without complaining.
Safety and After Sales Service – As expected from the four ringed badge, the Audi Q7 is loaded with safety features including eight airbags, ABS, ASR, EDL, ESC, Hill Descent Control and more such electronics. Audi has a good reach across the country with a wide network for a German luxury carmaker and it is further growing at a good rate. However, the cost of ownership and maintenance is not too light on the pocket since most of the parts are imported and if something goes wrong with the car, it takes a while at the workshop to replace/repair compared to the mass market carmakers in India.
Verdict – After driving the new Audi Q7 extensively, we have realised that the German carmaker is targeting a wider audience. That’s because the new Q7 has a multifaceted character that covers most of the important aspects. For instance, it is suitable for the station wagon loving European market offering great practicality and space but with the driving feel of a sedan. The Q7 also manages to conquer rough terrains very well with its hi-tech quattro system, so buyers looking for a capable off-roader can consider the Q7. It is an extremely comfortable SUV for your family specially on Indian road conditions. The new Q7 is quite big in size but once you get behind the wheel, it’s not an intimidating SUV to drive and instead quite fun with its sorted dynamics. Anyone from any age group be it young or old, male or female can easily adapt to the driving manners of the new Q7. However, we still miss the muscular and butch appearance of the outgoing Q7. Otherwise, the new Audi Q7 is a gem of an SUV in this price bracket.
* Sheer simplicity inside the cabin loaded with tech and high quality materials
* Strong and refined diesel engine performance
* Versatile driving dynamics thanks to the adaptive air suspension
* Feels more eager to turn and is quite nimble due to the lighter weight
* Offers extensive safety equipment
What’s Not So Cool
* The exterior styling is simple and not as extra ordinary as its predecessor
* Spare wheel placement hampers the use of the seventh seat
Alternatives: Mercedes GLS, BMW X5, Volvo XC90
2016 Audi Q7 Specifications
* Engine: 2967cc, TDI, 28V, V6, Turbocharged, DOHC
* Power: 249 BHP @ 2910-4500 RPM
* Torque: 600 Nm @ 1500-3000 RPM
* Transmission: 8-speed automatic
* 0-100 km/hr: 7.1 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 10 km/l
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Adaptive Air Suspension
* Tyres: 255/55/19
* Brakes: Disc brakes, ABS
* Safety: 8 Airbags, ABS, ASR, EDL, Hill Descent Control
2016 Audi Q7 Dimensions
* Overall Length x Width x Height: 5052 mm X 1968 mm X 1741 mm
* Wheelbase: 2994 mm
* Ground Clearance: 235 mm
* Turning Radius: 6.2-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 75-litres
* Kerb Weight: 2330 kgs
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