Motoring / Motoring News
Jaco Van Der Merwe
Despite featuring serious refinements in terms of styling and handling, it is on the connectivity front that Audi has made the biggest strides in the facelift Q7.
Closely following in the footsteps of the recently updated A4, the Q7 is only the second local model from Ingolstadt to feature the comprehensive Audi connect system. In addition to the Wi-Fi hotspot, natural voice control and real-time traffic and weather information, Car-2-X services add safety and service features in the event of damage, breakdown or minor accidents. In addition, the MyAudi app enables certain remote features and functionality through a smartphone, which includes car finder, remote lock/unlocking plus speed and theft alerts.
“SUVs are all about lifestyle and interactivity with your mobile device has become an integral part of our lives,’’ says Tarryn Knight, Audi South Africa’s Head of Marketing, Product and Public Relations.
The cabin, which utilises Audi virtual cockpit Plus for seamless integration between car and driver and the ultimate digital experience, is every bit as luxurious as its coupe-styled sibling the Q8, which this publication last year described as “a business class lounge on wheels’’.
The digitalisation is highlighted by two large touchscreens of which the top screen is used for the infotainment system and the bottom one for operating the four-zone climate control. Other interior creature comforts include optional ambient lightning and a Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System.
Apart from comfort, the Q7 has always been about space and having grown by 11mm in length to 5 063 mm in total, the latest reincarnation is even bigger than before offering heaps of leg and elbow room. It can be ordered as a seven-seater which features two electronically lowered rear seats. With the third row flat, it offers a ginormous 865-litres of luggage space which can be increased to 2 050-litres with the second row also folded flat.
On the outside, the Q7 is notable more chiselled than its predecessor with six upright slats replacing the horizontal lines on the Singleframe grille and the side air inlets receiving some cosmetic treatment. At the rear, a chrome strip connecting the flat tail lights are a striking addition alongside a much flatter surface surrounding the number plate.
Under the bonnet, nothing has changed, with the 3.0 TDI engine still the only drivetrain option. The tried and trusted diesel powerplant produces 183 kW of power and 600 Nm of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox. Audi claims the Q7 reaches 100 km/h from a standstill in 6.9 sec with a top speed of 225 km/h.
The engine gets the job done without any fuss, but it does feel a tad underpowered during acceleration which is no surprise taking into account the vehicle’s weight of over two tons. Those opting for more power would have to wait for the beastly 310kW/900Nm SQ7 which is due to arrive early next year.
In terms of handling, the Q7 offers greater agility and stability through optimised all-wheel steering as well as optional air suspension. The all-wheel steering enables the rear wheels to turn by as much as five percent, which is done in the opposite direction on lower speeds for a smaller turning circle and in the same direction as higher speeds for more stability. The adjustable air suspension enables the car’s ground clearance of 210 mm to be raised to 270 mm or lowered to 180 mm.
Similar to other local Audi models, the Q7 now offers the package concept, which aims to make life easier for a potential buyer by not having to worry about endless lists of optional extras. The three packages offered are Comfort, Black styling and S line interior.
The two Q7s on are priced at R1 328 500 for the 45 TDI quattro Tiptronic and R1 388 500 for the 45 TDI quattro S line Tiptronic. Both models come standard with the five year/100 000 km Audi Freeway plan. Despite being out of reach for the majority of buyers, the updated Q7 offers very good value. It’s luxurious, very spacious, versatile, comfortable and a tech fest of note. It should be strong contender for anyone in the market for a large premium SUV.
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