David O’Neill – Audi Q7 Review

Audi-Q7

I was offered the opportunity of taking the new Audi Q7 away for a weekend. Having been an owner of an Audi Q7 for a period of seven years, I felt that I was in a good position to compare the two vehicles.

The first thing that was noticeable from the spec sheet was that Audi had put the Q7 on a diet. It has lost 240kg. Apparently 41% of the vehicle is now alloy.

The car I got was a 3 litre turbo diesel putting out 200kw and 600nm of torque.

Coupled with the Jenny Craig weight loss it was pretty rapid.

Looks

An Audi Q7 look is an acquired taste. I eventually grew to like the one we had owned and the new one is a sharper, slightly boxier version of the old Q7 look. It sits lower (but this one had air suspension so that may account for that) and is slightly shorter but appears to be wider. Personally I think the new look is better. It’s still hard to make something that’s as large as an aircraft carrier look handsome or pretty (depends on how you look at them I suppose). To put it another way – look at its competitors – hardly a line-up of the finest looking motor vehicles in the world……

Audi Q7 SpaceSpace

Like the old one, this Q7 swallows enormous amounts of luggage and bits and pieces. You could throw the golf clubs in, the dog, the kennel, in fact anything you want, and still be able to seat five adults comfortably. The third row of seats can now cater for much larger people. I didn’t pop the back seats up, but my understanding is the floor is the same height as the floor in the rest of the car.

You will notice I said “car”. Driving it was like driving a much smaller vehicle. It actually felt similar to the Audi Q5 to drive.

It is remarkable how such a big vehicle can feel small when you go round a corner. Where the old one used to lurch around a corner, this one felt tight and very settled on the road.

Speccy Bits

  • Price as tested $151,000
  • Six cylinder
  • Three litre turbo charged diesel
  • Power – 200kw
  • Torque – 600nm
  • Transmission – eight speed

The other thing I noticed from the spec sheet given to me by the Audi dealer was the towing weight. This thing can pull a 3.5 tonne load which would resolve any issues you had with your boat or caravan or boat/caravan together.

Audi Q7 HamiltonPerformance

Given the increase in power, torque and decrease in weight, this vehicle is a great deal more responsive and quick up to the speed limit (and beyond …) than the old one. I was told by one of the Audi staff members that it was .1 second behind the earlier version 4.2 V8 diesel in acceleration times 0 – 100km/h. I fully believe it! Apparently there is a lower powered version coming out (160kw). Frankly, why bother. Furthermore, if they do put out a V8 then I can’t see the point. All you would be doing would be increasing fuel consumption, lightening the wallet when this particular version goes as well as the old V8.

Equipment

It came loaded with features which more than ever show that the driverless car is just round the corner. This version had the “lane assist” feature, together with a cruise control which decelerated and accelerated according to where you were in the traffic. At one stage I drove for about 15 kilometres with my fingers lightly on the steering wheel and without touching the accelerator or brake. This was on the open road and the vehicle kept up with the traffic, decelerated when it had to and accelerated when it had to. The lane assist software made sure that it stayed within the white lines on the road and would nudge the car back towards the middle of the lane if it drifted.

I’m sure it’s sooner rather than later that we’ll be looking literally at being passengers in our own vehicles.

Audi Q7 interiorOther Features

There was one button which intrigued me on the dashboard which was a button with a steering wheel and the letter P beside it. Foolishly I was sitting on the new lawn at the beach, touched the button at which point the wheels spun violently to the left and asked me where I wanted to park the car.

As you can imagine, with such a large car, huge tyres, the lawn didn’t take this very well. I quietly disabled the feature and snuck back inside.

Apparently, this is the park assist feature which comes standard and will park the car for you, nose first, tail first or even parallel park in the city. It’s a pretty impressive feature.

Coupled with all the other inevitable electronic wizardry which accompanies cars of this nature is the usual Bluetooth telephone, music and the like.

I’ve been talking about the keyless entry and how it’d be great to be able to walk away and the car locks itself. Audi have almost got there. If you hop out with the key in your pocket and shut the door, you touch the door handle and the car locks automatically.

The car I had was fitted with the S line package which is flasher bumpers and bits and pieces. It did have the sports air suspension which is very handy, particularly given that it settles the car comfortably through corners.

As per usual, the option list is fairly long and fairly expensive, but to be frank, a lot of these options would be great but I don’t know whether they are entirely necessary. Generally speaking the car was well kitted out with plenty of goodies to keep you occupied for a long time.

I didn’t check up on fuel consumption too carefully, but I’m pretty sure, given the Coromandel hills, that it was able to get over and back from the beach on the other side of the Coromandel hills at under 10 litres per 100km. That’s impressive for such a large vehicle.

This car is a huge improvement on the old Q7 and whilst not cheap, would be fantastic for lugging the kids, family dog, boat, caravan and anything else you wanted to latch on behind around the place.

David O'NeillDavid O’Neill is a Hamilton born and Hamilton based Barrister. He was trained at Otago University. Apart from his 30 plus years in the law, he has a strong passion for cars and motor racing.David is married with four sons, three of whom share his same passion for cars, but none of whom have the financial ability to go racing as yet.

David’s love of fine motor cars extends to writing reviews on cars for two legal publications circulated throughout New Zealand. Additionally he races a car in the Targa NZ Series and is proudly sponsored by Ebbett Prestige of Hamilton.

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