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The Q7 range has increased its engine options to four with the addition of the 4.2 litre turbo-diesel. Making its debut in 2007, the Audi Q7 is a relative latecomer to the luxury SUV scene that boasts some impressive vehicles - BMW's award winning X5 and the Lexus RX400H to name a couple. The 4.2 litre turbo-diesel engine already powers the Audi A8 luxury saloon and develops an impressive 240kW of power and a massive 760Nm of torque.
The 4.2 litre diesel Q7 is the most expensive Q7 in the line-up, starting at $123,900. The model tested had a couple of options (S-line sports package, adaptive cruise control and seven seats) and cost $137,050. The new diesel is close price-wise to the petrol version which sells for $118,900. You can get into an entry level model 3.6 FSi petrol SE for just under $80,000.
Competition comes from its German counterparts, Mercedes and BMW. Mercedes has a trio of AWDs - the GL 320 CDi wagon starting at $103,900, the ML 500 from $120,874 and the R 500 Luxury at $124,900. BMW's X5 range starts with a 3.0 D at $86,800 going up to the 4.8 litre petrol valued at $118,300.
Add to the mix the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDi wagon at $121,990 and the Porsche Cayenne, which starts at $94,700 (no diesel version), and buyers have no shortage of options
As you would expect the Q7 is kitted out with just about everything Audi has to offer. Adaptive air suspension is standard and Audi's lane assist system is incorporated. At speeds above 65km/h a slight vibration is induced into steering wheel to alert drivers if they are veering out of their lane whilst driving. Audi's 'Advanced' parking system incorporates a reversing parking camera, plus front and rear sensors.
Automatic airconditioning and a six disc CD player that has no fewer than 11 speakers highlight a long list of features.
There is an extensive options list for those who want to personalise their Q7, but the cost will add up quickly.
The Q7 is 5.09 metres long and from any angle is an impressive looking unit. Inside the cabin there is generous head and leg room for front and second row passengers. The Q7 tested had the optional third row seats which are best suited to small children, as access into and out of them is tricky.
When the third row is in use the luggage area is reduced and becomes quite small. Don't forget to leave the cargo barrier at home if you intend to use the third row seats or you will be faced with the problem of where to stow it when the seats are in use.
Airconditioning vents for all three rows of seats is a plus and seat comfort is definitely up with the best in its class. The front seats are electrically adjustable, include lumber support, and provide excellent levels of comfort. The second row is equally good with plenty of leg room and thigh support. The centre seating position is a bit of a compromise; it also doubles as a centre console and would be too firm for extended trips
Electric seat adjustment, tilt and reach adjustable steering and the usual sensible Audi array of switchgear surround the driver and occupants. You step up into the cabin giving excellent forward and rear vision.
Eight airbags, which are dual stage for driver and the front seat passenger, plus side airbags for front and second row passengers and side curtain airbags are standard for the Q7. Electronic stability program (ESC) and anti lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, electronic differentials, traction control and roll stability program, are part of an extensive passive and active features list. The Q7 range receives a four star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The Q7 is like all Audis displaying class leading build and finish standards. Like all top end SUVs, it's too good to take off-road.
A mottled coloured carpet made a refreshing change from the bland offerings others have to offer and for those who wish to personalise the interior even further and have deep pockets, Audi offer an 'Exclusive Line' of interior options that include different leather colour options and doors trimmed to match.
The Q7 is fitted with DataDots and NRMA Insurance gives the Q7 a rating of 105.5 out of 120. It's best in this class for security.
The official ADR fuel figure is a respectable 11.1 litres per 100km. Around town we recorded a figure of 16 litres per 100km, but given the Q7's size and mass, this was not entirely unexpected.
The V8 diesel has a capacity of 4.2 litres and is chock full of state of the art diesel technology - twin turbochargers, double overhead cams and common rail direct fuel injection. It develops 240kW of power at 3750rpm. To put in perspective a 5.0 litre V8 SS Commodore back in 2003 had 235kW of power and 460Nm of engine torque. This diesel engine has 300Nm more torque, a stump pulling 760Nm with most of it developed at just 1900 rpm. This is a deceptively quick vehicle. Its zero to 400 metre acceleration times put it in the same league as some vehicles in the sports car class, and it's no wonder with all that torque. The Q7 pulls like a train from a standing start all the way to its 3750 rpm limit.
Fitted with adaptive air suspension the Q7 delivers unsurpassed standards of ride refinement on the road. It's more luxury than sports and even with all seven seats filled ride quality doesn't diminish.
Tipping the scales at 2450 kilograms for the seven seater the Q7 is no lightweight. Nonetheless the adaptive air suspension does a commendable job in keeping things in check - driven over our road test route it felt reasonably sharp and balanced, although through tighter corners its mass started to show and the 45 series low profile tyres started to howl in protest when pushed above moderate pace.
Tucked inside the massive 20 inch wheels are large diameter ventilated disc brakes. Measuring 350 mm front and 358mm rear and featuring ABS with EBD [Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) the brakes did a fantastic job in hauling up the Q7 in under 24metres. During testing their resistance to fading was commendable - there are none better in this luxury field.
The Q7 is one of the quietest luxury SUVs driven in recent times, either petrol or diesel. Under hard acceleration the V8 diesel engine is whisper quiet, the six speed Tiptronic auto is seamless in its up-shifts, belying its rapid acceleration times. An often quoted phrase these days but "the only time you notice it's a diesel is if you are standing beside it – not in it.'
For those that can afford it the 4.2 litre diesel Q7 is the pick of the bunch - outstanding performance, plus everything expected or needed is fitted to this top specced model.
No storage options for luggage cover when not in use.
|Country of manufacture||Germany|
|Warranty||3 years/unlimited kilometres.|
|Price of vehicles||Starting at $123,900|