The Q7 name needs a minimal introduction, but for those of you who might be new to premium luxury SUVs, let me give you a quick recap. First making its debut in 2006, the Audi Q7 was an immediate hit with Indian buyers and had critical acclaim. Fast forward to 2015 when Audi launched the second generation Q7 that approached the task with more precision but with a comparatively less butch appearance to go with. Though it still remained a staple for luxury, the competition managed to catch on and gave the Q7 a run for its money. Fast forward to the present, and the Q7 is back with updates to its styling, interiors and a brand new engine. The question is will these changes be enough to put the Q7 back on top? Let's find out.
The Audi Q7 has never been one for striking looks and details, but I must admit I was smitten by its butch and muscular looks. The Q7 is one long and relatively low car, giving it a more station wagon-like stance. Now, station wagons aren't to everyone's appeal, but I've always found their shape rather appealing, and the new Q7 is one seriously handsome looking automobile. The minimal paint quality on the Q7 is also quite eye-catching, especially if you notice its pearly shimmer under the sunlight.
The Q7 gets a new redesigned bumper, and a pair of new matrix LED headlamps that also feature dynamic turn indicators. Now I am not such a massive fan of the 19" five-spoke wheels on this Q7, and I wish Audi had other wheel options to choose from that would do more justice to this stylish looking SUV. Come over to the rear, and the Q7 has redesigned rear bumper and taillights that also feature dynamic turn indicators. The rear does look rather plain, but it's only when the sunsets that the Q7's rear starts to shine with the design for the new LED tail lamps.
Step inside the Q7, and you're welcomed by what Audi likes to call Cricket leather interior with oak grey inserts. Ingress and egress are pretty easy, and there's even a footboard to aid your step into this cabin. The overall fit and finish are top-notch in typical Audi fashion, and the seats are soft and comfortable. I wish Audi provided the Q7 with cooled seats or the massage function that we see in some rivals, such as the Volvo XC90. Alas, their absence is felt as you soak into these seats over longer journeys. The audiophile in me was pleased to see the new Bang & Olufsen sound system and was blown away by its performance. It's definitely worth an experience and has a knack for making most good music sound great. Another new feature is the new 10.1" display for the infotainment and an 8.6" display for the air-con controls.
Though this setup looks fantastic, I found it somewhat distracting to use while driving and would have preferred buttons for such a task instead of taking my eyes off the road to adjust the blower speed. Keeping with the times, Audi has given the Q7 an air ionizer and aromatization system that keeps the cabin feeling pure each time you head out for a drive. The back seat experience is comfortable in the Q7, with generous amounts of headroom and knee room on offer. Space wouldn't be something you'd ever complain about unless you were in the third row of the Q7, which is best reserved for small children.
This is where things take quite a dramatic turn. Earlier, you could only get the Q7 with either a 2.0-litre petrol motor that made about 245 bhp of power and 370 Nm of torque which on paper doesn't seem all that high for an SUV of this proportion. Enthusiasts can now rejoice because Audi has armed the 2022 Q7 with just one engine option for this year, and it isn't a diesel. It's a 3.0 litre V6 that produces a crazy 340 bhp of power and 500 Nm of torque! This engine really knows how to go with haste and will gently pin you back into your seat and propel you to triple-digit speeds with ease. Audi claims a 0-100 time of about 5.9 seconds, and I don't doubt them for a second; if anything, I reckon they're being modest and that the Q7 could be quicker than their claim suggests. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system does a great job at putting down all of this power and is never at a loss for grip.
The cabin remains calm, and there's no V6 note to snap you out of your comfort, and I suppose that is for the best in this luxury SUV. If you haven't already guessed it, fuel efficiency isn't all that high. The Q7 returned about 5 km/pl during some spirited driving and about 8km/plunder sedate driving, so take that as you may. Truth be told, I wouldn't exactly be getting this car for the efficiency figures, and I doubt the competition will do any better, but if you're in the market for fuel efficiency, you're better off looking at EVs or hybrid models. Another gripe that I have with the Q7 is its brakes; they have a rather wooden feeling and don't inspire confidence under hard braking. Though the Q7 does manage to bring all that momentum and weight to a halt, it leaves you braking earlier than you'd like just to be on the safer side.
The Q7 simply glides over most uneven road surfaces with little to no loss to its composure; I suppose that's all thanks to the air suspension it's equipped with as standard. The Q7 simply wafts down the road, and it's only around corners that you really lose composure. Truth be told, this SUV is no canyon carver and won't feel as spirited to drive around corners and doesn't dart into them with any urgency. The Q7 prefers to go around turns calmly while the engine and gearbox are all set to launch you as you approach a straight. Again it's something I highly doubt most buyers will complain about while being chaffered in the back of their five-metre long SUV.
Though the new lane departure warning system with its steering assist aims to help, I found it quite annoying and intrusive. Anyone familiar with our Indian roads can simply never follow a lane without subtle deviations to avoid obstacles. For the most part, this system always manages to cut in and steer you back in your lane; going around a corner on marked roads becomes quite a tedious affair. Imagine having to randomly wrestle your steering around a turn as it tries to counter your steering input. It isn't a very inspiring feeling, and I wish putting this feature off was an easy thing to do, but I, for one, couldn't find the option to do so.
The Audi Q7 ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, performance, and practicality, but so does the competition. That's not to say that the Q7 is a bad car but instead that this segment itself is full of nothing but the best that each manufacturer has to offer. In that sense, the Q7 does fall short and fails to bring something unique to the table to carve out a niche space for itself. The Audi Q7 is quite a tempting proposition to anyone dazzled by the amount of tech on offer, the comfortable ride quality and the handsome appearance, not to mention. It offers a great blend of comfort is a great cruiser. Prices for the Q7 are yet to be announced, so stay tuned for more information on that!
Engine - 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine Power - 340hp @5200-6400rpm Torque - 320Nm @1370-4500rpm Gearbox - 8-Speed DSG