Don’t be fooled by the idea the 2017 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 160kW is just an entry level model. It feels like a car worth twice the price.
At $96,300 before on road costs it’s the most affordable in the line up of Audi’s hugely successful Q7 range.
The attention to detail in every facet of this family hauler makes it about the safest, most luxurious way to carry 7 people.
The latest Audi Q7 was released late in 2015 and is more conservative looking than the car it replaces, a little squarer and more restrained.
It also looks smaller than the original Q7 – and it is on the outside by the smallest of margins, yet it increases dimensions on the inside.
For such a big car, it’s surprising how spritely it is, accelerating to 100km/h in just 7.3 seconds – handy if you’ve got the kids basketball team on board and you’re running late for the game.
The 3.0 litre turbo diesel six-cylinder does a great job.
It’s smooth, refined and so quiet you’d be hard pressed to pick that it’s a diesel.
Initially there’s a bit of hesitation as the turbo spins up, but once you’re on the move it is an effortless performer thanks to the 500Nm of torque on tap from just above idle (1250 rpm) – it piles on pace rapidly.
The brakes come on with a fair amount of bite quite quickly and will pull up the 2950 kg of Q7 with ease time and time again.
The ride is just beautiful. The long wheelbase and expertly tuned suspension irons out anything the worst Australian road can dish up, and you get the feeling that you’re just gliding over it all.
It’s competent in corners and can carry a deceiving amount of speed through the bends.
It feels like a much smaller car to drive, wrapping itself around you and giving you a real feeling of confidence.
You will notice a bit of body roll when changing direction quickly, it errs on the side of understeer with too much pace, yet it always feels firmly planted to the ground – the Q7 handles better than it should.
There’s some genuinely impressive technology in the Q7.
Standard tech includes an Exit Assist warning system, cleverly alerting you of a bike or car approaching the rear of the car before you open the door and get out.
You also get the super handy Rear Cross Traffic assist which alerts you to cars that may be in your blind spot as you reverse out of a shopping centre car parking spot.
Option the $3850 Assistance Package and you’ll get some really clever stuff.
Useful tech like Adaptive Cruise Control which uses radars and cameras to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, and includes Traffic Jam Assist which will brake, accelerate and steer the car in those tedious morning lines of slow moving traffic.
The Collision Avoidance System will do exactly what the name suggests, at first tugging on the steering wheel to alert you, then helping to guide you around the obstacle.
Turn Assist operates at speeds of up to 10km/h and will prevent you from turning right into oncoming traffic with the big Q7 jamming on the brakes if it thinks you haven’t noticed an oncoming car.
Then there’s Active Lane Assist, a system that steers the car at speeds above 60km/h to keep you in your lane on freeways for example.
I have to admit I struggled with this feature and found it intervened a little too often and too early and had me searching for the button to turn it off.
After a week with the car it became less annoying as I got used to it, but I’d suspect a lot of people will also try to disable it.
Regardless of the available technology or the performance, it’s the interior of the Q7 that will have you reaching for cheque book.
Without a doubt, the finishes, the materials used, the layout and the overall sense of luxury that the Audi Q7 conveys is unmatched in any car worth less than $200,000.
It’s a big call, but understandable when you take into account the size of the team solely dedicated to making Audi interiors the best in the business.
The powered leather seats come standard with a memory function with the driver’s seat in particular positioned brilliantly behind easy to read analogue instruments with a big digital screen sitting between the speedo and tacho.
The central screen rises gracefully and quickly from the dash and is easily operated via a rotary dial in the console.
The upgraded infotainment system (MMI all-in-touch control unit in Audi Speak) offers fast, intuitive menus – and you can use the tip of your finger to trace in instructions for the phone, audio and satellite navigation systems
All seven seats offer generous amounts of space and visibility is excellent.
With the third row of seats folded the cargo area is enormous. With all seven seats in use, you’ll still easily swallow reasonable amounts of cargo although you’d struggle to fit more than one set of golf clubs
The Audi Q7 really is at the top of the tree when it comes to premium luxury 7 seat SUV’s.
It’s frugal, powerful, safe and handsome. And wow, what an interior. Everyone will think you’ve paid a lot more it than you really did.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 160kW
Engine: 3.0 litre turbo-diesel six-cylinder developing 160kW and 500Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Warranty: Three years
Safety: Five stars
Price: from $96,300