High on luxury and comfort

K SHIVRAJ 
Sunday, 25 March 2018

The latest Audi Q7 does not deliver a thrilling performance, but is the most technologically advanced Audi ever.

The Audi Q7 is a big and full-sized SUV. Measuring 5052mm, the new SUV is slightly shorter and narrower than the one it replaces. No less imposing looking however, the Q7 is one of the very few luxury SUVs that accommodates up to seven people across three rows with their luggage. In its second generation, the SUV, weighing roughly 325kg less than the model it replaces, is the most technologically advanced Audi ever. 

Striking looks
Flaunting a three dimensional grille and LED head lamps, the Q7 is based on the Volkswagen Group’s new MLB platform. Striking and imposing looking from the front, the strong beltline that emerges from the head lamps and runs along the side, has the big SUV looking modern and dynamic. The 20-inch dia wheels, flowing roofline and roof rails add a strong visual dimension. While the taut skin and clean lines carve out creased and curved surfaces, the rear styling is dominated by big tail lamps. 

Plush and luxurious
Boasting of a cabin that is typically Audi and hard to fault, the new Q7 feels plush and luxurious inside. The comfortable seats (the front ones are electrically adjustable) enhance this feeling. With more leg room and headroom to offer, the new model feels quite spacious and airy inside. 

The dash looks modern though minimalist. There’s an infotainment system with high quality Bluetooth enabled music system and sat-nav (operated through a large centrally mounted 8.3-inch screen), cruise and four-zone climate control, and a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit with a screen in front of the driver. A display emerges from the top of the dash with the command wheel and touchpad on the centre console. The steering wheel controls can do most of the work. The smartphone interface includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Passengers at the rear get a pair of detachable, tablet-style touchscreens on the seatbacks. These stream content from smartphones via Bluetooth. 

Seven seater 
If the thinner seats and a fully configurable layout makes it versatile for seven people to sit, the third row, due to the lower roofline, feels a bit cramped. The power-folding rear seats help adults to squeeze into the third row for shorter journeys. That is with the second row in the forward-most position. When not in use, a push of a button on the inside of the boot folds the third row flush into the load floor. Given the dimensions of the SUV, the parking assistance system is helpful.  

High visibility  
The excellent driving position of the new Q7 (with plenty of scope to adjust the seat and steering wheel) results in high visibility. The 252bhp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine points at downsizing. It is very quiet at idle, and those who have driven the more powerful diesel version of Q7, will notice the slight hesitation the SUV displays when gently moving from standstill.

It needs to be considered that it is quite a mass to move at a little over two-tonnes. An impression of the engine working hard is had, until the turbo spools up. A surge appears at 1800-2000rpm, and provides good grunt. The eight-speed auto transmission helps to put the power and torque to good use. It does seem to get the ratios to slur at times when cruising. Out on an open road or on the highway, a quick call for overtaking would make the engine to feel a bit strained, especially when the pedal is floored in anticipation of a quick execution. It takes a moment or two for the engine to deliver. Engaging the ‘S’ mode helps a good deal to elevate the SUV’s ability to respond. During daily driving, it is best to engage the ‘D’ mode. 

Verdict
The ride is supremely comfortable with pneumatic suspension as standard. Select the Dynamic mode, and the SUV will handle very well. The Auto mode in Drive Select quickly detects driving style changes, and accordingly re-calibrates the engine, transmission, steering and suspension responses. Compared to the powerful Q7 45TDI with a V6 diesel engine, which costs Rs 72 lakh, this variant — the Q7 40TFSI, with the tax advantage due to its engine displacement capacity, costs Rs 67.76 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. The top-spec Technology trim costs Rs 74.43 lakh compared to the diesel’s Rs 77.5 lakh price tag. Feeling like the Audi A4 40TFSI in terms of performance, the Q7 40TFSI may feel like it could deliver more. It is true that the Q7 40TFSI will not deliver a thrilling performance, but when it comes to luxury and comfort, it scores high.

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