From £38,905
Lightly upgraded, more powerful, more economical, and as gargantuan as ever

Our Verdict

Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 is exactly the high-class execution of the big SUV you would expect from the brand

Audi Q7 is accomplished, but doesn’t feel at home on UK roads

What is it?

This is the lightly facelifted Audi Q7 4.2 TDI. Apart from a minor visual refresh, the key changes are to the powertrains, all of which are more economical, cleaner and more powerful. The 4.2 TDI benefits more than most engines in the line-up, its output climbing from 322bhp to 335bhp. Combined fuel consumption improves by 3.0mpg to 28.5mpg and emissions drop 32g/km, to 262g/km. All Q7s now get intelligent alternators too, which usually generate their charge when the car’s coasting or braking to save fuel.

Otherwise, the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI is mechanically unaltered, but there are plenty of detail changes, including subtle redesigns for the grille, the bumpers and their under-protectors, the door mouldings and the tail-lights, which are now LED.

Inside, the appearance and finish of the instruments and switchgear has been improved, along with the interior lighting, and the latest version of the MMI infotainment system is installed with hard-drive storage and bird’s eye view graphics. SE versions get Bluetooth phone connectivity.

What’s it like?

The new car is little different to pre-facelift version. The Audi Q7 4.2 TDI’s performance gain is barely noticeable when there was so much shove in the first place. If you can stretch to it, this engine is worth the extra over the 3.0 TDI in performance and refinement terms, and it delivers its urge with creamy, undiesel-like panache. It pulls more convincingly than the 3.0 TDI, though you’re reminded of what a heavy car this is when you mash the throttle and unleash all 561lb ft of torque, both engine and transmission needing a moment before they spool up and thrust almost two-and-a-half tonnes towards the next reason to slow down.

If that reason is a bend, it’s still a surprise to find that the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI can negotiate a path around it with some aplomb – enough that there’s a curious enjoyment to be had from hustling this car along, provided the road’s wide enough. Less impressive is the ride, which is more sudden than it should be in a car of this price and calibre, off-roader or not.

The small upgrades to the Q7’s well constructed interior allow it to keep pace with the ever-rising standards in this area, but its packaging is a disgrace in a vehicle of this size. The middle seat of the middle row in not a place to spend much time for instance, and the height of the load deck, which admittedly houses seats six and seven, means that this car swallows far less than its silhouette would suggest.

Should I buy one?

If you park the issues surrounding big SUVs to one side, and consider the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI simply in terms of its fitness for purpose, then it makes a fair case for itself. You get the commanding seating position, good off-road ability, high-grade refinement that extends from the quality of the interior to its effortless way with autobahns.

And while buying a 4.2 TDI V8 to save a little fuel might sound perverse, it makes for a pretty impressive engine. Land Rover has done more to update its big SUVs for 2010 than Audi (though the resulting Q7 price hike is small), but if it’s a luxury seven-seat SUV that you need, it’s worth short-listing, despite the unspoken opprobrium that your choice might attract.

Join the debate

Comments
9

15 May 2009

If one ran a google search on the word ostentatious, the result should be Audi Q7 owners, and in an ideal world it would also be followed up with a free consultation with their local specsavers outlet!

15 May 2009

I just hope Audi hurry up with the Q3, hopefully on the Yeti platform, and show people they understand the size a 4x4 should be made, rather than this thing.

15 May 2009

Wow nice car! :-)

15 May 2009

I am curious to know why the Q7 creates more venomous comments than say a Range Rover/Range Rover Sport - are we all shocked that "friends of the earth" germans could design such a vehicle? is it really that ugly? or was it just born at the wrong time?

15 May 2009

I think to some extent you're right Jon- it came out a little too late for this country at least- Problem is, its not built for our market, its built for Americans and Arabic countries where roads are wider, fuel was/is cheap.

But here in this corner of Europe, with narrow roads, expensive petrol and a general dislike for gaudy brashyness it doesn't fit in. The front of it is so high it has three tiers of lights- its near like a cliff face, it doesn't hide its bulk as well as a Range Rover which in comparison looks elegant and pared down. People get the impression you're gonna get mowed down in one- which nearly happened to me a few yrs back on a country road in another version of that platform- the VW Touareg- In fact all the vehicles derived from that platform are behemoths- the Cayenne,Touareg, Q7. and all equally disliked at least by me for their size not because of the fact its a 4wd- It's purely because out of context, on narrow roads and tight places in towns , cities, country roads they're a bit of a pain.

15 May 2009

[quote jonfortwo]I am curious to know why the Q7 creates more venomous comments than say a Range Rover/Range Rover Sport [/quote]

The problem with the Q7 is that it has no redeeming features. It's over-sized, ugly, isn't great on road or off road.

As i posted elsewhere I recently drove a RR tdv8 on and off road. It had a better ride on a rutted mountain road than the Q7 I have been in did on road. It was also comfortable, refined, wafted along, had a great v8 burble and was easy to drive/park without feeling cumbersome. Same went for the RR Sport which was a bit louder (in a good V8 way), firmer damped and quicker.

The only downsides i could think of for both cars was the price and the footballer image of the RR Sport.

Even the X6 has the redeeming feature of being a good drive whatever you think of the looks/concept.

15 May 2009

[quote jonfortwo]I am curious to know why the Q7 creates more venomous comments than say a Range Rover/Range Rover Sport - are we all shocked that "friends of the earth" germans could design such a vehicle? is it really that ugly? or was it just born at the wrong time[/quote] Most of the Range Rover product range is gross too, especially the Sport, which seems to be the default choice of the wannabe nouveau riche.

15 May 2009

Agree with Robert about the Q7 it is one for the white sock brigade. It is also the fact that it is terribly packaged as many reviews testify. Saw the 2003 Pikes peak concept that spawned the Q7 at the Audi forum couple of months back and my tour guide explained that when the CEO drove it the electric locks failed and locked him in! Had to break the tailgate to release him. This car is so antisocial it traps the man who commissioned it!

17 May 2009

[quote RobotBoogie][quote jonfortwo]I am curious to know why the Q7 creates more venomous comments than say a Range Rover/Range Rover Sport - are we all shocked that "friends of the earth" germans could design such a vehicle? is it really that ugly? or was it just born at the wrong time[/quote] Most of the Range Rover product range is gross too, especially the Sport, which seems to be the default choice of the wannabe nouveau riche.[/quote]

Agreee with this.

The Q7 / RR brigade come over as being over-sized for our roads and intimidating, especially when you have them 2" from your rear bumper.

Recently they can be found parked on the pavement outside our local bank, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. It seems that the parking spaces provided are too small for these vehicles, and the drivers are too important/lazy to go find a space elsewhere.

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