Audi's gigantic Q7 has been given some serious urge by the installation of a V12 twin-turbo diesel.

What is it?

This is Audi's range-topping Q7 V12 TDI, driven in the UK for the first time.

Powered by a mammoth 6.0-litre V12 diesel engine, producing 493bhp and a truly colossal 737lb ft of torque, the V12 is the Q7 for those who struggle with the concept of self-constraint and have very deep pockets.

At just shy of six figures, the 12-cylinder Q7 is nearly twice the price of any other model.

What's it like?

A guilty pleasure. Even the most humble of Q7s is a pretty conspicuous way to travel, but with 20in wheels, daylight running lights, V12 badges, wheel arch extensions and a chrome plated grille, this particular Q7 is about as conspicuous as it gets.

And yet I have to admit that on the road, the big Q7 is remarkably satisfying. Far from being a party piece powerplant shoehorned into an unlikely bodyshell, the V12 TDI is impressively well resolved; not only does it start and rev smoothly, but it also does so with a not-unpleasant voice.

Moreover, the Q7 is happy trundling along at slow speeds without feeling like it's being constrainted. And then when you do want to add a little speed, the throttle progression is such that you can do so accurately.

Which is a good job, because if you summon the V12's full muster the Q7 accelerates at a pace not far off that of a BMW M5. It'll race to 62mph in 5.5sec, an odd experience in something that weighs 2635kg.

Wisely, Audi has tuned the suspension and braking to cope with the extra performance. With the adjustable air suspension set to dynamic, the V12 Q7 rides lower and more stiffly than any of its siblings, and that helps to control (if not entirely hide) the masses involved.

The brakes are now carbon-ceramic, measuring 420mm at the front and 370mm at the rear. But try to rely on the Q7 too heavily and its limitations are easily exposed; it's better to knock the suspension back to comfort - where it copes rather well with our pitted roads - and be more measured with the power.

Should I buy one?

So expensive is the V12 Q7 there really is only one reason you would - because you can. However monster the performance, it canít justify the additional £44k over the already very competent and brisk 4.2 TDI.

And you wouldn't choose it for its efficiency; 25mpg isn't exactly a disaster, given its pace, but it isn't going to offset the purchase cost.

Finally, if you want the absolute star of quick SUVs then the (cheaper) Porsche Cayenne Turbo is more accomplished. Still, however irrational it may be, the Q7 V12 does hold appeal - for its technical achievements, if nothing else.

Jamie Corstorphine

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Stu255 14 February 2013

Audi Q7

I have an M spec BMW 118d (green car of the year) and an Audi Q7 and I think the Audi is possible the best thing I have ever bought.

If money was no object I would buy the 6.0 V12 TDI.


I often travel 300 miles each way to stay long weekends with my parents or my in laws, the Q7 comfortably fits;

Me, my wife, 2 children under five, 2 toddler car seats, 2 buggies (one a double), 3 suit cases, 2 small bikes, 2 trunkies, blankets, winter jackets, whatever you want.

When we get there we unpack the car and when we go out anywhere during the stay we can easily get 5 adults, 2 children (in their car seats) and 2 bikes in the Q7, it takes another car off the road and brings everyone closer together.

The Q7 has a 105 liter tank, I have driven 800 miles between filling the tank. There are numerous cup holders and 12V outlets throughout the car. This is a big clue as to the thinking behind the design brief.

The whole point of the Q7 is for families who regularly travel long distances on the road. Most families of four would find a 600 mile round trip in the family car a fairly unpleasant experience. Something to dread, I remember having the feeling myself. But it’s not the case for anyone who owns a Q7.

The result is that we all see a lot more of our extended family than would otherwise be the case.

For 19 out of 20 people a Q7 is not the car for them, but for me it’s a god send.

pee 17 August 2009

Re: Audi Q7 6.0 V12 TDI

the q7 is a brilliant car since it is a v12 6.0 litre engine up front

sonicmarmalade 15 August 2009

Re: Audi Q7 6.0 V12 TDI

I'm sure my first post here will get flamed to hell, but I actually think there is a shrewd bigger picture here.

If I was a millionnaire who wanted a big flash limo to waft about in, there have always been the Rolls and Bentleys. Nowadays something with awful fuel consumption and massive emissions simply doesn't seem appropriate for a world very aware of environmental issues. And many of these people are under intense public scrutiny.

I reckon this engine isn't directly intended for the Q7, and is actually aimed at the next A8 and the next Arnage.

Think about it (obviously ignoring aerodynamic differences etc):

Bentley Arnage:

2585kg/500bhp/738lbft/0-60 in 5.2 but 465 co2 & 14.5 combined mpg

Audi Q7 V12 TDI:

2605kg/493bhp/738lbft/0-60 in 5.5 but 298 co2 & 25 combined mpg

There are obviously considerable differences between these 2 vehicles, but there isn't really anything else in the market niche a super high-end luxury diesel would fit into. Doesn't look quite so ridiculous now does it?