New Audi Q7: Cabin space is the ultimate luxury

The new Q7 doesn’t appear to have the luxury of the levels seen in the X5 or the craftsmanship of the XC90, but in this segment it is possibly the most spacious SUV; in short, it is functionality meets refinement meets comfort.

The Q7 was the pinnacle of luxury within Audi’s SUV family, until the Q8 was launched a couple of years ago and made the Q7 look dated. But the new Q7 is now being launched (Audi India will soon announce its price), and we get to drive it in and around Delhi.

What is the Q7?

It’s an almost full-size premium SUV, and competes with Mercedes-Benz GLE (Rs 79.9 lakh onwards), Volvo XC90 (Rs 90 lakh) and BMW X5 (Rs 77.9 lakh), among other SUVs.

How different is it as compared to the previous Q7?

A major difference is that there is no diesel engine, only petrol (2,995cc, 340bhp, 500Nm).

Design and functional changes include (1) Matrix LED headlights with dynamic turn signals, (2) sensor-controlled luggage compartment operation, (3) Park Assist Plus with 360-degree surround camera, (4) adaptive windscreen wipers with integrated wash nozzles, (5) MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch response, (6) Audi virtual cockpit, (7) Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound, (8) air ioniser and aromatisation, and (9) lane departure warning with steering assist.

Essentially, it doesn’t look vastly different from the previous Q7.

How is the cabin?

It doesn’t have the luxury of the levels seen in the X5 or the craftsmanship seen in the XC90, but in this segment the Q7 is possibly the most spacious SUV—and space can be ultimate luxury. But spacious is a bus as well; where the Q7 stands out is functionality meets refinement meets comfort.

It gets all of Audi’s new-age cabin features (including MMI Navigation plus and Audi virtual cockpit), the sound system is exceptionally good, the cabin is very quiet and is minimalist—there are few buttons because most features can be accessed using voice or touch.

How does it drive?

The Q7 is big and bulky but superfast. It can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 250 km/h. It has a petrol engine, but acceleration through the gears (like from 40-100 km/h) is as good as a torquey diesel. The steering wheel and most controls are driver-oriented, and the seating position is high (offering an expansive view of the surroundings). But because it is a tall vehicle, there is noticeable bodyroll when taking sharp turns. Audi India hasn’t yet shared its fuel efficiency figures, but it should be in the range of 14-15 km/litre (considering that the smaller Q5 has the ARAI-certified fuel efficiency of 17.01 km/litre).

Seats, like in most German cars, are very firm and one can be comfortable even during day-long drives.

Is it better than rivals?

If priced starting Rs 75-odd lakh, the new Q7 can be great value. What you get is massive cabin space (even the third row has good legroom and headroom), rear-seat comfort, good ride quality, and the proven quattro all-wheel drive capability. But the new Q7 doesn’t really feel truly new—the facelift doesn’t fully lift the face. The Q7, at the same time, is possibly one of the strongest brand names in its segment, and has that that decades-old Audi ‘feel’ to it—quattro at its finest, engineering at its finest. It’s an SUV you can drive from Delhi to Mumbai, and even do the return journey, without getting tired. And yes, quattro ensures you can take it off the road as well.

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