New Audi Q7 review: Makes its boldest statement yet

The all-new Q7 encapsulates cutting-edge technology, is efficient and sporty, has very good driving dynamics and is 325 kg lighter than its predecessor. However, it cannot be registered in Delhi NCR till March 31

By: | Updated: March 14, 2016 6:42 PM

First launched in India in 2006, the Audi Q7, if not the most popular, is a ‘monumental’ example of German automotive engineering on Indian roads. None of the company’s competitors, back then, had such a big, brawny luxury SUV in their portfolio to offer Indian customers. The Q7 immediately caught customer attention and, gradually, picked up sales. The SUV got its first upgrade in September 2009. Then, in April 2010, the 4.2 TDI engine version of the Q7 was launched. In September 2010, the new Q7, featuring the 3.0 TFSI engine with the 8-speed automatic transmission, was introduced. The real competition came in the form of Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, launched in mid-2013. Then, last year, Volvo too introduced a vehicle almost the same dimensions, and as stately, the new XC90. So as to retain its leadership position in the segment, and in line with the company’s new design language, Audi India last month introduced the all-new Q7. We drive it. Exterior The first thing that hits you about the all-new Q7 is its size. Yes, despite the new model being sleeker, sportier and lighter than the previous generation Q7, it looks massive, making most other cars on the roads look like ‘toys’ in comparison. At the same time, there is a lot of style quotient too. The sculpturally-moulded single-frame grille is the defining element at the front. The Matrix LED headlights, which were introduced in India by Audi with the new A6 last year, are another striking feature, as are the double arrow-shaped daytime-running lights. On the sides, the prominent wheel arches and the shoulder line add to the SUV’s persona. At the rear, the tailgate extending around the D-pillars is complemented by new highlights such as inlay strips at the bottom of the doors with quattro embossing. And while the all-new Q7 has gained many new features, it has also lost weight, about 325 kg. Interior You sit high in the Q7, enjoying a commanding view of the road. The cabin is almost as good and as functional as in the previous generation model. The SUV gets a standard panoramic sunroof and powered third-row seats. In such a large vehicle, cabin space is a given. However, while the attention to detail is impressive and all the materials used are fine quality, the refinement levels don’t really match up to those found in the new XC90, or even the GL-Class -- you just don’t feel similar levels of richness. Performance Audi TDI engines have high compression ratios, efficient combustion and very good efficiency. These engines have been proved to deliver more power while using less fuel and produce fewer emissions. The 3.0 TDI quattro powering the Q7 has high torque output over the entire engine speed range with constant power build-up. It has a claimed power output of 183kW (245bhp), a top speed of 234kph and accelerates from 0 to 100kph in just 7.1 seconds. This big and quick SUV has turned frugal too. The claimed fuel consumption figures are now best-in-class, at 14.75kpl. On the road, the quattro all-wheel drive system ensures that the Q7 remains stable even at three-figure speeds and also while cornering. The suspension set-up is such that it absorbs most bumps with ease and handles bad roads in a good way. Verdict The all-new Q7 encapsulates cutting-edge technology, is efficient and sporty, has better driving dynamics than its predecessor and is 325 kg lighter. In addition, its eight-speed tiptronic transmission allows drivability that is both agile and comfortable. It, clearly, can emulate the success of its predecessor. Its pricing starts from R72 lakh, and the fully-loaded top-end variant is priced R77.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai and New Delhi), which is close to the R77.5 lakh you pay for Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and R77.9 lakh for the almost as luxurious Volvo XC90 (Inscription version). However, because the engine of the Q7 is a diesel and is bigger than 2000cc, it cannot be registered in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), since the Supreme Court had banned registration of diesel cars and SUVs with engine capacities of above 2000cc in both the regions till March 31, 2016, in an attempt to reduce air pollution levels. Size matters * Powerful 45 TDI (3.0 TDI) engine churns out 183kW of power and 600Nm of torque * All-new chassis and multi-material body for enhanced performance and comfort * Weighs 325kg less than its predecessor * Accelerates from 0-100kph in 7.1 seconds with a top speed of 234kph * A claimed 22% improvement in fuel efficiency, which now is 14.75kpl, which is also best-in-class * Starts from R72 lakh and the fully-loaded top-end variant is priced R77.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai and New Delhi)

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