The Q7 has Audi's corporate face
Two versions of the Q7 are on offer - a 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel, and a 4.2 litre direct injection petrol V8, and prices are R520 000 and R595 000 respectively. Prices include a 5-year or 100 000 km Freeway plan
Click here for driving impressions.
Unlike the VW sibling, the Audi offers the option of either a five, six or seven seater interior and new-generation off-road ESP.
But there's no low-range transfer 'box. In Audi's view, four-wheel drive will provide enough traction in adverse conditions. The Q7 therefore is a tarmac based and biased vehicle.
As standard, the Q7 3.0 TDI offers 18-inch wheels while for the 4.2 FSI V8, 19-inch wheels and tyres are fitted. A full selection of wheels up to 21 inches are available at extra cost.
With a displacement of 4 163 cm3 the V8 is a close relative of the engine used in the new Audi RS 4.
In the Audi Q7, in line with the character of an SUV, it develops 257 kW at 6 800 r/min. But its torque curve is even beefier than in the RS 4: it achieves 440 Nm from 3 500 r/min - 85% of which is available from as low as 2 000 r/min.
This gives a zero to 100 km/h time of 7.4 seconds and top speed of 244 km/h. Versions with the extra-cost adaptive air suspension, by virtue of the lowered body and less aerodynamic drag, can achieve a further 4 km/h.
Claimed combined fuel consumption amounts to 13.6 litres/100 km.
The 3.0 TDI produces 171 kW and 500 Nm, with peak torque available from as low as 1 750 r/min.
This translates to a 0 - 100 km/h time of 9.1 seconds and top speeds of 210 km/h and 216 km/h with adaptive air suspension.
Like the RS 4, S4, S6 and the S8, the Audi Q7 features the latest-generation self-locking centre differential. It has an asymmetric/dynamic torque split of 40: 60 between front and rear
In particular, in off-road situations or if the prevailing road conditions change, the differential can direct up to 65% of the power to the front or up to 85%.
If a wheel at one axle starts to spin, the electronic different lock EDL takes control by means of
appropriate brake intervention.
As standard the Q7 comes with a conventional steel-spring suspension and hydraulic twin-tube shock absorber system. Ground clearance here is around 205 mm.
Adaptive air suspension is available as an option with an electronically controlled damping system.
Three suspension modes
For normal driving, a choice of three different characteristics can be selected via the Multi Media Interface (MMI) operating system, ranging from very sporty to comfortable, namely Dynamic, Automatic and Comfort.
With optional adaptive air suspension ground clearance is variable, starting at 180 mm and extending to 240 mm in lift mode. The off-road mode gives 205 mm ground clearance.
Finally, two functions round off the range of options: via a button in the luggage compartment the driver can lower the loading lip by 71 mm.
The new generation electronic stability programme (ESP) has new features such as an off-road mode that can be activated by a switch.
In this mode the system tolerates a certain amount of slip when braking
or accelerating, which can often be of help on loose surfaces. For downhill driving there is a special assist function.
In addition a rollover stability programme intervenes in the event of critical driving situations that might cause the vehicle to overturn.
A number of innovative driver assistance systems, introduced for the first time in standard production, are available as options.
These include Audi side assist with radar technology for warning when changing lanes, the Audi parking system advanced with optical and acoustic guidance and rear-view camera and the latest-generation Audi radar-assisted cruise control with braking guard, which automatically decelerates the Audi Q7 and brings it to a standstill if required when gaining on a vehicle in front.
The standard Audi Q7 will leave the assembly line as a 5-seater.
In this case the seat bench in the second row is divided 60:40; as an option both elements can be moved back by 100 mm to give passengers more legroom. For even greater seating comfort, all backrests in the second row of seats can be tilted by 10 degrees.
The rear seat split is 40:20 40 and an armrest with pop-up cup holders is incorporated in the centre section. This element can be folded down completely to create a through-loading width of 30 cm.
If all three backrests are folded down - it is not necessary to remove the head restraints- a flat loading area is created, flush with the level of the luggage compartment.
The 7-seat version has two seats in the third row suitable for people of up to 1.6 metres tall. These seats can be folded flat on the loading floor if necessary.
As a 5-seater the Audi Q7 has a standard luggage area of 775 litres. Even if all three seat rows are used, a very respectable luggage capacity of 330 litres remains.
The basic interior architecture is shared with the Audi A6 and A8 saloons.
There is no handbrake, a foot-operated parking brake being fitted instead. As an option - and standard on the Audi Q7 4.2 FSI - the tailgate can be opened electrically.
Click here for driving impressions.