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Audi Q7 – classy marauder

Snapshot: The Q7 has become bolder, shaper and more desirable than before. Is it the best?

Some cars just don’t need any introduction and the Q7 is one of them. It is the proverbial chairman of the board when it comes to big premium luxury SUVs. Ever since its launch the car has dominated the big SUV segment like no other and is the default choice for many celebrities not only in India but also across the world. Audi is now hoping that the new updated version will help it push sales even further.

Exteriors

This is one SUV that has built its reputation on the tall, imposing stance. The new Q7 though has been designed to shed some of that weight. It has shrunken ever so slightly from the last gen car, atleast visibly so. Sharper lines as well as forced creases all around make it look less flabby and more muscular than the outgoing car. The new Q7 has shed around 300kg over the outgoing car using high tech lighter materials for the body. This along with the sharper elements in the head lamps as well as the grille make it look sharper than before.

Interiors

Few SUVs are as good as the Q7 for seating seven. Agreed, the last row of seats is only good for young adults but the generous wheelbase of the car means that the middle row occupants have tremendous space. Quality of materials are absolutely faultless and as good as the class leader Volvo XC90. The highlight of the cabin is easily the ‘virtual cockpit’ theme, which simply looks sporty. The infotainment menus migrate to the instrument cluster, which ensures that the driver doesn’t have to take his eyes off the road. You can change the screens according to your preferences. Also, it makes you feel like piloting a plane rather than driving a car. Brilliant.  

All the materials shout premium and the switchgear is faultless to operate and has a very tactile feel.   

Engine, performance and gearbox

The newly found reduction in weight notwithstanding, the Q7 remains a two-tonne beast, which needs plenty of power. The 3-litre diesel engine develops 268bhp and more importantly 600Nm of torque.  All the power is transmitted to the four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. All this power means that this car can do 0-100kph in under 7 seconds, making it quicker than some sporty saloons in India.

The gearbox is a super slick unit and we would expect nothing less from this dual clutch unit. Gearshifts are smooth and unnoticeable. Manual shifts are slick as well and suffer no time lag. The engine is the epitome of refinement as well.

Ride and handling

You get to choose different driving modes via the Audi drive select. But most owners will prefer the default comfort or auto. The dynamic mode ensures the gearbox holds onto the revs longer and the steering becomes more weighted as well.

The Q7 isn’t the sportiest SUV around and there is decent roll when pushing into corners. The steering offers decent feedback as well but we prefer the Volvo XC90 overall for better dynamics.


Safety and features

The Q7 comes loaded with kit. You get auto park assist, LED lamps, adaptive air suspension, four-zone climate control, along with eight airbags as well as tyre pressure monitor.       

Summary

The new Q7 is lighter, more desirable as well as better appointed than the outgoing car. Though it may not be as path breaking as the new Volvo XC90, the Q7 remains the best all round package in the premium SUV space.  

Images by Mohd. Nasir

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