Practical luxury for up to seven. Three words: big, posh, box
Handsome enough, but not exactly striking. PHEV only gets five seats
What is it?
You’re looking at the latest generation of Audi’s full-size, seven-seat SUV, which since its thorough facelift in 2020 has had bits of big-brother Q8 grafted onto and into it. So you get the huge stretched octagon of single-frame grille that denotes the current Audi family up front – as well as other ‘Q model hallmarks’ (nope, us neither) – on the outside. Then you slip inside a marginally longer car (up 11mm on the previous generation to a whopping 5,063mm) to find all the fancy twin-screen Ingolstadt interior tech, plus updated-to-contemporary-corporate engines and specs.
The upgrades are worth having when compared to the pre-2020 second-gen Q7, but Audi’s assertion that the Q7 ‘redefines seven-seat luxury’ is pushing it a bit – especially given that you can’t even have seven seats if you spec the plug-in hybrid powertrain (more on that later).
How are the looks actually different from before?
Good question. The updates aren’t the easiest to spot initially. There’s that change of face, new side inlets on the front bumper, a kicked-up side skirt profile addition and some rear-end fettling. It’s an agreeable series of changes, but it does all contribute to Audi model identity confusion if you’re more than thirty feet away.
What are my trim options?
In the UK there’s Sport, S-Line, Black Edition and top-of-the-tree Vorsprung trim levels to choose from, all gently lengthening the spec list as you walk your wallet up the pricing scale. All UK variants get standard air suspension and LED Matrix headlights (excellent).
And what about powertrains?
Engines run from a Q7 55 TFSI petrol (338bhp) to a pair of diesels in the same format with two outputs: the 45 TDI (229bhp) and the 50 TDI (284bhp). All are 3.0-litre capacity V6s and all are combined with Audi’s efficiency-enhancing 48-volt mild-hybrid system. That goes with the only transmission option: an 8-speed Tiptronic auto driving through quattro four-wheel drive.
Let us not forget the plug-in hybrid 55 TFSI e too. That’s actually the most potent Q7 available these days (discounting the 500bhp+ V8-engined SQ7, of course) with the same 3.0-litre petrol-powered V6 connected to an electric motor and a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack for a combined 376bhp.
As ever with Audi, there’s another Q7’s-worth of options on the go if you’re feeling flush, but the ‘Vorsprung’ spec (approx £83k as an ‘entry-level’ 45 TDI) tries really quite hard to aggregate it all into one handy Q-basket. Interestingly, Black (£65k minimum) and Vorsprung editions get big wheels (21- and 22-inch, respectively) and lowered air ‘sports’ suspension – though quite why you’d want more ‘sports’ in a seven-seat SUV weighing well over two tonnes is beyond us. Smells a bit like marketing.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
As far as being a nicely-appointed seven-seat SUV with real practical appeal if you regularly haul multiples, the Q7 meets the brief. Although there’s your reason to avoid the PHEV straight away – the lack of practicality would be infuriating. The mild-hybrid versions without a battery pack eating up the rearmost two seats aren’t exactly revolutionary in terms of extracting interior space from a small footprint – they are, after all, over five metres long – but there aren’t too many seven-seat options if you also want plenty of posh to go with your space.
With decent but not class-leading dynamics, competitive pricing and super premium interiors, the Q7 should definitely be in the mix if you need this sort of thing. We’d be quite happy with the lower-powered diesel in S Line spec and a couple of options if it were our money, mind you. Does anyone really need self-closing doors and trick sports suspension on their family SUV?