Practical luxury for up to seven. Three words: big, posh, box
Handsome enough, but not exactly striking
What is it?
The latest update of Audi’s full-size, seven-seat SUV, this time with 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 to a whopping 5,063) to find all the fancy twin-screen Ingolstadt interior tech, plus updated-to-contemporary-corporate engines and specs. Think of this as a thorough facelift rather than a properly new thing, although the upgrades are worth having. Audi’s assertion that the Q7 ‘redefines seven-seat luxury’ might be pushing it a bit, mind.
So 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. A series of changes that all contribute to Audi model identity confusion if you’re more than thirty feet away and not a huge amount to write home about, even if it is all lightly agreeable.
In the UK there’ll be Sport (you can only get this trim level with the lowest-power diesel engine), S-Line, Black Edition and top-of-the-tree Vorsprung to choose from, all gently lengthening the spec list as you walk your wallet up the pricing scale. All UK variants at launch get standard air suspension, LED Matrix headlights (excellent) and seven seats (a five-seat version exists elsewhere), and the efficiency-enhancing MHEV mild-hybrid 48v system now makes an appearance to go with the only transmission option: an 8-speed tiptronic driving through quattro four-wheel drive.
Engines run from a Q7 55 TFSi petrol (338bhp) to a pair of diesels in the same format with two outputs: 45 TDI (229bhp) and 50 TDI (284bhp). All are 3.0-litre capacity V6s. 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 £84k as a 50 TDI) tries really quite hard to aggregate it all into one handy Q-basket. Interestingly, Black (£67k TDI) 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. With a crisper exterior and refreshed interior, it makes plenty of sense. It’s not exactly revolutionary in terms of extracting interior space from a small footprint - it is, after all, over five metres long - but Audi has done a good updating job here.
With decent but not class-leading dynamics, competitive pricing and some nice touches, 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. Because nobody really needs self-closing doors and special sports suspension on an SUV...