THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN? (some text hidden)
By Andy Enright
Introductionword count: 179
The Audi Q7 is a lot of things but perhaps its most obvious quality is just how conspicuous it is. There's really no way to blend in when you're driving a vehicle as huge as Audi's seven-seat super-SUV. If you're trying to make an overt statement, great, but for most of us, the big bruiser from Ingolstadt was just a bit OTT. With the sheer size of the thing comes all manner of notions of profligacy. When the Q7 first appeared in 2005, we ran a 4.2-litre petrol car and it went through fossil fuels like an oil tanker that had taken an Exocet hit. Aware of this, Audi took steps throughout the MK1 model's lifetime to try and make the Q7 a good deal more efficient, most significantly in 2011 introducing the improved first generation version we look at here. With this upgrade, the shape didn't change significantly but the oily bits underneath certainly did. Almost by stealth, the Q7 gained a certain relevance. That fact might easily have been lost on many buyers of big SUVs though.
Modelsword count: 22
5dr SUV (3.0 petrol, 3.0, 4.2, 6.0 diesel [SE, S line, S line Plus, S line Style Edition, S line Sport Edition])
Historyword count: 287
You probably know the Q7 story, or at least the old testament. The original Q7 represented a late entry by Audi into the lucrative luxury 4x4 market. BMW's X5 and Mercedes-Benz's M-Class had been joined by the Porsche Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touareg in offering a more dynamic alternative to established vehicles like the Range Rover and the Jeep Grand Cherokee (yes, the GC was once a top-liner). When the first generation Q7 first arrived in late 2005, buyers got a slow 3.0-litre TDI diesel or a horrendously thirsty 4.2-litre FSI petrol unit. Other engines subsequently appeared to help ease this issue, but it wasn't until updates were made in 2009 that the Q7 really began to hit its stride. That was followed by the vehicle we look at here in more detail, the lightly facelifted Q7 that debuted in 2011 and was sold right through to 2015. This version's improvements brought optional LED headlights, an 8-speed transmission, start/stop fuel-saving technology, CO2 reductions and a wraparound tailgate design. A wider variety of both flat and metallic paint finishes were also offered. January 2012 saw order books open on a more economical Q7, the detuned 204PS version of the 3.0-litre TDI engine. This also introduced the S line Plus trim which incorporated metallic paint, 21-inch alloy wheels, Verano leather upholstery, privacy glass, hard disc-based navigation with Google Earth mapping, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, the Audi Music Interface iPod connection, powered tailgate operation, running boards and the 'Audi Parking System Advanced' set-up with a reversing camera. At the start of 2014, the S line Style and S line Sport editions were announced. These added £1,500 and £3,000 respectively to the price of 3.0TDI and 4.2TDI S line Plus editions.
What You Getword count: 448
Whatever your choice of Q7 - 3.0 or 4.2-litre TDI, 272 or 333PS 3.0 petrol TFSI or even 6.0-litre V12 TDI - you'll certainly find it to be well equipped - as indeed you'd have a right to expect for the kind of money being asked. All models come with the 8-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox, alloy wheels, air suspension, cruise control, sophisticated climate control and all the expected executive niceties. Popular options include steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the auto gearbox, a DVD sat nav system and a panoramic sunroof that covers all three rows of seats. Safetywise, twin front and side airbags are supplemented by curtain side airbags that provide head protection for all three rows, while the latest electronic traction, stability and braking aids should ensure that you'll never have to use them. S line models add larger 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, sports suspension, upgraded Valcona leather upholstery and an exclusive S line exterior and interior styling treatment. Of course, where that sheer size pays dividends is when it comes to the cabin, over five metres of length freeing up space for the third row of seating you'd have to do without in obvious rivals like Volkswagen's Touareg, Porsche's Cayenne or the first generation Range Rover Sport. It's true that these extra rearmost seats are slightly compromised by the high floor needed for that high-riding SUV shape, but they'll be fine for kids of up to teenage size and adults on short journeys. The same comment applies to the middle seat in the middle row, which might tempt some into the extra-cost six-seater option which will see it replaced by a centre console. We'd want to keep the thing just in case though and provided it isn't occupied, then two adults should be very comfortable indeed here. Reclining seat backs will be welcome on long trips, whilst a seat base that slides by up to 100mm means that middle seat legroom or that of those behind can be maximised. In fact, depending on how you position everything, there are no fewer than 28 different seating and loading configurations. As for boot space, well there's 330-litres on offer with all seven seats in use - which isn't too bad - but with the second row slid right forward and the third row rearmost chairs folded, there's a class-leading 775-litres of fresh air available, with up to 2035-litres on offer should you further fold down the second row. Some original owners also specified an electric opening and closing mechanism for the tailgate which could be programmed to stop automatically at a preferred opening height so that it doesn't thump your garage roof.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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