Petrol choices include a couple of supercharged 3.0-litre V6s, delivering 268bhp or 329bhp. We haven’t yet driven the 201bhp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, but the 242bhp version is our favourite. There's also another version of the 242bhp unit that filters out harmful NOx emissions. There's also a 4.2-litre V8 diesel with 335bhp. All have an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. A crazy 493bhp 6.0-litre V12 that's capable of hurling the Q7 to 62mph in just 5.5sec is available to special order.
The Q7 leans towards on-road agility rather than off-road prowess. It changes direction quickly for such a big car, and body movements are well controlled. However, the ride is too firm at low speeds, so you get a distinct case of the jitters on patched-up urban surfaces.
Occupants will rarely be bothered by engine noise, while the Q7’s rounded nose and self-lowering suspension help it cut through the air with little disturbance at speed. Unfortunately, coarser surfaces can be heard echoing through the wheelarches.
The Q7 isn't that great an investment because - like most big 4x4s - it doesn't hold to its value that well. On top of that, its bulk means most versions will be expensive to run, but at least the V6 diesels make running costs realistic. The CleanDiesel version sounds good on paper, but it saves you nothing in company car tax.
Audi has a reputation for high-quality interiors, and the Q7 doesn’t let the side down. All of the materials are pleasantly tactile and robust, while the controls operate with a slick precision. The reliability news isn’t as good because Audi has consistently finished near the bottom in our surveys.
Standard four-wheel drive helps keep the Q7 on the road, backed up by electronic stability and differential lock systems. Twin front and side airbags are standard, while curtain side airbags provide head protection for all three rows. An alarm is fitted to every model.
The Q7 has a single rotary knob for accessing stereo, sat-nav and air-suspension functions. There are well-placed buttons to call up menus for each system on a colour screen, but the system still takes some getting used to. A wide range of adjustment makes it easy to find a good driving position, too, but rear vision is restricted.
The Q7 is available with five, seven or - as a cost option - six seats. The front two rows provide plenty of space for passengers, while the rearmost two seats are fit only for children or adults on short trips. The boot offers 330 litres as a seven-seater, or a vast 775 litres as a five-seater. The middle bench slides back and forth by 100mm to share out leg space between the middle and back rows.
Every model comes with alloy wheels, air suspension, climate control, cruise control and electric windows all-round as standard. Further up the range there are heated leather seats with electric adjustment, wood and aluminium trim for the cabin and extra lighting. S Line models feature headlamp washers, sporty styling details and sports seats. Options include a DVD sat-nav system and a panoramic sunroof over all three rows of seats.
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