Only when starting from cold do you hear a distant background clatter from the 3.0-litre diesels, but this quickly fades once they're up to temperature. Aside from that, you only really hear the engines under hard acceleration; even then, they’re smoother and more pleasant-sounding than the engines in any of the Q7’s rivals, but particularly the XC90. The Q7 also does a great job of isolating occupants from engine vibration.
Naturally, the e-tron is even more hushed when running in electric mode. When its diesel engine does kick in, it does so in a refined manner, with little vibration reaching you or your passengers. The SQ7 hides the fact it’s a diesel very well, too, emitting a muscular woofle – especially in Dynamic mode.
There’s no manual gearbox option; just an eight-speed auto that changes smoothly up and down through the ratios. At speed, if you back off the accelerator the gearbox disengages the engine and allows the Q7 to freewheel. It’s designed to benefit fuel consumption, but it reduces noise, too.
On 19in and 20in alloys, there’s very little road or suspension noise; even on the 21in wheels, the Q7 is pretty quiet. Wind noise is very well suppressed, even at motorway speeds.
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