What's the used Audi Q7 4x4 like?
When the original seven-seat Audi Q7 was introduced in 2006, we praised it for its solid build quality and desirability - after all, who wouldn’t want a premium badge on their large SUV? However, its driving experience left us feeling a bit short-changed, as did its rather firm ride and shortage of room in the third row of seats.
But this second-generation Q7 built on all the good points of its predecessor, addressed its issues and was better to drive, more comfortable and noticeably more spacious.
The Q7 offers several engine options. There are two versions of the 3.0-litre TDI diesel, the 218 and the 272, and both offer plenty of oomph. There’s also a plug-in hybrid e-tron version, which, despite its eco-focus and additional weight of the batteries, feels even quicker when the batteries are charged, thanks to the instant torque the electric motors provide. All of these models feel slow in comparison to the mighty SQ7, however, with its 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine - although we’d argue that it is a bit excessive for family duties.
It comes as standard with four-wheel drive, so there’s plenty of traction. The suspension allows quite a bit of body lean through corners, making the Q7 feel a bit ponderous and unwieldy, while the additional weight of the e-tron only exacerbates this. It’s still far more agile and better tied down than a Land Rover Discovery, though.
The standard suspension is a touch firm around town, but at high speed the ride only jars if you hit a particularly sharp bump. We'd still recommend you seek out a car equipped with the optional air suspension if buying SE or S line trim (or the e-tron), though, because this transforms the Q7 into not only the best-riding car in its class but one of the best in any class or budget period.
The interior features an excellent driving position with a fully electrically adjustable steering wheel and seat, and visibility is commanding. There's a briliant infotainment system - the MMI infotainment is second only to BMW’s iDrive for ease of use, so pairing phones or programming the sat-nav is a doddle. A high-definition 8.3in screen rises from the top of the dashboard and is controlled using buttons and a simple rotary controller on the centre console. A touchpad next to them is also standard, allowing you to handwrite instructions, such as when programming an address into the sat-nav.
There's a healthy dose of luxury to the interior. It’s really an impressively refined place to be and is supremely well made. The Q7’s dashboard and interior at large is a smorgasbord of soft-touch materials and well-damped switches; any harder plastics are kept to less noticeable places. Real metal (or wood, if you prefer) inlays only add to the wonderfully classy ambience.
There are two trim levels, SE and S line. Both are handsomely equipped. The cheaper of the two trims, SE, comes with sat-nav, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control and xenon headlights. S line brings more aggressive styling and larger 20in alloy wheels that do nothing for the ride comfort. The e-tron and SQ7 come in their own bespoke trim levels.