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Used test: Audi Q7 vs BMW X7: interiors
Buy either the Audi Q7 or BMW X7 at three years old and you'll save around £20,000. But which one should you go for? We have the answer...
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
Even with the leather-wrapped dashboard, flat-bottomed steering wheel and Alcantara rooflining that comes with top-spec Vorsprung spec, the Audi Q7 still looks a bit conservative inside – although it’s incredibly well made.
The BMW X7, meanwhile, can stand alongside the likes of the Range Rover for visual pizzazz. From small touches such as the crystal gear selector and the piping on the leather seats to the expanses of piano black trim pieces across the dashboard, it feels modern, cohesive and, most importantly, special. Outright build quality is almost on a par with the Q7’s, too.
The X7 also provides the kind of commanding driving position that most SUV buyers crave, while both cars come with electrically adjustable front seats, four-way lumbar support and extendable thigh support as standard.
As far as infotainment systems go, the Q7’s is now a generation behind the X7’s, yet it remains one of the best on the market. The display is sharp, the menus are easy to navigate and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. It’s also easier to use while driving than the touchscreen system you get in newer Q7s, because there’s a rotary dial that’s located down by the gear selector. The touchpad in front of it is practically useless if you’re right-handed, though.
The X7 features BMW’s latest iDrive 7.0 system, and it’s simply spectacular. It can be operated through an extremely responsive touchscreen, an intuitive dial controller or a voice command system that’s rather like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. On top of those, there’s gesture control to adjust the volume, skip songs or change radio stations. This wealth of interfaces means you can safely use any of the infotainment functions while driving.
The X7 may command serious space on the road, but the pay-off is a colossal interior. Thanks to an unusually high roof and a broad body, being in the driver’s seat feels like sitting in the corner of a sparkling German aircraft hangar.
Yet it’s only once you slide into the second and third rows of seats that you truly appreciate the extra space such a large area affords. Both the Q7 and X7 can seat three adults in comfort in the second row, but the latter allows you to properly stretch out, with a significant 50mm more leg room.
The disparity is even greater in the third row. While smaller adults can fit happily enough in the Q7, the X7 can take six-footers without breaking a sweat. Access is also easier. BMW expects these seats to be used often – as evidenced by the pair of cupholders, dual USB ports and individual climate controls that you’ll find back there.
Our contenders are more evenly matched for boot space, though. With the rear seats down, both cars offer a flat, square load bay. The Q7’s is slightly longer, but the X7 has a split tailgate that’s useful for loading larger items, because you can rest them on the folded-down lower half and then slide them in.
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