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Used test: Audi Q7 vs BMW X7 vs Land Rover Discovery

You can save up to £23,000 on these luxurious SUVs if you buy at two years old instead of new. But which of them should you choose?...

New Land Rover Discovery vs Audi Q7 vs BMW X7 fronts

The contenders

Audi Q7 50 TDI quattro Vorsprung

List price when new £86,110
Price today £63,000*
Available from 2015-present

It's ranked among our favourite luxury SUVs for a while now, but has the Q7 had its day?

BMW X7 xDrive40d M Sport

List price when new £80,210
Price today £63,000*
Available from 2019-present

The X7 combines limo-like interior space and plushness with a muscular diesel engine

Land Rover Discovery D300 R-Dynamic HSE

List price when new £67,330
Price today £63,000*
Available from 2019-present

New six-cylinder engines and an upgraded interior were added to the Discovery for 2021

*Price today is based on a 2021 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Audi Q7 2021 front cornering shot

If money wasn't a factor, what sort of car would you choose? For many people, the answer is 'a luxury SUV'. But back in the real world, money is very much a factor for most of us, and these hugely desirable – and just plain huge – machines are out of reach.

Or, at least, they are when new, but if you buy used you can save yourself a tidy sum on an example that's still covered by the original manufacturer warranty.

In fact, two-year-old Audi Q7s, BMW X7s and Land Rover Discoverys all cost similar money, despite the sizeable differences between them when new. But don't assume that means they're similarly good.


BMW X7 2021 front cornering shot


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

The X7 is the quickest car here, for a start. Given it has the most power, it’s no surprise that it completes the 0-60mph sprint before the others, doing it in a rapid 5.7sec. The Q7 isn’t far behind (6.2sec), while the Discovery’s 6.6sec time is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you'd like specifics on the power front, you'll be interested to know the Q7’s 3.0-litre diesel V6 produces a substantial 282bhp, while the similar-sized straight sixes in the Discovery and X7 have 296bhp and 335bhp respectively.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 front

The order is the same when it comes to rolling acceleration, with the X7 zipping past slower-moving traffic or getting up to motorway speed on a short sliproad in the shortest time, although the gap between the Q7 and Discovery is significantly narrower in these situations. In normal use, all these hulking SUVs feel plenty fast enough.

Accessing that performance is pretty effortless in the X7 and Discovery, with their automatic gearboxes kicking down quickly and their engines lugging away almost immediately. The Q7’s gearbox is slower to react, and there’s a pause before the engine delivers its slug of power.

In addition, while its V6 is by no means coarse, it's not as refined as the Discovery’s smooth, quiet engine. Neither is it as muscular-sounding as the X7’s – helped by the sports exhaust fitted to our test car (as part of the M Sport Pro Pack, a £2395 option from new).

Audi Q7 2021 rear

The Q7 generates a tad more road noise than the X7, while the Discovery is a little rowdier than both, but all three are peaceful cruisers.

Ride comfort is a top priority in any luxury SUV, and that’s something the Q7 has always done supremely well. Despite coming with big (22in) wheels and air suspension tuned with a sporty slant in Vorsprung trim, the Q7 is still the comfiest of the three, with the best combination of body control and bump absorption. It's not quite as outstandingly smooth as Sport and S line versions though.

The X7 is softer, but the more pronounced side-to-side movements and slight wallow this generates might have you switching to the stiffer Sport driving mode to tighten things up a bit. Even so, the 22in wheels that are part of the M Sport Pro Pack generate a little bit of jittering over imperfect surfaces. We’d stick to examples with the standard 21in ones.

BMW X7 2021 rear

As for the Discovery, it's by no means uncomfortable, dealing with undulating roads with a pleasant waft, but it’s the most abrupt over sharp bumps and potholes, sending little shudders through the car.

While you’d happily undertake a long trip in any of our contenders, the Q7 is the pick of the bunch if the road is particularly sinewy. Once you get used to the unnecessarily heavy steering, it dives into bends with alacrity and keeps its body admirably upright. Grip is plentiful and spread evenly front to rear, so you can hustle it along with ease.

The X7 isn’t too far off the Q7 in terms of grip, but it feels bulkier and leans more in corners, while you might find the steering a little too light. Both are more accomplished than the Discovery, which rolls around the most and has the least grip.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 rear

Such vast SUVs could be a pain in town, but the Q7 gets four-wheel steering as standard to usefully tighten the turning circle. When new, it was a worthwhile £1195 option on the X7 and it's fitted to our test car. The Discovery isn’t available with such a system and tends to feel the most cumbersome because of it.

As for braking, the X7 can stop in an exceptionally short distance for such a big, tall car (although the nose will dive a bit). The Q7 isn’t too far behind, while the Discovery takes the longest to stop.

What are they like inside? >>

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