- Sep 2015

Good things come to those who wait: The new Audi Q7

Thought Thursday: Audi’s new Q7 is finally here.

The Audi Q7 is a car that has run one of the longest life cycles in its segment. With its competitors churning out new products every five years, the Audi Q7 retained its long and wide appearance for a record nine years. Interestingly in all its years, the Q7 has never looked outdated. Obviously a nip and tuck here and there over the nine years has contributed to its ever modern look. As good as the previous Q7 looked, all good things have to come to an end. Now is the time to welcome the successor, a slimmer, boxier looking version of what we’ve known for a very long time. The new Audi Q7 has arrived in South Africa and it comes with a few tricks up its sleeve.

What’s on the inside?

The new Audi Q7 has been put on a diet, losing 325 Kilograms compared to the previous model. This is due to aluminium bits in the car and a lighter chassis. The previous Q7’s formula has not changed, the car is still a seven seater, making it very practical for people with extended families. In fact the new Audi Q7 is the roomiest in its segment too. Features such as navigation, Xenon lights, reverse camera, PDC and electric tailgate are all standard on the car. With cars in this segment though, one would expect such features to be standard, something Audi knows very well. Technology and safety in the new Audi Q7 is something that has been of great importance in the development of the new car.

Features like Attention Assist, Presence Basic (The car braces the occupants through the seat belts when it detects that a collision is about the happen) and Presence City are standard on the car. If you want to take it to the next level, you can get adaptive cruise control which works with other cool features such as Traffic Jam Assist. Other optional features include Rear Cross Traffic Assist which helps when parking and Trailer Manoeuvre Assist, as well as Night Vision Assist. As you can see, depending on your needs the car can be equipped with various different types of technologies and driver assistance programs.

As usual, the new Q7 is fitted with the Quattro suspension system which uses a centre locking differential that can modulate power between the two axles. What is a very nifty option is the Four Wheel Steering option that can be added. This system allows the rear wheels to turn a few degrees whilst the car corners, allowing for a better handling experience around fast and slow corners. Systems such as these have been seen in Audi’s sister company Porsche in cars like the iconic 911 GT3.

What’s on the outside?

The exterior of the new Audi Q7 is very retro and modern. Strong features are implemented, making the car look quite masculine in its appeal. The length of the previous Q7 made it stand out and the same look remains in the new model. The car looks more striking than its predecessor though, with squares and rectangles playing a major role in its design. The car is fitted with 18 inch wheels as standard but a larger rim would do it well, adding to it’s aggressiveness. The interior is clean and well made like every other Audi. If Audi was into architecture, I’m sure their homes would always be of a contemporary design, with clean lines playing a big role, as a modern chic look is something the brand is known for.

What makes it go?

For now, new Audi Q7 buyers have one 3.0 TDI engine to choose from, the unit produces 185 kW and 600 Nm. Power may seem conservative, but the heap of torque is what counts and that’s what any large 4×4 client should worry about. Later on there will be a 2.0 TFSI available too, which is peculiar engine for a car in this segment. Then again the Volvo XC90 uses a small four cylinder engine as well and that is a very good car indeed. I’m sure in the coming few years we will see more large 4×4’s using smaller engines as the refinement of these small turbocharged engines are getting better and better. A smaller engine also means better fuel economy especially when paired off with an 8 speed automatic transmission such as is the case in the new Audi Q7. The diesel engine supplied does a claimed figure of 5.7 l/ 100km’s which is very good for a car of this size. As big as it looks, the car weighs in at just under two tons, a great achievement from Audi’s side indeed.

Verdict.

The new Audi Q7 looks like it’s off to a great start with its features and dynamic attributes. The future looks good for the slimmed out successor. At a starting price of R 924 000, it’s also priced very competitively against the likes of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes ML. Now it’s time to see how the market reacts to this new arrival. For those who have held out and still own a previous Audi Q7, now would be the time to consider upgrading. A nine year wait is a very long one, but they say good things come to those who wait.

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