In Depth

Audi Q7 2016: Reviews, prices and specs

Everything you need to know about Audi's largest SUV

Audi Q7

 The Audi Q7 is the German marque's large SUV, sitting at the top of its four-model strong Q-range of 4x4s and crossovers. A seven-seat, premium-edged SUV, it's the company's alternative to the Volvo XC-90, Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. 

Audi has been selling the Q7 for more than ten years now and has gone through two models. This latest version launched last year and introduces a purposeful new look alongside a refreshed interior and hybrid technology. 

Here are all the details on Audi's largest SUV, and how it weighs in with the critics: 

Design

The new Q7 is a much more handsome car than Audi's initial effort. The first generation model was criticised by some for "its huge bulk and overbearing styling" but the latest version has addressed some of these faults, says CarBuyer.

It makes use of sharper lines, placing an emphasis on the striking, angular grille at the front, which is flanked by LED headlights as standard on S-line models. The Q7 is a large car, but it makes use of a sloping roofline to appear less bulky and a bit sportier, helped out by the pumped up wheel arches.

Interior 

The cabin is one of the Q7's trump cards. Audi's latest models are building a steadfast reputation for interior quality, and the firm's largest SUV is no exception.

The Q7's cabin "represents the pinnacle of Audi interior design", says the Daily Telegraph. It makes use of Audi's horizontal dashboard style, and is "beautifully constructed" with premium materials. The main infotainment screen glides out of the top of the dashboard, and is controlled via the multitude of knobs and touchpads underneath the centre console.

It can be joined by Audi's virtual cockpit system too, which replaces the instruments with a 12.3in display so all of the car's settings, as well as the sat nav are placed right in front of the driver.

The Telegraph scores the Q7 nine out of ten for comfort, calling it "incredibly smooth and quiet". Space inside the cabin is excellent, as is visibility. The Q7 is a seven seater, and the third row of seats in the boot provides enough room for two adults "in reasonable comfort".

Practicality

The big Audi serves up impressive practicality, even with all seven seats in place. There are 295 litres of boot space with all three rows of seats up – around the same amount of loading space as you'll find in a family supermini such as the Ford Fiesta. 

Folding the third row of seats flat opens up a huge 770-litre boot. Drop the second row down too and it expands to 1,955 litres – around 100 more than you'll find in the Volvo XC-90. All of the rear seats can be folded individually, so there's a great deal of flexibility if you need to trade off boot space for seats. 

The boot opening is large and square and it sits 1.8ins (46mm) lower than on the previous generation Q7, so loading large and awkward objects shouldn't be too much trouble. On the hybrid model, boot space is slightly lower because of the batteries underneath the floor.   

Engines

There are four engines to choose from – three of them diesel and the other a diesel plug-in hybrid.

The entry-level car is powered by a 215bhp 3.0-litre six cylinder. With a 7.3 second 0-62mph time, you should have no problem gathering pace in the cheapest Q7, but CarBuyer says that it can feel a little strained at speed, and it's not the most refined diesel engine when pushed hard. Audi claims you'll get 48.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 150g/km.

Sitting above the 215bhp version is a sprightlier 268bhp 3.0-litre TDI. It's a faster car and the extra power means it doesn't have to work as hard when pushed. Audi's claimed MPG figure of 47.9mpg doesn't put it too far behind the entry level car in terms of fuel economy, but the 153g/km CO2 figure means that you'll pay a bit more road tax.

It will come as no surprise that the most efficient car in the range is the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid. It has the same 3.0-litre diesel, supplanted by electric motors for a combined power output of 368bhp. Audi rates it at 156.9mpg and the 42g/km CO2 score means you'll pay no road tax or congestion charge. The MPG figure is a tad unrealistic, but CarBuyer says 70mpg in real world conditions is reasonable.

The range-topping SQ7 is the fastest model and it uses a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo good for 429bhp. 0-62mph is dispatched in 4.9 seconds, and "acceleration is ferocious in any gear", says CarBuyer. It's the most expensive one to run by a margin, though – Audi says it will return 39.2mpg, and the 195g/km CO2 figure means you will pay £270 every year in road tax.

Prices

The Q7 starts from £48,455 and for that price you'll get the 215bhp 3.0-litre TDI in SE trim. The slightly more powerful 3.0-litre diesel comes in at £51,045.

Stepping things up to S-line trim will bag you more equipment as standard, and the 215bhp car is available from £51,950 in this guise.

The hybrid Q7 e-tron is only available from one price point, and will set you back at least £64,950, while the range topping V8 powered SQ7 comes in at £70,970 – undercutting the cheapest Range Rover by about £5,000.

Reviews

Auto Express gives the Q7 four stars out of five, and recommends the 268bhp 3.0-litre in S-line trim, priced from £54,540.

The magazine points out that Audi has managed to shave a massive 325kg from the curb weight of the new car compared with the old one. As a result, it's cheaper to run and better to drive.

"This is a 4x4 you can drive incredibly quickly", and while it won't match a Range Rover off-road, the car's Quattro system is "more than capable of hauling the car through a muddy field or up a slippery track".

In its five-star review of Audi's large SUV, What Car? says the Q7 "delivers a healthy dose of luxury" and is an extremely practical choice.

The car's luxurious cabin scores highly and, while it's not the most thrilling SUV to drive, it is one of the most comfortable and refined on the market.

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