• Audi Q7 first drive review

One of India’s favourite full-sized luxury SUVs, the Q7 is back and is now better than ever

The first time I saw the Audi Q7 in the flesh was on Marine Drive in Mumbai, many years ago, driven by a Bollywood star. That literally defined the Q7’s early days in India, being the preferred choice for celebrities and industrialists alike. The current generation Q7 has had a successful run since its launch here in 2013, though it was discontinued just before the BS6 norms came into effect in 2020. That and the pandemic meant that this facelifted version has taken a little too long to get to our shores. But it is finally here! There’s a host of changes inside-out, besides Audi ditching the much-loved diesel engine. Let’s deep dive into it all!

The biggest update is the Q8-inspired grille that’s a lot larger than the previous version’s. Coupled with the sharper LED headlamps and sharper front bumper with larger intakes, this Q7 sports an aggressive and youthful look. Audi makes some of the coolest headlamps around and I particularly like how the details on the Q7’s lights stand out, especially the DRLs. The side profile looks familiar, save for the new 19-inch wheels on the Technology variant which are more corporate hotshot than football player. The rear has been revised too and looks classy given the slim LED tail lamps and thick chrome strip connecting them.

Interiors feel more premium as the dashboard and centre console are shared with the Q8. There is a sense of classiness in the way different materials cohesively blend together. A distinct highlight are the three screens including the virtual cockpit, infotainment screen and centre console display. While it all looks very premium, we’ve seen the layout across Audi’s cars for a couple of years now, robbing the Q7 of exclusivity. The interface and touch sensitivity do make it feel exquisite even today though. The dashboard also packs in features like gesture control, 19-speaker B&O music system and active safety aids.

The Q7 now packs in a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol V6 motor producing 340PS and 500Nm, which coupled with quattro helps this behemoth clock 100kmph in just 5.9 seconds. What’s even more impressive though is the engine refinement throughout the rev range. In fact, there were times when I had to check to confirm engine was running! I also like the way the Q7 masks speeds, so cruising at triple digit speeds in absolute comfort is a cinch. The eight-speed gearbox impresses with its quick shifts and intuitiveness too, adding to the Q7’s charm as a driver’s SUV.

The Q7 also boasts mild hybrid and cylinder deactivation technology, thus delivering better efficiency. A big reason behind its popularity has always been its plush ride quality and the adaptive air suspension has been tweaked, making the SUV even more versatile. So the Q7 turns into a hot estate in Dynamic mode and stays flat through corners. Switch it to Off-road and the suspension increases ride height to let it clear small boulders with ease. Comfort mode helps the Q7 absorbs our less than perfect roads very impressively, making it the most balanced one though. Cabin insulation on the go is excellent too, adding to the SUV’s likeable feel.

Priced Rs 79.99 lakh onwards the Audi Q7 is one of the only full-sized luxury SUV with seven seats, but the lack of a diesel engine somewhat limits its appeal. But then the refined petrol engine and plush ride are a big draw. This new Q7 does have a lot going for it thus, like the technology, plush interiors and overall luxurious feel that have always made it a favourite.

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