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Review: The Audi Q7

CAR OF THE WEEK: Audi Q7 3.0 TFI Quattro SE tiptronic (price range: £56,365)

A PLETHORA of positive adjectives has already been used to describe Audi's Q7 - and I can only add to them.

Make no mistake, this giant sports utility vehicle (SUV) is a special car which ticks all the boxes.

The Audi Q7 was unveiled in September 2002 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Production of the Q7 began in autumn of 2005 at the Volkswagen Bratislava Plant in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was the first SUV offering from Audi, and it went on sale in 2003. Later, Audi’s second SUV, the Q5, was unveiled as a 2009 model.

Audi has since unveiled a third SUV model, the Q3, which went on sale in the third quarter of 2011. However, those siblings cannot compare with the Q7.

This second-generation model sticks closely to the template of the first car, meaning it has four-wheel drive to give it some off-road ability, but is geared towards surefooted and comfortable on-road use, rather than traversing muddy fields.

What’s more, it delivers a healthy dose of luxury, and it is an extremely practical choice, thanks to a generously proportioned interior with seven seats. Talking of seats, it’s easy to get comfortable in the cockpit.

STRESS-FREE

All Q7s come with a fully electrically adjustable driver’s seat and manually adjustable steering wheel.
The range of adjustment – which on the seat includes an extendable base and four-way lumbar adjustment – makes it relatively easy to find your ideal driving position, although memory seats cost extra. The standard seats on SE models are supportive, as I found on a stress-free trip to Birmingham. I got out of the car after a two-hour journey and felt refreshed.

You will also find the pedals, seat and steering wheel are aligned well for a natural seating position, and there is a well-positioned footrest to the left of the brake. The dashboard is logically arranged, with user-friendly controls for the air-conditioning.

The infotainment system works brilliantly, ensuring passengers are well-occupied for the duration of any long trips. A high-definition 8.3 inch screen rises from the top of the dashboard, and is controlled using buttons and a simple rotary controller on the centre console. A touchpad next to these is also standard, allowing you to write instructions, for example, when programming an address into the sat-nav.

As you might expect, the Q7 comes with sat-nav, Bluetooth, and steering wheel-mounted controls. Under the front centre armrest, there are two USB ports, while in the glovebox there is a SIM card for 4G online connectivity, a DVD drive, and two SD card slots. There are also 12v sockets for front and middle- row occupants, but it’s a little disappointing that there are no USB points for rear-seat passengers. A wireless mobile charging pad is an option, as is the Audi Virtual Cockpit. This swaps the analogue instruments – and 7.0in TFT screen nestled between them – for a giant 12.3in digital panel, which displays sat-nav maps, phone, audio and driver information menus. This comes as standard on the SQ7 and e-tron.

Options on my evaluation vehicle included all- weather LED headlights (£1,550), Trailer Pack (£1,300) and comfort front centre armrest (£115) for good measure.

The 3.0-litre diesel engine takes 7.3 seconds to go from 0-62mph. There’s an impressive amount of pulling power from low down in the rev range, meaning the car shouldn’t have any problems gathering pace, even when fully laden.

And with a car that size, you can carry all sorts!

The Audi Q7 is a serious motor.

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