The facelifted Audi Q7 was launched in SA this week with a change in looks and an update to its digital systems.
There’s a new style grille with six vertical slats that’s similar to that found on its Audi e-tron full-electric cousins and a lower bumper redesigned for grille-matching uprightness.
Through its new design, the large SUV has grown 11mm to 5,063mm long. The SUV retains its predecessor’s 1,740mm height and a 2,995mm wheelbase where passengers can stretch out.
It is available in five-seater guise or as a seven-seater version with electrically lowered seats if optioned with the Comfort Package. Luggage space offers ranges from 865l to 2,050l while an electric tailgate with foot-activated gesture control is standard.
Two grades are available at launch. These are standard and S-line specifications and along with local packages listed as Comfort, Black Styling and S Line customers can align their Q7 to their taste preferences. But you can detail it with everything on offer, if you want.
Inside the spacious, super comfortable and exceptionally engineered build quality cabin are dual touch-operated screens with switchable haptic feedback, Audi virtual cockpit Plus as standard fitment and optional head-up display.
There’s also four-zone climate control, silent door closing, a Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System, MMI navigation plus, Wi-Fi hotspot, voice control and the full suite of new Audi connect functionality that debuted in the A4.
This means a built-in emergency button, full smartphone integration of the Q7 with the MyAudi application where owners can easily find where they have parked their car, remote lock/unlocking and speed and theft alerts and much more.
But the drive is the real pudding of the new Q7. It debuts in single range 45 TDI diesel engine mated to an eight-speed tiptronic and quattro all‑wheel drive. It produces 183kW and 600Nm, enough to accelerate the SUV from standstill to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 225km/h.
It’s a motor balanced for economy, refinement and a robust push — and it shows it.
More engines will be introduced later including the 900Nm SQ7 model.
In the meantime, the model I drove was perched on adjustable air-suspension with well-padded leather seats adding to the drive. It irons out road imperfections and its suspension can be adjusted for seven levels, including an off-road mode which hikes up the suspension height and a Sport mode which makes it crouch lower.
Yet it never really firms up to severe levels in Sport, which is skewed towards life in the lush driving lane. Four-wheel steering also aids with manoeuvrability in different scenarios.
The Audi Q7 45 TDI quattro tiptronic costs R1,328,500, while the Audi Q7 45 TDI quattro S line tiptronic demands R1,388,500. Both models come standard with the five-year/100,000km Audi Freeway plan.
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